William Shakespeare (1564-1615): English playwright and poet who wrote during the English Renaissance under Queen Elizabeth I

William Shakespeare

Shakespeare worked in the Tragedy, Comedy, History, and Romance genres, and all of his plays were written for performance in London’s revolutionary Globe Theatre. Since his death in 1616, 38 plays and 154 sonnets have been attributed to Shakespeare, although many were not published until after his death. While not much is known about the Bard personally, his prolific writings are a staple of Western literature today.

Shakespeare often worked in blank verse which is unrhymed iambic pentameter. It was a revolutionary style for its time, because it was the only poetic rhythm that most closely matched the natural rhythm of everyday conversation. In order to maintain his rhythm, Shakespeare made up lots of new words, many of which have been integrated into our modern vocabulary. Many of the most famous lines in literary history were penned by William Shakespeare. They often challenge the way we look at love, revenge, greed, and corruption.

Shakespeare is known for creating memorable characters and stories that are still studied and analyzed, and for implementing beautiful and powerful language into his plays and poetry. His Sonnets are so well-known that the “English Sonnet” form is now called the “Shakespearean Sonnet” by many scholars, poets, and teachers.

William Shakespeare Quotes

”Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ‘em.”

Twelfth Night

"This above all: to thine own self be true.”

The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet

Check out all of our Shakespeare Resources

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