Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare early in his career about two young star-crossed lovers whose deaths ultimately reconcile their feuding families. It was among Shakespeare's most popular plays during his lifetime and along with Hamlet, is one of his most frequently performed plays. Today, the title characters are regarded as archetypal young lovers. Romeo and Juliet belongs to a tradition of tragic romances stretching back to antiquity. The plot is based on an Italian tale translated into verse as The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet by Arthur Brooke in 1562 and retold in prose in Palace of Pleasure by William Painter in 1567. Shakespeare borrowed heavily from both but expanded the plot by developing a number of supporting characters, particularly Mercutio and Paris. Believed to have been written between 1591 and 1595, the play was first published in a quarto version in 1597. The text of the first quarto version was of poor quality, however, and late
William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England. He was an English poet, playwright, and actor, generally viewed as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is regarded as England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "the Bard"). His extant works, including collaborations, consist of some 39 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, some of the unsure authorship. His plays have been translated into every major contemporary language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. He married Anne Hathaway at the age of 18 with whom he had three children: Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith. he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part-owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men Sometime between 1585 - 1592. At age 49, he appears to have retired to Stratford, where he died three years later.