William Shakespeare wrote at least 37 plays, as well as narrative poems and a collection of sonnets, during the English Renaissance period. Shakespeare's plays fall under three genres: tragedy, comedy and history. Some of his most famous works are "Romeo and Juliet," "Hamlet" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream".
Shakespeare wrote primarily from the years of 1590 to 1612 as a playwright for the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later called the King's Men, a London acting troupe. Many of Shakespeare's early plays written before 1600 were histories, including "Richard III" and the "Henry VI" trilogy. During this early period, he also wrote comedies, such as "The Merchant of Venice," "The Taming of the Shrew" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Later in his career, Shakespeare wrote the tragedies "Othello," "Macbeth" and "Hamlet".
Shakespeare mainly composed his plays using unrhymed iambic pentameter, also known as blank verse. Another characteristic of Shakespeare's work is meditative soliloquies from the main characters. Hamlet's "To be, or not to be" speech is a notable example. Shakespeare is also known for his use of clever wordplay, especially in his comedies. He is credited with inventing or popularizing many common words and phrases used today, such as "fashionable," "in a pickle," "lackluster" and "wild goose chase."