MARIA PLATT-EVANS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARIA PLATT-EVANS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), English playwright. Shakespeare was born at Straford-upon-Avon. He married Anne Hathaway when he was 18, but then little is known of him until about 1592 when he is mentioned as part of the London theatre community as an author. Shakespeare wrote some 38 plays, 154 sonnets and many other poems. Most of his work appeared between 1589 and 1613, the plays being categorised as histories, comedies or tragedies. The latter, such as King Lear, Macbeth and Hamlet, are some of the finest works ever written in the English language. Although respected in his day, Shakespeare is now revered as the one of the world's greatest dramatists and his plays are performed more often than those of any other writer.
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