English dramatist and poet. He is considered the greatest English dramatist. His plays, written in blank verse with some prose, can be broadly divided into comedies
, including A Midsummer Night's Dream
, The Comedy of Errors
, As You Like It
, Much Ado About Nothing
, and Measure For Measure
; historical plays, such as Henry VI
(in three parts), Richard III
, and Henry IV
(in two parts), which often show cynical political wisdom; and tragedies
, including Romeo and Juliet
, King Lear
, and Macbeth
. He also wrote numerous sonnets
and longer poetry, often for wealthy patrons.
Born in Stratford-upon-Avon, the son of a maker of gloves, he was educated at the grammar school, and in 1582 married Anne Hathaway. They had a daughter, Susanna in 1583, and in 1585 twins, Hamnet (who died in 1596) and Judith. By 1592 Shakespeare was established in London as an actor and a dramatist, and from 1594 he was an important member of the Lord Chamberlain's Company of actors. In 1598 the Company tore down their regular playhouse, the Theatre, and used the timber to build the Globe Theatre in Southwark, London. Shakespeare became a sharer in the venture, which entitled him to a percentage of the profits. In 1603 the Company became the King's Men. By this time Shakespeare was the leading playwright of the company and one of its business directors; he also continued to act. He retired to Stratford in about 1610, where he died on 23 April 1616. He was buried in the chancel of Holy Trinity, Stratford.
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