William Shakespeare 威廉·莎士比亚
When did he live? 他生活在什么年代？
William Shakespeare’s exact date of birth is unknown, but it is believed to be April 23rd 1564.
He died on April 23rd in 1616 (his believed birthday).
Why is he famous? 他为什么出名？
Many people say he is Britain’s – and possibly the world’s – greatest writer. He wrote plays and sonnets (14-line love poems).
His plays, which were generally either comedies or tragedies, are his most famous works. Some examples:
Romeo and Juliet 罗密欧与朱丽叶
King Lear 李尔王
The Tempest 暴风雨
A Midsummer Night’s Dream 仲夏夜之梦
His poetry is also well-known, but less so than his plays. ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?’ (the beginning of Sonnet 18) is a famous line.
What is his mark on history? 他的历史功绩是什么？
Shakespeare remains possibly the biggest name in English literature: his works and words are studied in school, performed in theatres, and made into movies. He is also known by a simple nickname: The Bard.
Many Shakespearean phrases have become part of the English language: fight fire with fire; band of brothers; it was all Greek to me (more examples can be seen here).
许多莎士比亚使用的短语，后来成了英语的正式短语，比如：以毒攻毒(fight fire with fire)；情同手足（band of brothers), 一窍不通(it was all Greek to me)。更多例子请点击这里。
The line ‘To be or not to be? That is the question.’ is arguably the most famous in literature.
Shakespeare’s ear for language was exceptional and he put many everyday terms he heard onto paper: his works contain over 2000 words not previously seen in literature.
In a 2002 nationwide poll, Shakespeare was voted the 5th Greatest Briton of all time.
During his life, Shakespeare’s work was performed at The Globe Theatre.
He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, where a large Shakespeare industry has grown.
Many of Shakespeare’s stories were not original: like famous Greek writers he took stories he heard and rewrote them.
There are a large number of dirty jokes in Shakespeare’s work, although it can be difficult to understand them now. Many people who visited the theatre in his time were everyday types, and being a playwright Shakespeare needed to keep the audience entertained.
Shakespeare was married to Anne Hathaway. They had 3 children.
Christopher Marlowe was one of Shakespeare’s contemporaries, rivals, and friends.
Writer Ben Jonson said: ‘He was not of an age, but for all time.’