William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564; died 23 April 1616) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest vvriter in the English language and the world’s pre-eminentdramatist. He is often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon“. His surviving works, including some collabo-rations, consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every majör living language and are per-formed more often than those of any other playvvright. Shakespare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, who bore him three children: Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer and part owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, later known as the King’s Men. He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare’s private life survive, and there has been considerable speculation about such matters as his physical appearance, sexuality, religious beliefs and whether the works attributed to him were vvritten by others.