William Shakespeare was a British playwright and poet. Probably the most famous playwright in the English language, Shakespeare’s work has had an enduring impact on English literature as a whole.
Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon. He married Anne Hathaway at the age of 18, and had three children with her. His son, Hamnet, died at age 11. Both of his daughters, Susanna and Judith survived.
There is little information about Shakespeare after the birth of Judith and Hamnet until he appeared in the theatre in London in 1592. It is unknown when Shakespeare began writing, but his plays were in circulation by 1592. Shakespeare also worked as an actor, for other playwrights and in his own acting troop, The Lord Chamberlain’s Men. Like many playwrights of his time, he is also known to have collaborated on several of his works.
He split his time between Stratford-upon-Avon and London. Through records, we know that he was fairly wealthy and successful as a playwright. He performed for both Queen Elizabeth I and James I. Some years before his death, he retired to Stratford-upon-Avon and stopped writing plays.
He died in 1616. There are many theories as to what caused his death, including the bubonic plague (which had been present in the area several years before), but historians do not know for certain what caused his death.