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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Shakespeares Childhood - 897 words
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Life as a Child in the Renaissance There have been many classic rag-to-riches stories, and while they may seemalmost clich'e, there are so few that are overlooked. For example, many musicians in therock era who we know today grew up in lesser homes, and they struggled to earn a dime. Elton John, as well known and wealthy as he is today, spent the greater part of 10 yearsfighting diligently to fill small clubs to make a living off of his wonderful musical talent. While it may be hard for many people to believe, not all quintessential icons in our daywere bathed from golden faucets in oversized mansions; quite the contrary, rather. Thefamous William Shakespeare is a thriving example of this theory; however, there is amain difference between Shakespeare's fame from the normal rag-to-riches story, and hiseminence is most comparable to Van Gogh. During the time when he was alive, hisliterature was not taken seriously.
It was merely viewed as a form of writing not meant tobe explored, and much less, praised. Aside from this, he came from an extremelypoverty-stricken family, where most of them died from diseases. Also, the quality ofeducation in those days was determined by how much money families could lay down tohave their children accepted into pristine schools, which was not possible for the greatWilliam Shakespeare. In Shakespeares' days of inadequate education, he must have hada very strong ambition to become a world-reknown writer and poet. As mentioned, Shakespeare's family was plagued with much sickness, and itspread like wildfire since they were such a large family crammed into a small, mustyEnglish cottage
Third-born William was accompanied by his 6 siblings, Joan, Margaret,Gilbert, Amney, Richard, and Edmund. According to "In the Days of Shakespeare'sChildhood," most of his siblings lived only into their teen years due to diseases such asyellow fever and malaria. Because of so many child deaths, the exact number of childrenis debatable, because many died before coming out of infanthood. In fact, when Williamwas born to his parents, John and Mary, he was the first surviving infant. To give an ideaof just how many people were affected by various diseases of the time, as stated by JohnF. Andrews, in 1592, there were 15,000 deaths.
This number was significant enough tohave the globe theater close down! The home they grew up on was inStratford-Upon-Avon on Henley Street, a small village that now houses his home as amuseum and it features much of his praised work. At this time, children of therenaissance were considered to be young adults, and they were expected to exude theutmost of proper manners. Shakespeare's work, along with all drama literature, was nottaken seriously at this time. "Drama litereature was severely underpraised at this time,"as agreed in "Shakespeare's life" . Also, the first attempts at learning Shakespeare'schildhood were made 50 years after his death, which is why there are so many conflictingpieces of information on his life. Shakespeare's home-life qualifies him perfectly for arag-to-riches story. In addition to his mediocre family and upbringing, Shakespeare's schools werenot of very high quality unless families had enough money to pay for a higher tuition;thus, a better education. At this time, there were two main schools: grammar schools andpetty schools, grammar schools being far more advanced than lesser petty schools. Topleve schools catered to the sons of elite businessmen, while the lower level schools hadone grammar master and a few pupils.
As web.uvic.ca points out, "If the modern primaryschool is a complex organic being, centrally controlled and elaborately articulated, thepetty school of Shakespeare's day was a primitive, unstable creation," which shows thevariation in schooling quality, as emphasized by Shakespeare-online.com: the grammar schools varied almost as much as the petty schools in size, wealth, and composition. At the top the great midevial colleges like Winchester (1387) and Eton (1440) possessed buildings, endowments, and facilities comparable to Oxford and Cambridge.The schools accessible to Shakespeare were clearly not as simpatico as Oxford orCambridge. Also, pupils, at this time, were taught by usually a man in a classroom filledwith both boys and girls. In Shakespeare's school, many teachers were fired because ofdrinking problems which caused the students to fall behind. Even further so when areplacement came in, this new teacher had no way of knowing where the previous teacherleft off, and this caused holes to be left in many chidren's education.
Shakespeare finallystarted school around the age of 6 going on 7 at the Stratford-Upon-Avon GrammarSchool, which is a step above a petty school, but was still on the poorer side of theeducation spectrum. The Stratford-Upon-Avon Grammar School still stands today, and isalso a museum of Shakespeare's. Judging by John Shakespeare's income (William'sfather), it is assumed that the school was not of a very high quality. William also studiedmuch Latin; mainly the famous Latin writers of the past, such as Seneca, Cicero, Ovia,Virgil, and Horace. Many of William's adored childhood writers name's were madefamous again in his plays, as one can easily note. Unfortunately, at the age of 13, JohnShakespeare fell into financial debt, and William's education ceased.
William Shakespeare was not simply handed a life full of riches and a largecushion which he could fall upon, should he make wrong decisions in his life. ForWilliam to become world-reknown in a time when his style of writing was merely viewedas taboo, and coming from such a battered upbringing, it is obvious that William had avery strong internal drive to become so prominent.
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