Before young William Shakespeare wrote his play about two poetry speaking, hormone-driven teenagers who defy their families' long-standing feud and risk everything to be together, love wasn't even considered a suitable subject for a "tragedy." Written at the beginning of Shakespeare's career as a playwright (around the time he wrote A Midsummer Night's Dream ), The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet (c. 1595) is now considered to be the greatest love story of all time. According to famous literary critic Harold Bloom, Romeo and Juliet "is unmatched, in Shakespeare and in the world's literature, as a vision of uncompromising mutual love that perishes of its own idealism and intensity" ( Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human , 197). The balcony scene alone (Act 2, Scene 2 in most editions of the play) is one of the most memorable and recognizable moments in all of Western literature – it's right up there with Hamlet holding Yorick's skull in the graveyard.
What William Shakespeare did... and why you should care William Shakespeare scarcely needs an introduction. Born in 1564, he was an English playwright, poet, actor, favorite dramatist of queens and kings, inventor of words, master of drama, and arguably the most famous writer of all time.