William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language. His works include about 38 plays, 154 sonnets and two long narrative poems. Although few records of his private life survive, we know that he was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon and married Anne Hathaway there when he was 18. They had three children, a daughter, Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. The death of his son Hamnet from the plague at age 11 is believed by some to have inspired the emotional depth of Hamlet.
Sometime between 1585 and 1592 he began a successful career as a writer and actor in London, producing most of his known work between 1589 and 1613. His early works included histories and comedies such as Richard III and The Comedy of Errors. In the early years of the 17th century he produced a number of his greatest tragedies including Othello, King Lear and Macbeth. Shakespeare took lodgings in several areas of the capital, including Bishopsgate and Bankside, before purchasing a property in the precinct of the former Blackfriars monastery (St Andrew's Lane) in 1613.