William Shakespeare was a prolific English poet and playwright who lived in the 16th and 17th centuries. He was born on or around 23 April 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon and is widely regarded as one of the greatest writers in the English language.

Edward the Second is a play written by a fellow Elizabethan playwright: Christopher Marlowe. Marlowe was born the same year as Shakespeare but died early in mysterious circumstances. He is considered to have greatly influenced Shakespeare's writing. One theory suggests that Marlowe could have faked his own death and then continued to write under the assumed name of William Shakespeare.

An indication that Edward the Second is not a play within Shakespeare's official canon is that the title is not styled: Edward II, which all of Shakespeare's Histories are.

Shakespeare was highly successful in the 1590s and although it is difficult to determine the exact chronology of Shakespeare’s works, it is likely that by 1592 he had authored 11 plays, including Romeo and Juliet and Richard III.

Shakespeare's style shifted after the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603. His plays, therefore, are split into two eras: Elizabethan and Jacobean. The Jacobean works of 1604–08 were darker and include the mature tragedies, Othello and Macbeth.

A complete list of his plays are generally divided into three genres (comedies, histories and tragedies). The Taming of the Shrew, Love's Labour's Lost and Timon of Athens were all written by Shakespeare.

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