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: William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616) is the most influential writer in English history. Shakespeare has been called The Barb of Avon and England's national poet. There are 2 narrative poems, 154 sonnets and 38 plays in his collected works. He began work as an actor and writer in London first writing comedies and historic plays. He later wrote tragedies. Romeo and Juliet, MacBeth and Othello are some of his more famous plays. Shakespeare wrote a tetralogy covering the successive reigns of Richard II, Henry IV, (2 plays) and Henry V. The tetralogy is often referred to as the "Henriad," alluding to the 'epic' nature of the story and its similarity to the Iliad by Homer. Henry IV part 1 covers the period from the Hotspur's battle at Homildon and ends with the defeat of the rebels at Shrewsbury. Part 2 continues the story of Prince Hal. and his rejection of Falstaff. In part 2 the stories of Hal and Falstaff are separate. The atmosphere of the play focuses on the approaching death of Falstaff.