He was the greatest writer in the English language and is known around the world. But how much do you really know about William Shakespeare and his life?

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William Shakespeare was a poet and a playwright and is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language. He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, in central England, in 1564 and he died in 1616. His surviving work consists of 38 plays, 154 sonnets and some other poems. He is best known for his plays, which have been translated into every major language and are performed more than those of any other playwright in the world.

When William Shakespeare was 18 years old he married Anne Hathaway, and they had three children. Shakespeare went to London to work as an actor and a writer. In 1599 the Globe Theatre was built in London and it was in this theatre, situated on the banks of the River Thames, that some of Shakespeare’s plays were first performed. In 1613 the theatre was destroyed by a fire. However, a modern reconstruction of the theatre was built near the original site in 1997 so even today you can go to the Globe Theatre to see one of Shakespeare's plays.

Shakespeare’s work is still very popular today. But why do we like these old plays? Perhaps it is because they all contain fantastic stories. His characters suffer bloody battles, deaths by poison, huge family fights, problems between brothers and sisters, problems between parents and children ... The plays are also full of parties, weddings and funerals. They are quite simply action-packed.

Here is a selection of Shakespeare’s plays. Maybe you’ve seen some of them.

The Merchant of Venice

This play is about the idea that people usually get what they deserve in the end, good or bad. Antonio, a businessman, borrows money from Shylock, a money lender. If he doesn’t pay back this money in time, Shylock will cut off a piece of his body. Antonio loses all his business and must pay this terrible price … but is saved by love.

Hamlet

This play is about revenge and also about how difficult it is to take action sometimes, even when it is important. Hamlet’s father is murdered by another man, who then marries Hamlet’s mother. Everybody wants to see Hamlet dead. Hamlet must take revenge, but will he be able to? The famous quotation ‘To be or not to be, that is the question’ comes from this play.

As You Like It

This play is a comedy about romantic love. There is a battle between two evil brothers and two good brothers. People hide in a beautiful forest. They fall in love, women disguise themselves as men, and there are many jokes, songs and games.

Henry V

This is a history play about a famous English king, and a famous battle, Agincourt. We watch the preparations for the battle, the fighting and the results. There are questions in this play: why do men fight? What are wars? Are they glorious or terrible?

Which play would you like to see?

Total votes: 219

Discussion

What do you think about Shakespeare? Which of his plays would you most like to see in the theatre?

Comments

teri's picture
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teri 29 January, 2013 - 19:00

i think that SHAKESPEARE is the greatest wiriter .. .. and if i see all his plays all day i won't get tired of them .....♥ SHAKESPEARE.....

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45 users have voted.
shwii's picture
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shwii 26 January, 2013 - 20:20

I think William Shakespeare is a great writer.he wrote very interesting plays.I really enjoyed reading his plays.And I would like to watch "As you like it " at the theatre.

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47 users have voted.
gayter0203's picture
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gayter0203 26 January, 2013 - 09:51

My favourite work of Shakespeare is Julius Caesar. I love the way Mark Antony gradually turning the mob against Brutus and other assassins. :)

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51 users have voted.
Ilda G's picture
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Ilda G 25 January, 2013 - 12:22

Thank you for all this information you give to us...
It helps us to learn more things about shakespeare's life and his book

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23 users have voted.
Ilda G's picture
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Ilda G 25 February, 2013 - 21:06

I want something from the managers of this website...
Can you add more information about shakespeare's plays here cause I need it???
Let me know if you can do something for this....

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17 users have voted.
Irini Real Madrid's picture
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Irini Real Madrid 18 January, 2013 - 19:49

i would like to see hamlet because here in albania in my school all the pupils will be actred in hamlet part for british council.i hope we will win and take a greate price :)

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16 users have voted.
JoEditor's picture
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JoEditor 23 January, 2013 - 15:52

Hi megadeth,
Please don't ask other users to give you any personal information like the name of their school. We won't publish this. Please read our House Rules. Thanks a lot!
Best wishes, Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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9 users have voted.
megadeth's picture
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megadeth 11 January, 2013 - 19:55

jej!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
i finally found the information i needed about my project!!!!!!

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9 users have voted.
Pipin mali's picture
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Pipin mali 22 December, 2012 - 15:23

Today was the Montenegro english chalenge 2013 and can someone say me who are Pilgrims?
Pilgrim was a boat from Jill Verns famous book but that is a Pilgrim not a Pilgrims and that is what not who so if someone can answer me :) i just want to check my answers the chalenge is ower now but i still wanna know am I true?

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13 users have voted.
Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
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Jonathan - Coor... 23 December, 2012 - 01:21

Hi Pipin mali! Right, the 'Pilgrim' was the name of a boat in a book by Jules Verne. It was also the name of a group of people who left England in the 17th century, crossed the ocean and settled in America. They're known as the Pilgrim Fathers. This might be the answer to your question :-?

How did you do in the English challenge? What were the other questions?

Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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14 users have voted.
Anns's picture
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Anns 12 December, 2012 - 21:49

I love Shakespeare, I think he was an interesting person and I would like to see Hamlet in the theater. This story is intrigant and I would like to see how actors would play it.

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12 users have voted.
Pipin mali's picture
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Pipin mali 30 November, 2012 - 16:41

Shakespeare<333333 I love his work he had a realy intersting live :) i love Hamlet,Romeo&Juliet and all of his works(I prefer dramas because i want to be actress(i am a girl) one day).
In my country children dont like to go in teathers and most of my friends didnt hear about him :/ and when i say that i love Shakespeare they ask me : Who is that Shakespeare? then I say: Best writer ever! <3

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11 users have voted.
rando's picture
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rando 22 November, 2012 - 08:17

The merchant of Venice sounds interesting to me,it will be exciting and meanwhile quite terrible i guess,as it involves body parts,going to watch it soon.

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10 users have voted.
genta's picture
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genta 31 October, 2012 - 13:33

I love Shakespeare.. <3
I would really like to see Hamlet in the theater.. because I find it very interesting.. ;)

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11 users have voted.
rreze's picture
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rreze 29 October, 2012 - 16:10

I think that Shakespeare was and will be the best writer ever..
I would really like to see "Hamlet" in the theatre because my sister has already read the book and she really liked it.. :)

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15 users have voted.
LadyLily5000's picture
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LadyLily5000 27 October, 2012 - 18:13

William Shakespeare is a great writer. All his plays are interesting and famous all over the world. I'd like to see ,,The Merchant of Venice" because I think the plot of this play is very interesting.

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12 users have voted.
Ashfaq Munir's picture
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Ashfaq Munir 20 October, 2012 - 08:31

Well i didn't know about shakespear before this artical it was really intresting intoduction and he has a great fame in all over the world & i'd like to watch "The Marchent Venice" play.!
Best wishes

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10 users have voted.
Mtzyxllo's picture
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Mtzyxllo 28 January, 2014 - 10:05

Who wouldn't want to see Hamlet? I've seen Much Ado About Nothing with David Tennant. Absolutely hilarious. I'd love to see Hamlet though.

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11 users have voted.

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