William Shakespeare


Key points

  • Shakespeare produced most of his works between 1589 and 1613. His surviving works include 38 plays*, 154 sonnets, and four narrative poems. (*The number of plays attributed to Shakespeare varies.)
  • His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
  • From 1594, Shakespeare's plays were performed only by the Lord Chamberlain's Men, a company owned by a group of players, including Shakespeare. They changed their name in 1603 to the King's Men.
  • In 1599, the Globe Theatre – which became a major venue for Shakespeare's plays – was built on the south bank of the River Thames in London.
  • School A to Z features links to third-party websites and resources. We are not responsible for the content of external sites.

The Globe Theatre

The language of Shakespeare

He was not of an age, but for all time!Ben Jonson(1573 to 1637)
  • Shakespeare introduced thousands of words into the modern English language. His works provide the foundation of early modern English.
  • For people studying Shakespeare for the first time, it is not always easy to understand his work. Don't try to read it all at once.
  • Other tips include taking it one scene at a time to give yourself a chance to absorb the meaning and purpose of each scene. It is also a good idea to keep a dictionary handy and use an edition of the play that has explanatory footnotes.



Modern interpretations of Shakespeare

There are many direct and indirect interpretations of Shakespeare's work in modern film and literature. Some film examples include:

  • Hamlet (1990)
  • Much Ado About Nothing (1993)
  • Othello (1995)
  • Romeo and Juliet (1996)
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999)
  • 10 Things I Hate about You (1999) – a modern adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew
  • As You Like It (2006)
  • Love's Labour's Lost (2000)
  • The Merchant of Venice (2004)
  • Macbeth (2006)
  • The Tempest (2010)

More information



This site uses Google Translate, a free language translation service, as an aid. Please note translation accuracy will vary across languages.

Doing it by the book

As a parent it's only natural to want to help your child, but when it comes to homework and study, the completed work should be theirs.

Here are some important points to remember to ensure your child is following good practice for a lifetime of learning.