Introduction to Shakespeare

Introduction to Shakespeare

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Introduction to Shakespeare

​​In a nutshell

William Shakespeare was an English playwright, poet and actor. He is famous today for all of his work. His plays are still performed in theatres all over the world!

Shakespeare and his family

  • Shakespeare was born in 15641564​ in Stratford-upon-Avon. ​
  • He was the third of six children including two older sisters and three younger brothers.
  • His father was a successful leather merchant.
  • Shakespeare went to the local grammar school where he learned about history, Greek, Latin and poetry. Beyond that, very little is known about Shakespeare's childhood years.
  • At the age of eighteen, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway who was eight years older than him.
  • They soon had a family, including a daughter named Susanna and twins named Hamnet and Judith.

Shakespeare's work

Shakespeare wrote many different plays. He wrote tragedies, comedies and histories. He wrote a total of 154154​ sonnets and around 4040​ plays in his lifetime.


'Romeo and Juliet' is an example of a tragedy. Spoiler! – The two main characters who are in love with each other die at the end.

Shakespeare's ideas

In his time, it was common for writers to take ideas from an already-existing story. The idea of Romeo and Juliet, for example, was taken from an Italian story which had been translated into French and then afterwards, English. Shakespeare also took inspiration from real life events to use in his historical plays, although he did change some events and added more characters. 

Shakespeare's plays

Here are some examples of Shakespeare's famous plays:

​​romeo and juliet

The children of mortal enemies who fall in love with each other.

the tempest

Magic, love, betrayal and forgiveness is what this play is about.

twelfth night

A tale of unrequited love.


The most powerful play about racism ever written.

king lear

The last of Shakespeare's great tragedies in which a father of three takes early retirement and becomes a little crazy.

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