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William Shakespeare
1564 - 1616



The Author

William Shakespeare, Elizabethean playwright and poet, was born in 1564 in Stratford-on-Avon. His father was a respected burgess of the town. The decline in his fortunes after 1576 has allowed speculation that he was a Catholic recusant. About 1571, William entered Stratford Grammar School but he did not complete his education. From 1585 to 1592 nothing is known of Shakespeare's life. One of many possibilities is that he became a member of a playing troupe and established himself as an actor and playwright in London. In 1593, he had also reached a fashionable audience with the narrative poem "Venus and Adonis". In 1594, he became shareholder in the "Lord Chamberlain's Men" playing company who later became "The King's Men". He continued to write plays at the rate of approximately two per year. In 1599, the Globe Theatre was built on the south bank of the Thames. During the first years of his company's occupation of "The Globe" Shakespeare wrote his greatest plays. His last years he probably spent in Stratford. He died in 1616 at the age of fifty-two.

William Shakespeare (the "Flower Portrait")

The Work


Titus Andronicus (1589/90?, pr. 1623)
The Taming of the Shrew (1589/90?, pr. 1623)
The Comedy of Errors (1590/94, pr. 1623)
Two Gentlemen of Verona (1590/98, pr. 1623)
Henry VI Part 2 (1590/92, pr. 1594)
Henry VI Part 3 (1590/92, pr. 1595)
Henry VI Part 1 (1591/92, pr. 1623)
Richard III (1592/93, pr. 1597)
Love's Labor's Lost (1593/95, pr. 1598)
Romeo and Juliet (1594/97, pr. 1597)
A Midsummer Night's Dream (1594/98, pr. 1600)
Richard II (1594/1595, pr. 1597)
King John (1594/98, pr. 1623)
The Merchant of Venice (1594/97, pr. 1600)
Henry IV Part 1 (1596/97, pr. 1598)
Henry IV Part 2 (1597/98, pr. 1600)
The Merry Wives of Windsor (1597/1602, pr. 1602)
As You Like It (1598/1600, pr. 1623)
Much Ado About Nothing (1598/1600, pr. 1600)
Henry V (1599, pr. 1600)
Julius Caesar (1599, pr. 1623)
Hamlet (1599/1601, pr. 1603)
Twelfth Night, Or What You Will (1600/02, pr. 1623)
Troilus and Cressida (1601/1603, pr. 1609)
All's Well That Ends Well (1601/04, pr. 1623)
Measure For Measure (1603/04, pr. 1623)
Othello (1603/04, pr. 1622)
King Lear (1605/06, pr. 1609)
Macbeth (1606/11, pr. 1623)
Antony and Cleopatra (1606/08, pr. 1623)
Timon of Athens (1605/08, pr. 1623)
Pericles Prince of Tyre (1606/08, pr. 1609)
Coriolanus (1606/10, pr. 1623)
Cymbeline (1608/11, pr. 1623)
A Winter's Tale (1610/11, pr. 1623)
The Tempest (1610/11, pr. 1623)
Henry VIII (1612/13, pr. 1623)
The Two Noble Kinsmen (1613/14, pr. 1634)


The Phœnix and the Turtle (1586?, pr. 1601)
Lover's Complaint (ca. 1591, pr. 1609)
Venus and Adonis (ca. 1592, pr. 1593)
The Rape of Lucrece (ca. 1593 pr.1594)
The Passionate Pilgrim (pr. 1599)
The Sonnets (pr. 1609)


Shakespeare's will


The Globe Theatre
Chronology of Shakespeare's early life
Richard Wilson, Shakespeare and the Jesuits
Terry Gray's Shakespeare site
Furness Shakespeare Library
Shakespeare at the Oxford Text Archive
Shakespeare at the University of Victoria
Shakespeare at the University of Virginia
Shakespeare documents
Harry Rusche's site Shakespeare Illustrated
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