What are some interesting facts about William Shakespeare and his rise to fame?

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William Shakespeare is famous for mainly four reasons.  First, he was a famous “entertainer” is his lifetime, providing dozens of dramatic productions, both financially rewarding and “popular” in the sense that the audiences of all social classes spread the word about his plays.  Second, he worked in the Elizabethan age, which was a time when the English language was growing quickly and spreading geographically.  Consequently, Shakespeare was able to add hundreds of words and phrases to the English language, additions that were repeated for centuries, even today.  Third, his plays enjoyed a long life throughout history, especially in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. So his works were studied and enjoyed by many generations.  Finally, his works now act as a kind of historical picture book of Elizabethan times and social traditions (largely due to centuries of Shakespearean scholarship); every work of his contains character portraits of persons in that era – kings and queens, the servant class, even villains.  So his fame is reflected in his biography.

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