"In his letter writter from the court at the end of 1599, John Donne had concluded witheringly that Essex “understood not his age” and “that such men want locks for themselves and keys for others.” The opposite may be said of Shakespeare. He understood his age perfectly, and the depth and pofundity of that understanding, which continued to draw contemporaries to his plays, has ensure that we still read him and see these plays performed today in “states unborn and accents yet unknown,” as he prophetically put it in Julius Caesar (3.I.114). More so, perhaps, than any other writer before or since, Shakespeare held the keys that opened the hearts and minds of others, even as he kept a lock on what he revealed about himself."

A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599 by James Shapiro