Factors that influenced William Shakespeare include the study of classical literature and London culture as well as the people he associated with throughout his lifetime. Writers such as Chaucer and Plutarch also greatly inspired Shakespeare's work.
William Shakespeare, known as England's national poet, was born in the small market town of Stratford-upon-Avon to a tradesman and his wife. The third of eight children, Shakespeare is believed to have attended the village's local grammar school where he studied Latin and classical literature.
At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, a woman several years his senior. Although the couple had three children, Shakespeare spent most of his time in London pursuing his career while Anne remained in Stratford with their children.
Shakespeare's time in London exposed him to a wide variety of personalities and cultures. His comprehensive knowledge of politics, the royal court and European affairs is evidenced in his writings. In addition to his own works, some historians believe Shakespeare may have collaborated with other playwrights. He established himself as both an actor and a writer of comedy and drama, and his work is characterized by strong imagery and complex characters.
Shakespeare's work garnered the attention of the royal court, and he performed for Queen Elizabeth on several occasions. His legacy remains as the most influential, English-speaking playwright.