William Shakespeare William Shakespeare (1564–1616) was the greatest writer in the English language. His plays have been performed in theatres around the world for more than 400 years. He wrote plays about history, as well as comedies, romances and tragedies. Their plots are often complex but contain real-life characters and deal with believable events. Their language is very powerful and moving. During his life, Shakespeare wrote 39 plays, as well as 154 sonnets (14-line poems). Despite his fame as a playwright, we actually know little about his life.
William Shakespeare was born around 23rd April 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, England. His father was a prosperous glove-maker and member of the town council; his mother, Mary Arden, was the daughter of a well-off landowner from Warwickshire. There is no record of Shakespeare attending any schools, but it is probable that he went to the local grammar school, where he learned to read and write. He did not go to university but at the age of 18 he married Anne Hathaway, who was eight years older than him. In 1583 the couple had a daughter, Susanna, and then in 1585 twin children, Judith and a boy called Hamnet (who died aged 11).
The years in Shakespeare's life about which nothing is known, from 1585 to 1592, are often called "the lost years".
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