Imagine if Shakespeare did not exist! Then, the age would be known probably by another great dramatist’s name, that of Ben Jonson.

            Jonson was one of the most respected writers of Shakespeare’s time. He was Shakespeare’s closest friend too. In fact, Shakespeare was the god-father of Jonson’s son. They both used to frequent each other’s homes.

            Ben Jonson was eight years younger than Shakespeare. Although we do not conclusively know how both came to meet each other, Jonson is thought to have submitted a play to Shakespeare’s company for performance. Shakespeare even acted in Jonson’s play, ‘Every Man in his Humour’.

             Like Shakespeare, Jonson too did not have university education. Although Ben Jonson was considered a fine person, he was reported to have killed a fellow actor in a duel in 1598. His major plays include Every Man in His Humour, Eastward Ho, The Alchemist and Bartholomew Fair.

            Another of Shakespeare’s contemporaries is John Webster. He wrote only a few plays, of which ‘The White Devil’ and ‘The Duchess of Malfi’ are considered classics.

            Francis Bacon Edmund Spencer, Sir Philip Sidney, Thomas Campion, Thomas Middleton, William Rowley and Thomas Dekker are some other writers of the era.

Picture Credit : Google