William Shakespeare character jug produced by Magrou in Portugal circa 1970. William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is usually considered the greatest dramatist the world has known, as well as the finest poet who has written in the English language. No other writer's plays have been produced so many times in so many countries, and no poet's verse has been so widely read in so many lands. His works have been translated into more languages than any book in the world except the Bible. Behind his incomparable creative power lies a wide acquaintance with men and women of all types in bustling Elizabethan London, as well as an amazing knowledge of a wide variety of subjects from music and law to seamanship and politics. His most prolific period was from about 1600 to 1608, after which he spent most of his time back in Stratford, where he died in 1616. Shakespeare's face pot quote, "To be or not to be?", is the opening phrase of a speech given by Prince Hamlet in Shakespeare's play "Hamlet". In the speech, Hamlet contemplates death and suicide. A quill forms the handle of the jug.