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William Shakespeare

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William Shakespeare (baptised April 26, 1564 - died April 23 (New style: May 3) 1616) was an English poet and playwright. He wrote about thirty-eight plays, about 154 sonnets, and a variety of other poems. Already a popular writer in his own lifetime, his work became increasingly celebrated after his death and has been adulated by numerous prominent cultural figures through the centuries.[1] Shakespeare now has a reputation as the greatest writer in the English language, as well as one of the greatest in Western literature, and the world's pre-eminent dramatist.[2] In addition, Shakespeare is the most quoted writer in the literature and history of the English-speaking world, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.[3] He is often considered the English, or arguably the British, national poet[4] and is sometimes referred to as the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard") [5] or the "Swan of Avon".[6]

Shakespeare is believed to have produced most of his work between 1586 and 1616, although the exact dates and chronology of the plays attributed to him are often uncertain. He is counted among the very few playwrights who have excelled in both tragedy and comedy, and his plays combine popular appeal with complex characterisation, poetic grandeur and philosophical depth.

Shakespeare's works have been translated into every major living language, and his plays are continually performed all around the world. In addition, many quotations and neologisms from his plays have passed into everyday usage in English and other languages. Over the years, many people have speculated about Shakespeare's life, raising questions about his sexuality, whether he was secretly Catholic, and debating whether someone else wrote some or all of his plays and poetry.

Life

Early life

William Shakespeare (also spelled Shakspere, Shaksper, and Shake-speare, due to the fact that spelling in Elizabethan times was not fixed and absolute[7]) was born in Henley Street, in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England, in April 1564, the son of John Shakespeare, a successful tradesman and alderman from Snitterfield, and of Mary Arden, a daughter of the gentry. Shakespeare's christening record dates to April 26 of that year. Because christenings were performed within a few days of birth, tradition has settled on April 23 (May 3 on the Gregorian calendar) as his birthday. This date provides a convenient symmetry because Shakespeare died on the same day in 1616.

Shakespeare probably attended King Edward VI Grammar School in central Stratford. While the quality of Elizabethan-era grammar schools was uneven, the school probably would have provided an intensive education in Latin grammar and literature. It is presumed that the young Shakespeare attended this school, since as the son of a prominent town official he was entitled to do so

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