Shakespeare was an English playwright and poet. He is generally considered the "greatest dramatist the world has ever known" and the "finest poet who has written in the English language" (World Book Encyclopedia). Shakespeare has also been the world's most popular author. No other writer's plays have been produced so many times or read so widely in so many countries.
Many reasons can be given for Shakespeare's appeal. But his fame basically is on his understanding of human nature. Shakespeare understood people as few other artists have. He could see in a specific dramatic situation the qualities that relate to all people. He could create characters that have meaning beyond the time and place of his plays. Yet his characters are not symbolic figures. They are normal individual people. They struggle just as people do in real life, sometimes successfully and sometimes with painful and tragic failure.
Shakespeare wrote at least 37 plays, which have been comedies, histories, and tragedies. These plays contain vivid characters of all types. Kings, pickpockets, drunkards, generals, hired killers, shepherds, and philosophers all mingle in Shakespeare's works.
In addition to his deep understanding of human nature, Shakespeare had knowledge in a wide variety of other subjects. These subjects include music, law, the Bible, military science, the stage, art, politics, the sea, history, hunting, woodcraft, and sports. Yet as far as scholars know, Shakespeare had no professional experience in any thing other then theater.
Shortly after he married at the age of 18, Shakespeare left Stratford to seek his fortune in the theatrical world of London. Within a few years, he had become one of the city's leading actors and playwrights. By 1612, when he seems to have partially retired to Stratford, Shakespeare had become England's most popular playwright.
Shakespeare has had enormous influence on culture throughout the world. All the things he wrote...