Synopses & Reviews
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. The play begins with Richard having to pass judgment in a dispute with Henry Bolingbroke and Thomas Mowbray who is being accused of killing Richard's cousin. Richard cannot judge the case, since he had ordered the murder. A tournament between the two men follows. Richard banishes both men from England, which turns out to be his first mistake in a series of errors.