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Word Count: 2,223
Context William Shakespeare is likely the most influential writer in the English language The son of a mildly successful glove-maker Shakespeare was born in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon in northern England He married in 1582 and had three children Around 1590 at the height of the English Renaissance he left his family behind and traveled to London to work as an actor and playwright Both public and critical success quickly followed Shakespeares career bridged the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I and he was a favorite of both monarchs James granted Shakespeare and his company the greatest possible compliment by making them the kings players Shakespeare died in 1616 at the age of fifty-two the author of numerous sonnets and 38 remarkable plays some of which were not only inarguably brilliant but so influential as to effect the course of literature and culture ever after From time to time controversies flare up about whether Shakespeare a man of middling education and stature could possibly be the author of such incredible literature Many theories are forwarded offering the credit of authorship to such diverse figures as Sir Francis Bacon Edward de Vere or the Earl of Oxford But in the absence of definitive proof that Shakespeare is not the author of the work credited to him Shakespeare will continue to be assessed as one of the preeminent artists the human race has ever produced 1 Henry IV is one of Shakespeares so-called history plays it forms the second part of a tetralogy or four-part series which deals with the historical rise of the English royal House of Lancaster The play which comes before it is Richard II it is followed by 2 Henry IV--that is Henry IV Part 2--and Henry V The play was probably composed in the years 1596-1597 Set around the years 1400-1403 the action of 1 Henry IV takes place two centuries before Shakespeares own time In general it follows
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