William Shakespeare (April 26, 1564 – April 23, 1616) is often called the national poet of England, the “Bard of Avon” and also the greatest dramatist of all times. On April 26, 1564, William, the third child of Mary Arden and John Shakespeare a leather merchant, was baptized in Stratford-upon-Avon at the Holy Trinity Church, though there were no birth records of his. Hence it is believed that his birth may be on or near April 23, 1564. Though this poet, actor and English playwright’s early personal life was a mystery, he is known well for his works all over the world.
A complete range of human conflict and emotions are captured by him, in the plays Shakespeare wrote. From 1590 to 1613, in two decades time, he wrote 37 plays on themes like tragicomedies, history, comedies and tragedies. “Romeo and Juliet”, the tragic love story was a huge hit. The upheaval in Roman politics is portrayed in his other powerful play “Julius Caesar“. During his early period he wrote many comedies like the charming Twelfth Night and As You Like It, the witty romance A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the romantic Merchant of Venice and the wordplay and wit-filled Much Ado About Nothing.
Before 1600 he wrote a number of plays like The Merry Wives of Windsor and Henry V, Titus Andronicus, King John, The Comedy of Errors, The Taming of the Shrew and many others. After 1600 he wrote a number of tragicomedies and tragedies include King Lear and Macbeth, Othello and the best known, Hamlet in which the characters present universal and timeless impressions of temperament in humans. During his final period, he wrote Measure for Measure, Winter’s Tale and The Tempest, All’s Well That Ends Well and Cymbeline – popular tragicomedies that end with forgiveness and reconciliation.
Hardly any records of his education and childhood exist. On November 28, 1582 at 18, he married the 26 year old Anne Hathaway from whom he had a daughter and a set of twins. No records of Shakespeare exist for 7 years after his twins were born in 1585. Speculations are that he worked somewhere in Lancashire as Assistant Schoolmaster or went into hiding for poaching game from the local landlord. Documents indicate that he was managing partner at an acting company in London, called Lord Chamberlain’s Men. It was in the 19th century that the he gained reputation as a dramatic genius. As of today, the highly popular plays of William Shakespeare are reinterpreted in performances and studied constantly with diverse political and cultural contexts.