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What made William Shakespeare want to become a writer?

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Dolly Doyle eNotes educator | Certified Educator


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Considering how little we know about Shakespeare on a personal level, it is impossible to discern his motivations for becoming a writer with any certainty. Historians are not even certain when Shakespeare began pursuing a writing career in earnest, though records show Shakespeare's plays were already being produced on the London stage as early as the latter part of the 1580s. He also worked as an actor.

A number of apocryphal stories exist pertaining to Shakespeare's "lost years" from 1585 to 1592, where records of his activity are scarce. Some believe he may have been a schoolmaster during this period. If this were so—and even then, we know with no certainty—then his move from teacher to writer is an interesting one.

So, basically, no one knows for sure. Almost every aspect of Shakespeare's private life—from his sexuality to his religious beliefs—has been up for debate for the last four centuries. Unless some miraculous journal entry or document comes to light, chances are we will never know what drove Shakespeare to the writing profession.

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Edith Sykes eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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On a Shakespeare tour in Stratford-Upon-Avon, the guide mentioned that Shakespeare became a writer because he needed to make money.  He had worked for his father who was a glove maker, but the family ran into financial trouble. 

"Legend long held that Shakespeare left Stratford because he was being pursued by the law for poaching deer on private property."

"London players would visit Stratford regularly. Some time between 1585 and 1592, it is believed that Shakespeare left Stratford for London and joined a company of actors as a performer and a playwright. It is probable that young Shakespeare could have been recruited by the Leicester's or Queen's men."

He was offered an opportunity to write and to act; he was very skilled at adapting topics that he read about and his plays became very popular with audiences and he quickly established himself as a successful playwright.

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