Like other boys in
In late November 1582, at the age of 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway of
In 1585, he moved to
Shakespeare wrote almost all of his plays and poetry between 1590 and 1610. His plays are commonly classified as histories, comedies, tragedies, or romances. He wrote them roughly in that order.
He wrote his most important comedies between 1595 and 1600. These include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, and Twelfth Night.
During these years Shakespeare also wrote two tragedies. One of them was Romeo and Juliet. It was the first major play in which a romance ended in tragedy. The other was Julius Caesar. Shakespeare based his story on Thomas North’s translation of Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans published in 1579.
In 1599, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men paid for the construction of the Globe Theatre. The Globe was open to the air. Some of Shakespeare’s greatest plays were first performed there during summer months. After 1608, his plays were also performed inside during the winter at Blackfriars Theatre.
He wrote his great tragedies, including Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra between 1600 and 1607.
On June 29, 1613, a cannon being used during a play set fire to the Globe. The whole theater burned to the ground. Shakespeare retired and moved back to
Shakespeare was liked as a writer of plays during his lifetime. People did not think of him as a great writer, however, until long after his death. Samuel Johnson published an important book about Shakespeare and his work in 1765. This helped people understand just how great that work was. Romantics from poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) to historian Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) praised his work even more.
Today Shakespeare’s plays remain the most poetic and insightful written in English.