William Shakespeare, often called the English national poet, is widely considered the greatest dramatist of all time.
His extensive works consist of approximately 38 plays, 154 sonnets and two long narrative poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon on 23rd April 1564 to a successful local businessman and the daughter of a landowner. In 1582, at only 18, Shakespeare married a woman named Anne Hathaway with whom he had three children – Susanna, Hamnet and Juliet.
During the 1590s he wrote the majority of his sonnets. This was a time of prolific writing and his plays developed a good deal of interest and controversy. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories.
By the early 17th Century, Shakespeare had begun to write plays in the genre of tragedy. Such plays in this genre include the infamous Hamlet, Othello and King Lear. These later plays are considered Shakespeare’s finest achievements.
In the 20th and 21st Centuries, his works have been repeatedly adapted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance. His plays remain highly popular, and are constantly studied, performed, and reinterpreted in diverse contexts throughout the world.