William Shakespeare (baptized 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". His extant works, including collaborations, consist of some 39 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, of uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
Early Life and Education
William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England, on April 23, 1564. He was the third of eight children born to John Shakespeare, a successful merchant and glover, and Mary Arden, the daughter of a wealthy landowner. Shakespeare's father was a prominent member of the Stratford community, and he served as alderman and bailiff.
Shakespeare's education is somewhat obscure, but he is believed to have attended the King's New School in Stratford, where he would have studied Latin grammar and literature. There is no record of Shakespeare attending university, but his plays demonstrate a deep knowledge of classical mythology and history.
Shakespeare began his literary career as a poet, and his first published work was a collection of sonnets titled Venus and Adonis (1593). He also wrote two long narrative poems, The Rape of Lucrece (1594) and The Phoenix and the Turtle (1601).
Shakespeare's most famous works are his plays, which he wrote between the late 1580s and early 1610s. His plays are divided into two main categories: comedies and tragedies. His comedies are characterized by their witty dialogue, their lighthearted plots, and their happy endings. His tragedies are characterized by their dark themes, their complex characters, and their tragic endings.
Some of Shakespeare's most famous comedies include A Midsummer Night's Dream (1595), Much Ado About Nothing (1598), and As You Like It (1600). Some of his most famous tragedies include Hamlet (1603), Romeo and Juliet (1597), and King Lear (1606).
Shakespeare's plays were performed by a number of different companies, including the Lord Chamberlain's Men and the King's Men. His plays were popular with audiences of all ages and classes, and they helped to establish London as a leading center of theatrical production.
Later Life and Death
Shakespeare retired to Stratford in the early 1610s, and he died there on April 23, 1616, at the age of 52. He was buried in the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford, where his wife, Anne Hathaway, and their daughter, Susanna, are also buried.
Shakespeare is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. His plays continue to be performed more often than those of any other playwright, and they have been translated into every major living language. Shakespeare's work has had a profound influence on literature, theater, and culture, and it continues to be relevant to the world today.