William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon
England in the year 1564. His father was a middle-class bailiff, and so he probably attended a
reputable grammar school, where he may have studied classic literature that he used as the basis for
many of his plays. Any records of Shakespeare are sadly missing from the time of his marriage
to Anne Hathaway in 1582, until he emerges as an up and coming London playwright. Shakespeare
worked as an actor and a producer as well as a playwright, and in 1599 he became successful enough to
open his own theater, the Globe. Shakespeare wrote most of his work between the early 1590's and
1612, when he retired to Stratford a wealthy man. The Globe unfortunately burned down in 1613,
and Shakespeare lived until April of 1916.
Shakespeare undoubtedly had fame during his lifetime, but it was not until after his death that his
plays were first published. This means that the earliest written versions of his plays contained alterations
by editors, and also some mistakes in spelling. Shakespeare quickly became a legend after his
death, and has remained so for almost 500 years. Shakespeare's plays are very approachable, and except
for certain language differences, any reader in any time can apply pieces of their life to his work.