William Shakespeare was born in April 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon. The exact date of his birth is unknown, but he was baptized on April 26, 1564. Many people observe his birthday on April 23, which is the date of his death.
William Shakespeare's daughter, Susanna, was born.
Twins Judith and Hamnet were born to
William and Anne.
Shakespeare moved to London to
become an actor and playwright.
Many of his 154 sonnets were likely
written sometime in the mid-1590s and
were not published until 1609.
Shakespeare became a published poet when Venus and Adonis was released (1593). Shakespeare wrote this narrative poem and The Rape of Lucrece (1594) while London theaters were closed because of the plague. In addition to his plays and sonnets, up to five narrative poems have been attributed to Shakespeare.
Scholars believe The Comedy of Errors was written sometime between 1592 and 1594.
Theaters reopened and Shakespeare was a leading actor in the troupe Lord Chamberlain's Men (later known as the King's Men).
Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet sometime between 1594 and 1596.
"Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun."
Romeo and Juliet, Act 3, scene 2, lines 21-25
Richard II was written in 1595, but it wasn't published until 1597.
"My crown I am; but still my griefs are mine"
Richard II, Act 4, scene 1
A Midsummer Night's Dream was
written sometime in the
Shakespeare's only son, Hamnet, died.
"Grief fills the room up of my absent child.
Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me.
Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words.
Remembers me of all his gracious parts.
Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form.
Then, have I reason to be fond of grief."
King John, Act 3, scene 4, lines 95-100
Shakespeare wrote Henry IV, Part I in 1596,
but it was not published until 1598.
"I know not whether God will have it so,
For some displeasing service I have done,
That, in his secret doom, out of my blood
He'll breed revengement and a scourge for me"
Henry IV, Part 1, Act 3, scene 2
Henry IV, Part II was written in
1597, and published three years
later in 1600.
"Rumour is a pipe
Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures
And of so easy and so plain a stop
That the blunt monster with uncounted heads,
The still-discordant wavering multitude,
Can play upon it."
Henry IV, Part II, Induction, lines 15-20
Henry V was written in 1599
and published in 1600.
"From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day."
Henry V, Act 4, Scene 3, lines 61-70
What should I do with him-dress him in my apparel and make him my waiting gentlewoman? He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man; and he that is more than a youth is not for me, and he that is less than a man, I am not for him.
Act 2, Scene 1, Lines 28-32, Much Ado About Nothing
Scholars believe Shakespeare wrote
Much Ado About Nothing
around 1598 or 1599.
The Globe Theatre was constructed.
As You Like It was likely written, but it was not published until it was included in the First Folio.
It is likely Hamlet was authored sometime
between 1599 and 1601.
Scholars believe Twelfth Night was written
around 1601 or 1602.
Shakespeare probably wrote Othello sometime between 1603 and 1604.
"O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-ey'd monster, which doth mock
The meat it feeds on. That cuckold lives in bliss,
Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger:
But O, what damned minutes tells he o'er
Who dotes, yet doubts, suspects, yet strongly loves!"
Othello, Act 3, scene 3, lines 165-171
Macbeth was written in 1606 or 1607.
The Tempest was likely written
around 1610 or 1611.
Sometime between 1610 and 1613,
Shakespeare retired and returned to Stratford.
On April 23, 1616 William
Shakespeare died. He is buried
The First Folio, a collection of Shakespeare's plays, was published.
This project is made possible through the generosity of the
National Endowment for the Humanities,
Howard and Abby Milstein Foundation - lead foundation sponsor
with major funding from Rosalind P. Walter,
The Polonsky Foundation,
Virginia and Dana Randt,
the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust,