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Shakespeare's Life
• Success in London

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Success in London

By 1592, Shakespeare had achieved some prominence in London as an actor and a playwright. In 1593 he became a published poet, with his long narrative poem Venus and Adonis; in 1594, he followed it with Lucrece. Both were written when the theaters were closed due to plague.

In late 1594, when the theaters reopened, he was a leading member of the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later named the King's Men, the acting company for which he would be a principal actor, dramatist, and shareholder for about two decades. In the 1590s, he wrote his English history plays, several comedies, and at least two tragedies, Titus Andronicus and Romeo and Juliet. Many of Shakespeare's sonnets (published in 1609) were also probably written in the 1590s.

Shakespeare's plays were performed at court and other locations, but they are most associated with his acting company's theaters. In 1599, his company built the Globe. He wrote Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth while the company was at the Globe, as well as comedies like Twelfth Night and Measure for Measure. From about 1608, his plays were also performed at the company's new indoor Blackfriars theater. Shakespeare wrote very little after 1612, the year he probably wrote Henry VIII.

Back... Stratford Beginnings | Continue ... The Final Years

Adapted from Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine (editors), Folger Library Shakespeare editions. © 2005 Folger Shakespeare Library
London, from Civitates Orbis Terrarum. Hand-colored engraving, 1574.

Shakespeare. Richard II. London, 1598


Open City London, 1500-1700

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