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England's greatest poet and dramatist, William Shakespeare, was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1564, the exact day of his birth is unknown.

Shakespeare was earning his own living by the time he was 18. He was not yet 19 when he married Anne Hathaway. They had three children - Susanna, Judith, and Hamnet. Judith and Hamnet were twins.

Not much is known about what Shakespeare did in the years just after his marriage. Some accounts say that he taught school in the country for a while. Some say that he worked for his father, who was a glovemaker. A few years later he appeared in London as an actor and writer of plays. His plays were written in poetry.

In 1592 bubonic plague1, a terrible disease, swept over London. For about two years all London theatres were closed. During that time Shakespeare began to write poems. Besides writing some long poems, he wrote more than 100 sonnets.

When the plague was over, the playhouses were opened again. New companies of actors were formed and Shakespeare began to spend most of his time writing plays. He became a part-owner in the company for which he wrote. This company, known as the Lord Chamberlain's Men, often put on a play to entertain the royal household. Shakespeare prospered.

Shakespeare wrote some of his plays about early kings of England. Henry V and Richard III are two of these plays. They helped the English people to understand the history of their own country. Besides his historical plays Shakespeare wrote both comedies and tragedies.

Romeo and Juliet is one of the most famous of his tragedies. Other tragedies are Hamlet, Macbeth, and Othello. Among his comedies are A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Taming of the Shrew, and The Merchant of Venice.

At the height of his success Shakespeare returned to Stratford. There he died in 1616. He was buried in Stratford-upon-Avon. Thousands of people visit his birthplace and grave each year.


1) Where and when was William Shakespeare born?

2) When did he begin to write poems?

3) What historical plays written by Shakespeare do you know?

4) What did Shakespeare write besides historical plays?

5) Where is Shakespeare buried?


1. bubonic plague - бубонная чума

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