William Shakespeare was a poet, playwright and actor. He is credited with having written 38 plays and over 150 sonnets. Shakespeare is often called the English national poet and is widely regarded as the greatest dramatist of all time.
William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England in 1564. He married Anne Hathaway in 1582. He was 18 and she was 26. They had three children, Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith.
At around the age of 21 Shakespeare moved to London where he began a successful career as an actor and writer. He was also a member and part owner of a company of theatrical players called the Lord Chamberlain’s Men. The company later became known as the King’s Men.
The plays which Shakespeare wrote before 1600, in the early part of his career, such as Richard II and Henry V, were historical in nature. However Romeo and Juliet and The Merchant of Venice were also written at this time. Later he wrote what were mainly tragedies. These included plays such as Hamlet and Macbeth. In the last phase of his career he wrote tragicomedies such as The Tempest.
Though Shakespeare became well known as an actor and playwright during his lifetime his writings have remained popular down through the centuries. Today his dramatic genius is well recognised. His plays, which have been translated into every major living language, are highly popular and are constantly studied. His contemporary, the poet and playwright Ben Jonson described Shakespeare as ‘not of an age, but for all time’.
William Shakespeare (The Bard of Avon), having moved back to live in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1613, died there at the age of 52 in the year 1616 On This Day.
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