William Shakespeare is regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist.
66 Facts About William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon".
William Shakespeare's plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
William Shakespeare remains arguably the most influential writer in the English language, and his works continue to be studied and reinterpreted.
William Shakespeare produced most of his known works between 1589 and 1613.
William Shakespeare's early plays were primarily comedies and histories and are regarded as some of the best works produced in these genres.
William Shakespeare then wrote mainly tragedies until 1608, among them Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth, all considered to be among the finest works in the English language.
Many of William Shakespeare's plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy in his lifetime.
However, in 1623, John Heminges and Henry Condell, two fellow actors and friends of William Shakespeare's, published a more definitive text known as the First Folio, a posthumous collected edition of William Shakespeare's dramatic works that included all but two of his plays.
William Shakespeare was the son of John William Shakespeare, an alderman and a successful glover originally from Snitterfield in Warwickshire, and Mary Arden, the daughter of an affluent landowning family.
William Shakespeare was the third of eight children, and the eldest surviving son.
At the age of 18, William Shakespeare married 26-year-old Anne Hathaway.
William Shakespeare is supposed to have taken his revenge on Lucy by writing a scurrilous ballad about him.
John Aubrey reported that William Shakespeare had been a country schoolmaster.
Scholars differ on the exact meaning of Greene's words, but most agree that Greene was accusing William Shakespeare of reaching above his rank in trying to match such university-educated writers as Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Nashe, and Greene himself.
Some of William Shakespeare's plays were published in quarto editions, beginning in 1594, and by 1598, his name had become a selling point and began to appear on the title pages.
William Shakespeare continued to act in his own and other plays after his success as a playwright.
In 1709, Rowe passed down a tradition that William Shakespeare played the ghost of Hamlet's father.
In 1596, the year before he bought New Place as his family home in Stratford, William Shakespeare was living in the parish of St Helen's, Bishopsgate, north of the River Thames.
William Shakespeare moved across the river to Southwark by 1599, the same year his company constructed the Globe Theatre there.
Nicholas Rowe was the first biographer to record the tradition, repeated by Samuel Johnson, that William Shakespeare retired to Stratford "some years before his death".
William Shakespeare died within a month of signing his will, a document which he begins by describing himself as being in "perfect health".
William Shakespeare was survived by his wife and two daughters.
William Shakespeare bequeathed the bulk of his large estate to his elder daughter Susanna under stipulations that she pass it down intact to "the first son of her body".
William Shakespeare did make a point of leaving her "my second best bed", a bequest that has led to much speculation.
William Shakespeare was buried in the chancel of the Holy Trinity Church two days after his death.
William Shakespeare has been commemorated in many statues and memorials around the world, including funeral monuments in Southwark Cathedral and Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.
The first recorded works of William Shakespeare are Richard III and the three parts of Henry VI, written in the early 1590s during a vogue for historical drama.
William Shakespeare collaborated on two further surviving plays, Henry VIII and The Two Noble Kinsmen, probably with John Fletcher.
William Shakespeare's works include the 36 plays printed in the First Folio of 1623, listed according to their folio classification as comedies, histories, and tragedies.
Two plays not included in the First Folio, The Two Noble Kinsmen and Pericles, Prince of Tyre, are now accepted as part of the canon, with today's scholars agreeing that William Shakespeare made major contributions to the writing of both.
The indoor setting, combined with the Jacobean fashion for lavishly staged masques, allowed William Shakespeare to introduce more elaborate stage devices.
Burbage played the leading role in the first performances of many of William Shakespeare's plays, including Richard III, Hamlet, Othello, and King Lear.
William Shakespeare was replaced around 1600 by Robert Armin, who played roles such as Touchstone in As You Like It and the fool in King Lear.
In some cases, for example, Hamlet, Troilus and Cressida, and Othello, William Shakespeare could have revised the texts between the quarto and folio editions.
William Shakespeare dedicated them to Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton.
Scholars are not certain when each of the 154 sonnets was composed, but evidence suggests that William Shakespeare wrote sonnets throughout his career for a private readership.
William Shakespeare seems to have planned two contrasting series: one about uncontrollable lust for a married woman of dark complexion, and one about conflicted love for a fair young man.
William Shakespeare's first plays were written in the conventional style of the day.
William Shakespeare wrote them in a stylised language that does not always spring naturally from the needs of the characters or the drama.
However, William Shakespeare soon began to adapt the traditional styles to his own purposes.
William Shakespeare combined the two throughout his career, with Romeo and Juliet perhaps the best example of the mixing of the styles.
William Shakespeare increasingly tuned his metaphors and images to the needs of the drama itself.
Once William Shakespeare mastered traditional blank verse, he began to interrupt and vary its flow.
William Shakespeare uses it, for example, to convey the turmoil in Hamlet's mind:.
William Shakespeare combined poetic genius with a practical sense of the theatre.
William Shakespeare reshaped each plot to create several centres of interest and to show as many sides of a narrative to the audience as possible.
William Shakespeare preserved aspects of his earlier style in the later plays, however.
William Shakespeare's work has made a significant and lasting impression on later theatre and literature.
Soliloquies had been used mainly to convey information about characters or events, but William Shakespeare used them to explore characters' minds.
The American novelist Herman Melville's soliloquies owe much to William Shakespeare; his Captain Ahab in Moby-Dick is a classic tragic hero, inspired by King Lear.
William Shakespeare has been a rich source for filmmakers; Akira Kurosawa adapted Macbeth and King Lear as Throne of Blood and Ran, respectively.
Orson Welles, a lifelong lover of William Shakespeare, directed and starred in films of Macbeth and Othello, and Chimes at Midnight, in which he plays John Falstaff, which Welles himself called his best work.
William Shakespeare's influence extends far beyond his native England and the English language.
Some most deeply affecting productions of William Shakespeare have been non-English, and non-European.
William Shakespeare is that unique writer: he has something for everyone.
William Shakespeare is the third most translated author in history.
William Shakespeare was not revered in his lifetime, but he received a large amount of praise.
Thomas Rymer, for example, condemned William Shakespeare for mixing the comic with the tragic.
Nevertheless, poet and critic John Dryden rated William Shakespeare highly, saying of Jonson, "I admire him, but I love William Shakespeare".
The modernist revolution in the arts during the early 20th century, far from discarding William Shakespeare, eagerly enlisted his work in the service of the avant-garde.
William Shakespeare conformed to the official state religion, but his private views on religion have been the subject of debate.
William Shakespeare's will uses a Protestant formula, and he was a confirmed member of the Church of England, where he was married, his children were baptised, and where he is buried.
Some scholars claim that members of William Shakespeare's family were Catholics, at a time when practising Catholicism in England was against the law.
The strongest evidence might be a Catholic statement of faith signed by his father, John William Shakespeare, found in 1757 in the rafters of his former house in Henley Street.
In 1591, the authorities reported that John William Shakespeare had missed church "for fear of process for debt", a common Catholic excuse.