Timon of Athens | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic
MLA

Bibliography

Course Hero. "Timon of Athens Study Guide." Course Hero. 13 Apr. 2018. Web. 20 Aug. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Timon-of-Athens/>.

In text

(Course Hero)

APA

Bibliography

Course Hero. (2018, April 13). Timon of Athens Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved August 20, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Timon-of-Athens/

In text

(Course Hero, 2018)

Chicago

Bibliography

Course Hero. "Timon of Athens Study Guide." April 13, 2018. Accessed August 20, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Timon-of-Athens/.

Footnote

Course Hero, "Timon of Athens Study Guide," April 13, 2018, accessed August 20, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Timon-of-Athens/.

William Shakespeare | Biography

Share
Share

Childhood and Family Life

The childhood of William Shakespeare is a murky area for scholars since few records of his early activities exist. Very little is known about his birth, education, or upbringing. However, according to church records, he was baptized on April 26, 1564, in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, which leads scholars to the conclusion that he was born on April 23 of that year. Birth records were not usually kept in Shakespeare's time, although clergy fastidiously kept church records—baptisms, weddings, burials.

Shakespeare's family was solidly middle class, and he would have had a typical education for an English boy of his time at a public school endowed by Elizabeth I, which would have included studying the Latin language and Roman and Greek classical literature. At age 18 Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, a woman eight years his elder who was pregnant with their daughter Susanna. Anne gave birth to twins—Judith and Hamnet—a few years later. Church records reveal Hamnet died in childhood.

Theatrical Life

Shakespeare moved to London to pursue a career as an actor and playwright, and over time he achieved success. He became a shareholder in the open-air Globe Theatre in London and enjoyed widespread fame as a playwright whose works included romantic and classically inspired comedies, histories, and tragedies. In the latter half of his career, Shakespeare increasingly collaborated with other dramatists, though scholars still debate the exact extent of this collaboration. One of his most frequent coauthors, Thomas Middleton (c. 1580–1627), is thought to have contributed not only to Timon of Athens but also to Macbeth. In all Shakespeare is credited with writing—or, in some cases, cowriting—at least 37 plays. He also wrote more than 150 sonnets and two longer narrative poems known as epyllia.

Throughout his career Shakespeare and his fellow actors were supported by the patronage of the nation's monarchs—first by Elizabeth I (1533–1603), under whose reign Shakespeare's company was known as The Lord Chamberlain's Men. When James I (1566–1625) assumed the throne in 1603, the company was renamed The King's Men. Although many of Shakespeare's plays were written for performance at the Globe, the King's Men also performed at the nearby Blackfriars Theatre, a smaller indoor space, after 1608.

Retirement and Legacy

In 1610 or 1611 Shakespeare retired, moving back to Stratford-upon-Avon. Despite his retirement from London life, the playwright continued to do some writing, contributing to Henry VIII and Two Noble Kinsmen as well as to another play, Cardenio, now lost. These works, too, are believed to be collaborations, this time with fellow playwright John Fletcher (1579–1625) as the coauthor. Shakespeare most likely died on April 23, 1616, leading to the romantic notion he was born and died on the same date, although there are no records of the exact date of either event. He was 52 at his death and was buried on April 25 at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon. Over 400 years after his death, Shakespeare is still regarded as the greatest playwright of the English-speaking world.

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about Timon of Athens? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!