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THE text used in this play is that of the First Folio edition of 1623, with such omissions as are necessary to make the book suitable for classes of young students.

The chief sources from which information has been drawn in preparing the volume are given under "Bibliography"; acknowledgment must be made, however, of the editor's indebtedness to Dr. Kendric C. Babcock, President of the University of Arizona, who read the manuscript of the introduction and made valuable suggestions in regard to the material used.



WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE was born in Stratford, Warwickshire, England, April, 1564. He was baptized April 26, and from this circumstance it is inferred that the date of his birth was April 23. He was the first son and third child in a family of seven children. During the early years of the poet's life, his father, John Shakespeare, a prominent and prosperous citizen of Stratford, did a thriving business as trader in various agricultural products, such as corn, wool, and leather. His mother, whose maiden name was Arden, was descended from one of the influential families of Warwickshire, two members of which had held places in the court of Henry VIII.

In Stratford an elementary education was given

boys at the free grammar school, and it is probable that Shakespeare entered there when he was seven years old. The instruction furnished was chiefly Latin, though he may have learned French, Italian, and some Greek. The Latin authors then studied at schools of this grade were Cicero, Vergil, Ovid, Terence, Plautus, and Horace. Throughout Shakespeare's plays are evidences of an intimate acquaintance with Latin, both the language,1 and its literature. Though he may have availed himself of translations, his use of words in many places proves beyond doubt a knowledge of their ultimate Latin sense. The knowledge of French and Italian which he displays in his dramas3 cannot be accredited wholly to the Stratford school, as "a boy with Shakespeare's exceptional alertness of intellect, during whose school days a training in the Latin

1 Cf. Note I., ii., 138; also Note III., i., 38. 2 Cf. Note V., i., 33-49.

The best instance of Shakespeare's ability to use French is perhaps that in Henry V., where in several places a dialogue is maintained in the French language. Othello is founded on an Italian novel written by Giraldi Anthio; no translation of this prior to the composition of Othello has been discovered.

classics lay within reach, could hardly lack in future years all means of access to the literature of France and Italy."

During the poet's early school days his father continued to prosper. He held successively many of the municipal offices of Stratford, and in 1568 became bailiff, the highest official position in the village. In this position it was his duty to receive the actors who visited Stratford, and it is recorded. that the Queen's Company and the Earl of Worcester's Company were each thus officially welcomed. It is probable that Shakespeare saw the plays which were given from time to time in the town. In 1575 Queen Elizabeth passed through Warwickshire on a visit to Kenilworth, the castle of the Earl of Leicester. Kenilworth is fifteen miles from Stratford, and John Shakespeare may have taken his son, now a schoolboy eleven years of age, to witness the festivities which were given in honor of the queen. It is, therefore, reasonable to suppose that Shakespeare during his most impressionable years occasionally saw dramatic performances and learned.


1 The lines in Midsummer Night's Dream, II., i., 155–164, are generally supposed to be an allusion to the performances

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