William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was an English poet and playwright and arguably the greatest writer of the English language. His works include 37 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems and other works of poetry, which have been translated into every language and are performed more than the works of any other playwright, living or dead. Born in Stratford-upon-Avon, he established a career in London in 1585, working as a writer and actor, and part-owning a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain’s Men. Most of his works were produced between 1589 and 1613: his first plays were comedies and histories, followed by tragedies and tragicomedies. Whilst well-regarded, he did not achieve as much fame in his lifetime as he is honoured with now. Shakespeare’s style and use of language have given rise to him being known as the father of modern English: his spelling, grammar and use of words have had more impact on the English language than any other single person. Despite his legacy, very little was known about William Shakespeare’s private life, and some people have questioned whether in fact all the plays attributed to him were indeed his work. Conspiracy theories aside, it cannot be debated that the works of Shakespeare are performed, studied and used as inspiration more than any others in the world. Amongst Shakespeare’s most well-known plays are Hamlet, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet, but a full list can be found here.