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William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is often named the greatest dramatist of the English language. The Bard of Avon, as he is known, wrote some 38 plays, 154 sonnets and other poems. His plays have been translated into almost every language and are performed more than any other playwright.
William Shakespeare's Career
In 1585, Shakespeare had moved to London from his home in Stratford-upon-Avon, where he began a successful career as an actor and writer of plays. Most of his work was written between the years 1589 and 1613, and are of three varieties:
A Midsummer's Night Dream, Hamlet, and Richard III are examples of each of these formats, but there are numerous other famous Shakespearean plays.
Shakespeare was an actor and part owner of the theatrical group the Lord Chamberlain's Men, performing many of his famous works during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. In 1599, this group purchased the Globe Theater on the south bank of the Thames River. This soon became the leading stage in Elizabethan London, attracting large audiences and making Shakespeare a wealthy man. With the ascension of King James I to the British throne in 1601, the group became known as the King's Men.
William Shakespeare's Writing
Shakespeare began writing less after 1610, and wrote his last play in 1613. Retiring back to Stratford, he died in 1616 and was buried at Holy Trinity Church. Ben Johnson later hailed the Bard as "not of an age, but for all time."