What happened from 1604 through the death of William Shakespeare?

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The year 1604 is important because Queen Elizabeth died in 1603. Shakespeare had lost a great patron and there was a new king on the throne, James I. James was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots and had come from Scotland ( where he was known as James VI). Shakespeare knew if he was to continue to enjoy royal patronage, he had to impress James. In 1604, he wrote both "Measure for Measure" and "Othello". One year later, he wrote "King Lear". Then, in 1606, after it was pretty well established that James was going to keep the throne (Elizabeth left no heirs and there were others who wanted to be king), Shakespeare wrote "Macbeth". Set in Scotland, this play is thought to be written for James I. James traced his lineage through Malcolm, the eventual king in "Macbeth" and there are other references to James in the play. It evidently worked because Shakespeare continued to produce plays until 1610 or 1613, depending on the source you consult. He then went into retirement and died on April 23, 1616. Check the references below for the biography of specific years in Shakespeare's life