What Was Shakespeare’s Education Like?

Not much is known about William Shakespeare’s early education. We do know that he attended grammar school in Stratford-upon-Avon, which would have given him a solid grounding in the classics. After that, his schooling is a bit of a mystery. Some scholars believe he may have attended Oxford or Cambridge, but there’s no solid evidence to support this. What we do know is that Shakespeare was a master of the English language, and his education – whatever it may have been –

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Shakespeare’s schooling

William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was probably educated in the Stratford grammar school, which he attended from about the age of seven until he was about fourteen. At that time, Stratford’s grammar school was one of the best in the country.

Free grammar school in Stratford

William Shakespeare’s schooling would have been very similar to that of other boys living in Stratford during the sixteenth century. He would have started attending the local grammar school when he was around seven years old and would have continued until he was thirteen or fourteen. The educational system at that time dictated that Shakespeare’s schooling would have been almost entirely in Latin. He would have studied a range of subjects including Latin grammar, rhetoric, and literature. In addition to his academic studies, Shakespeare would also have received a basic education in music and dance.

Left school at age 15

Shakespeare left school at age 15, which was typical for the time. There is no record of him attending university, which was not uncommon for someone of his social class. It is likely that he continued his education through reading and observing theater productions. He married at 18 and had his first child at 19.

What Shakespeare would have studied

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, in 1564, and his baptism was registered on April 26. He was the third child of eight and the eldest surviving son. William’s father, John Shakespeare, was a prosperous glover originally from Snitterfield. His mother, Mary Arden, was the daughter of an affluent landowning farmer. As the son of a leading townsperson, Shakespeare would have been entitled to free tuition in the local grammar school.

Latin grammar and literature

Most of what is known about Shakespeare’s education comes from a study of the plays themselves, which are full of allusions to classical authors such as Ovid, Seneca, and Horace. Given that Shakespeare was probably attending grammar school in Stratford-upon-Avon from around the age of seven, it is likely that he would have been taught the basics of Latin grammar and literature. He would also have been taught how to read and write in English.


Rhetoric was central to a liberal arts education in Shakespeare’s day, and students were expected to be able to analyze a piece of writing and break it down into its component parts in order to understand how it worked. Rhetorical study also involved understanding the different ways in which an argument could be approached, and how to respond to someone who was using rhetoric in a way that was designed to persuasion.


One of the main subjects in a 16th century English grammar school would have been logic. This was the study of how to structure an argument and how to detect fallacies. This was done through the study of rhetoric, which is still studied today. Rhetoric is the art of persuasion, and it was believed that if one could master rhetoric, then they could master anything. Shakespeare would have been taught how to construct a persuasive argument and how to spot when someone else was using faulty reasoning.

Other subjects

In addition to the core curriculum of reading, writing, and arithmetic, Shakespeare would have studied a few other subjects while attending grammar school. These included Latin grammar, rhetoric, logic, and classical mythology. While not required, some students also studied music and French.

How Shakespeare’s education influenced his writing

Shakespeare’s education consisted of the study of Latin grammar and literature. He also attended a school where he learned a great deal about the Bible. These two areas of study would go on to influence his writing greatly. In this article, we’ll take a look at how Shakespeare’s education influenced his writing.

Use of Latin phrases and grammar in his writing

Shakespeare was educated at Stratford Grammar School, where he would have studied Latin grammar and literature. This is evident in his plays, which contain many phrases and sentence constructions in Latin. It has been suggested that he may also have been exposed to Greek during his school days.

Use of rhetoric in his writing

Shakespeare’s schooling would have included lessons in grammar, logic, and rhetoric. Rhetoric is the art of persuasion through the use of language. Shakespeare’s exposure to rhetoric at an early age would have a profound influence on his later writing.

The study of rhetoric was emphasized in the Renaissance as a way to effectively communicate both in speaking and in writing. Shakespeare would have been taught how to use language to persuade and engage his audience. This is evident in his plays, which often make use of rhetorical devices such as irony, metaphors, and similes.

Shakespeare’s skill with rhetoric is also evident in his ability to create complex characters who are multi-dimensional and believable. His understanding of human nature is evident in the way he reveals the inner thoughts and motivations of his characters. This allows him to create characters that are three-dimensional and nuanced, rather than flat or one-dimensional.

It is clear that Shakespeare’s exposure to rhetoric at an early age had a profound impact on his later writing. His ability to use language persuasively, create believable characters, and engage his audience are all testament to his mastery of this important skill.

Use of logic in his writing

Shakespeare’s education would have focused heavily on the use of logic, rhetoric, and persuasive writing. This is evident in his plays and poems, which often make use of complex argumentative structure and language designed to persuade the reader or audience. Shakespeare was also exposed to classical authors such as Aristotle, Cicero, and Ovid, which no doubt influenced his own writing.

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