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Who is William Shakespeare?

Who is William Shakespeare?

No other lyric poet has influenced world literature as much as William Shakespeare. We meet some of his works at school, others meet us in the theater as newly interpreted pieces. Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Macbeth are but a few of his most famous creations.

William Shakespeare as an Important Writer

William Shakespeare wrote far more, including comedies, romances tragedies, historical dramas and sonnets. Characteristic of him is his diverse use of the imagery. So he managed to write many of his pieces very vividly. His vocabulary used was equally varied. More than 17,500 different words can be found in his works in total.

The English playwright was born in April 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon and attended as a young student a prestigious Grammar School in England. There he gained knowledge in poetics and rhetoric. He also got to know the art of poetry and writing there. Later he started to write his own little plays for his theater group. He tried himself as an actor and participated financially in the drama group. Many years later, William Shakespeare moved to London and became more and more admired for his literary work. In 1599 he was already co-owner of the Globe Theater in London, whereby he acquired assets and influence. He himself was a member of the acting troupe "Lord Chamberlain's Men", later called "King's Men". They often performed at the court of Queen Elizabeth, where they enjoyed their reputation as the best drama group in London.

William Shakespeare had a degree of prosperity as he advanced. This was confirmed by the approval of a family coat of arms as well as the possession of a large house on the edge of Stratford. Around 1611 he retired there and enjoyed his last years until he died in the spring of 1616. Especially about his private life is unknown. Already at the age of 18, he married the farmer's daughter Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children. He was known as a skilled businessman in the city, which allowed him to participate financially in many drama and theater organizations.

William Shakespeare's Works

Many of his works are still included in German and literature lessons. Often they are also subject in class work, for example in poetry interpretations or essays. Often there are the well-known pieces A Midsummer Night's Dream, Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Macbeth. We'll give you a glimpse of his five most famous pieces.

A Midsummer Night's Dream

This comedy probably wrote Shakespeare in 1595 or 1596, an exact date is unknown. A Midsummer Night's Dream has five acts and takes place in ancient Athens and an adjacent enchanted forest. It treats the story of the wedding of a ruling couple that has to deal with artisans and elves. The comedy has been performed many times and is also a popular spectacle in school theaters.

Julius Caesar

The playwright dedicated one of his works to the Roman statesman Gaius Iulius Caesar and completed it in 1599. The tragedy consists of five acts. The piece basically deals with the plot of Brutus and Cassius against the Roman ruler and his murder. The theme of the piece and its historical context make it particularly popular with the audience.

Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet is probably Shakespeare's best-known and most popular work, written between 1594 and 1596, details are not known. This story is a tragedy that tells the misfortune of two lovers, Romeo and Juliet. The lovers belong to two hostile families, which is why their love relationship is doomed to failure. Verona, where the play plays, is still a magical attraction for tourists and has many romantic doodles. The work was often used as a screenplay and film template and is the title of many pieces of music. Romeo and Juliet enjoys a strong and lasting popularity to this day. Even in the classroom, students still read and treat the famous tragedy of Shakespeare.


An equally well-known and important piece of Shakespeare is the tragedy Hamlet, written around 1602. The scene of the story is the Kingdom of Denmark, it treats the intrigues in the royal house. After King Hamlet is murdered by his own brother, Prince Hamlet decides to avenge his father. He tears all parties into misery and the tragedy takes its course. Characteristic of the piece are Hamlet's long monologues, from which come some phrases such as "being or not being" and "the rest is silence". Hamlet is also one of the most performed pieces by Shakespeare.


Macbeth, also known as "The Tragedy of Macbeth" in English, is also a tragedy and was written around 1606, probably in London. The play, consisting of five acts, deals with the rise and fall of the King of Scotland Macbeth after having been prophesied of his royal reign. Shakespeare describes his transformation into a tyrant, supported by his equally power-hungry wife, and his downfall. The work allows for many interpretations, but basically treats the greed for power and domination. Macbeth, like Hamlet, belongs to Shakespeare's strong literary work and has been performed countless times. In 2015, a remake of the Shakespeare classic will be released.