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Shakespeare, William

An English playwright and poet of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, generally considered the greatest writer in English. His plays include Antony and Cleopatra, As You Like It, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, King Lear, Macbeth, The Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Othello, Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, and Twelfth Night. Shakespeare also wrote more than 150 sonnets. Many familiar sayings and quotations come from his works.

Shakespeare was born in Stratford-on-Avon. He spent most of his career in London as an actor, playwright, and manager of the Globe Theater. His success enabled him to retire to Stratford, where he died.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.