Born a glover's son in Stratford-upon-Avon, William Shakespeare is renowned as the greatest writer the English language has ever known. His art was rooted in a specific type of theatre which first emerged after he was born and disappeared soon after his death, and yet his works are studied as much now as they ever have been, and his legacy continues to grow. The plays, with their popular appeal and complex dramatization, created a mesmeric and lasting impression and served to make 'The Bard' both the world s pre-eminent dramatist and the most quoted writer in literature. Shakespeare's life story is also the story of a flourishing of the English language, and of the literature of the stage in particular. We see in his plays the documenting of a changing world; the simultaneous undermining and affirmation of societies increasingly unstable hierarchy, and the energy, drama and violence of the London in which he wrote. Plays at the time - including Shakespeare's, despite their obvious quality - were not deemed 'literature' as we know it today they were commodities meeting an ever growing demand.