The Life of Ben Johnson

623 WordsFeb 2, 20183 Pages
During the lifetime of Ben Johnson, Shakespeare’s younger contemporary, was Considered a better writer than his now much more famous colleague. He was a posthumous son Of a clergyman, educated at Westminister School. After working as a bricklayer, he joined the Army and served in Flanders. He returned to England in 1592 and married Anne Lewis two Years later. Johnson joined Henslowe’s theatrical company as an actor and playwright around 1597. Next year, he killed a fellow actor and playwright around 1597. Next year, he killed a fellow actor, Gabriel Spencer, in a duel and was tried for murder. He escaped the gallows only by pleading benefit of clergy. He then became a celebrity with his play Every Man in His humour, performed at the Globe with Shakespeare in the cast. The sequel, Every Man Out of His Humour (1599), was less successful. (Jokinen, 2003) In 1605, he began to write masques for the entertainment of the court, but his enduring repuatation rests on the comedies written between 1605 and 1614, Volpone, or the Fox; Epicoene: or, The Silent Woman; The Alchemist; and BartholomewFair. They are all peopled with dupes and people who deceive them. Johnson was appointed Poet Laureate and rewarded a substantial pension in 1616. After a trip to Scotland, the home of his ancestors, which he made entirely on foot, he was awarded an honorary Master of Arts Degree at Oxford University.A group of young poets influenced by Johnson called themselves “sons” or “tribe” of Ben,
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