his dramatic works, Shakespeare has provided insights into human nature which, in the opinion of many of his disciples, equal those of the greatest modern psychologists. The impact of the Bard's insights is compounded by a masterful use of the language which makes him the mostly widely studied English writer.
Church records indicate that William Shakespeare was baptised in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire on April 26, 1564. April 23 is widely accepted as his date of birth. His father was a respected tradesman (a glover who was involved in a variety of commercial activities) who held several important municipal offices.
Shakespeare was probably educated at the local grammar school. He would have viewed local theatrical productions by groups of travelling players. When he was eighteen he married the twenty-six year old Anne Hathaway. In May of 1583 she gave birth to their first daughter, Susanna. In 1585, twins, named Hamnet and Judith, were born. Shortly thereafter, Shakespeare left Stratford. It is speculated that he was fleeing prosecution for poaching deer on the property of a local nobleman.
By about 1587 he had arrived in London and begun his career as an actor and playwright. His success earned him the jealousy of rivals such as Richard Greene who condemned him as "an upstart crow" in 1592.
The following is a chronological listing of Shakespeare's canon of plays and poetry:
1588-93 - The Comedy of Errors
1588-92 - Henry VI (three parts)
1592-93 - Richard III
1592-94 - Titus Andronicus
1593-94 - The Taming of the Shrew
1593-94 - The Two Gentlemen of Verona
1593-94 - "The Rape of Lucrece"
1593-1600 - "Sonnets"
1588-95 - Love's Labor's Lost
1594-96 - Romeo and Juliet