Set in a pitiless universe, Shakespeare's bleak and brutal tragedy, written at the height of his powers, is a towering masterpiece of fierce poetry and vast imaginative scope.
William Shakespeare was born in late April 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon and died in 1616. He is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. Stanley Wells is Emeritus Professor of the University of Birmingham and Honorary President of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Kiernan Ryan is Professor of English at Royal Holloway, University of London.