Shakespeare was the greatest playwright that ever lived. He wrote comedies and tragedies; and the comedies are more tragic than the dramatic plays. As You Like It is a comedy while Hamlet is a tragedy.
Ben Jonson said of Shakespeare 'he was not for an age but for all time,' Shakespeare was Elizabethan and one characteristic of this is his preference for "conceits". In addition he had a habit of never inventing the whole story.
Shakespeare is different from other playwrights because he set out to deal with the deepest problems that resulted from flaws in human character.For example, in 'Julius Casar' an impractical idealist (Brutus) fails; in 'Hamlet' he is split in half psychologically, divided; in 'Othello' the power of jealousy ruins a life; in 'Macbeth' destuction through material ambition.
What is so great about Shakespeare is that he gets at the root of the problem in each character. The most essential qualities of his characters are what brings them down in the end.
Even though he wrote so long ago, the character flaws that his characters display are the same as those that are in the people we encounter everyday in our contemporary lives.