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Shakespeare's Life
• Shakespeare's Story

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Shakespeare's Story

Until the late 1700s, most biographies depicted a Shakespeare based on legend and tradition. This was the Shakespeare who supposedly killed calves as a youth "in a high style," with a speech—and the Shakespeare who was supposedly caught poaching deer, then fled to London.

It was this Shakespeare whose Falstaff so pleased Queen Elizabeth that she demanded a play about Falstaff in love (hence, supposedly, The Merry Wives of Windsor). And it was he who died after drinking with Michael Drayton and Ben Jonson.

This legendary Shakespeare is as attractively “wild" as his plays were once considered to be. Unfortunately, there is no evidence for these wonderful stories.

Back ... An Expansive Age | Next ... Questioning Shakespeare's Authorship

Adapted from Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine (editors), Folger Library Shakespeare editions. © 2005 Folger Shakespeare Library
J. McArdell. James Quin as Falstaff. Oil on canvas, ca. 1750

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