Henry IV, Part 1 is a history play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written no later than 1597. It is the second of Shakespeare's tetralogy that deals with the successive reigns of Richard II, Henry IV (2 plays), and Henry V. Henry IV, Part 1 depicts a span of history that begins with Hotspur's battle at Homildon against the Douglas late in 1402 and ends with the defeat of the rebels at Shrewsbury in the middle of 1403. From the start it has been an extremely popular play both with the public and the critics.
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William Shakespeare was from Stratford-on-Avon England, and baptized on 26 April 1564. His family had lived in Stratford-on-Avon for generations. Shakespeare's father John Shakespeare was the Catholic mayor, and a leading figure of Augustinian Catholicism in England. In this capacity John Shakespeare was responsible for the trust funds in which British Augustinians concealed investments that would otherwise have been subject to confiscation if left in the hands of private individuals. For years William Shakespeare himself was involved in legal proceedings to determine the proceeds of such funds. Shakespeare's father was driven out of public office and into a kind of political underground by persecution organised by militant proponents of predestination in the Calvinist church and their Jesuit allies. For the first nearly two centuries after his death in 1616, William Shakespeare's plays were not performed in England. Were it not for the role of Friedrich Schiller, the great German dramatist of the late 1700s, William Shakespeare might now be unknown. Through his plays, William Shakespeare opened the mind of his audiences to the tragedy of history and realities of human behaviour, introduced in the English language the concept of irony, and metaphor. Shakespeare's work had, in Shakespeare's lifetime, an uplifting influence on the capabilities of human reason benefiting the entire population of England.
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