WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright widely regarded as the greatest writer of the English language, and as the world's preeminent dramatist. He wrote approximately 38 plays and 154 sonnets, as well as a variety of other poems. Already popular in his own lifetime, Shakespeare became more famous after his death and his work was adulated by many prominent cultural figures through the centuries. He is often considered to be England's national poet and is sometimes referred to as the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard") or the "Swan of Avon".

Shakespeare's works have been translated into every major living language, and his plays are continually performed all around the world. Shakespeare is the most quoted writer in the literature and history of the English-speaking world, and many of his quotations and neologisms have passed into everyday usage in English and other languages. Many have speculated about Shakespeare's life, including his sexuality and religious affiliation.

Many of Shakespeare's plays have the reputation of being among the greatest in the English language and in Western literature. Shakespeare wrote tragedies, histories, comedies and romances, all of which have been translated into every major living language.

As was common in the period, Shakespeare based many of his plays on the works of other playwrights and reworked earlier stories and historical material. For instance, Hamlet is probably a reworking of an older, lost play (the so-called Ur-Hamlet), and King Lear is an adaptation of an earlier play, also called King Lear.

Shakespeare wrote a collection of poems that deal with such themes as love, beauty, and mortality. In addition to his sonnets, Shakespeare also wrote three known longer poems: Venus and Adonis, The Rape of Lucrece and A Lover's Complaint. Shakespeare's works have been a major influence on subsequent theatre.

Shakespeare's plays are traditionally organised into three groups: Tragedies, Comedies, and Histories.

Tragedies

  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Coriolanus
  • Titus Andronicus
  • Timon of Athens
  • Julius Caesar
  • Macbeth
  • Hamlet
  • Troilus and Cressida
  • King Lear
  • Othello
  • Antony and Cleopatra

Histories

  • King John
  • Richard II
  • Henry IV, part 1
  • Henry IV, part 2
  • Henry V
  • Henry VI, part 1
  • Henry VI, part 2
  • Henry VI, part 3
  • Richard III
  • Henry VIII

Comedies

  • The Tempest
  • The Two Gentlemen of Verona
  • The Merry Wives of Windsor
  • Measure for Measure
  • The Comedy of Errors
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • Love's Labour's Lost
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • As You Like It
  • Romeo and Juliet (Act 1. Scene 1)
  • Venus and Adonis


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