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Though William Shakespeare (1564-1616) has long been considered the greatest writer in the English language, little is known about his actual life. His existing plays and poetry provide a far more substantial amount of written documentation than that for what is known about his personal life. It is believed that Shakespeare retired to his birthplace of Stratford-upon-Avon about three years before his death, but it is also known that he traveled to London. Through existing records, it is known that he appeared in court as a witness in 1612, and he purchased property the following year. He returned to London in 1614 to visit his son-in-law for several weeks. According to scholars, Shakespeare produced no further plays after 1613. His comedy, The Tempest (1610-1611), is generally considered to be the final play written by Shakespeare alone. Two other plays, The Two Noble Kinsmen and Henry VIII, were apparent collaborations with John Fletcher and believed to have been written around 1613. Interestingly, Shakespeare died in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1616 on April 23--believed to be the same day of his birth.
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