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William Shakespeare 1564 - 1616


William Shakespeare was baptized on April 26, 1564, in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. From roughly 1594 onward he was an important member of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men company of theatrical players. Written records give little indication of the way in which Shakespeare’s professional life molded his artistry. All that can be deduced is that over the course of 20 years, Shakespeare wrote plays that capture the complete range of human emotion and conflict.

Known throughout the world, the works of William Shakespeare have been performed in countless hamlets, villages, cities and metropolises for more than 400 years. And yet, the personal history of William Shakespeare is somewhat a mystery. There are two primary sources that provide historians with a basic outline of his life. One source is his work--the plays, poems and sonnets--and the other is official documentation such as church and court records.

By 1592, there is evidence William Shakespeare earned a living as an actor and a playwright in London and possibly had several plays produced. By the early 1590s, documents show William Shakespeare was a managing partner in the Lord Chamberlain's Men, an acting company in London. By 1597, William Shakespeare had published 15 of the 37 plays attributed to him.

With the exception of "Romeo and Juliet," William Shakespeare's first plays were mostly histories written in the early 1590s. "Richard II" and "Henry VI," parts 1, 2 and 3 and "Henry V" dramatize the destructive results of weak or corrupt rulers and have been interpreted by drama historians as Shakespeare's way of justifying the origins of the Tudor dynasty.

Shakespeare also wrote several comedies during his early period: the witty romance "A Midsummer Night's Dream," the romantic "Merchant of Venice," the wit and wordplay of "Much Ado About Nothing," the charming "As You Like It," and Twelfth Night. Other plays, possibly written before 1600, were "Titus Andronicus," "The Comedy of Errors," "The Taming of the Shrew" and "The Two Gentlemen of Verona."

It was in William Shakespeare's later period, after 1600, that he wrote the tragedies "Hamlet," "King Lear," "Othello" and "Macbeth." In these, Shakespeare's characters present vivid impressions of human temperament that are timeless and universal. Possibly the best known of these plays is "Hamlet," with its exploration of betrayal, retribution, incest and moral failure. These moral failures often drive the twists and turns of Shakespeare's plots, destroying the hero and those he loves.


Source: http://www.biography.com/people/william-shakespeare-9480323

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