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Shakespeare turned his attention to narrative poetry, which was considered by his fellow Elizabethans as serious literature, to contrast with the drama. His Venus and Adonis met with an immediate success, so great indeed that Shakespeare followed it with another long poem, The Rape Lusrece.

About this time, Shakespeare also began writing a series of 154 poems, all but three of them 14-line sonnets. The composition of these sonnets was spread over a number of years.

In 1594, he returned to drama with a series of comedies, including The Taming of the Shrew, a rollicking story of how a young husband changed his nagging, domineering bride into a sweet-tempered and dutiful wife.

Others included Two Gentlemen of Verona, Love’s Labor’s Lost and A Mid-summer Night’s Dream, in which he first made use of the supernatural, which he later employed so successfully in Macbeth, Hamlet, The Tempest, and The Merchant of Venice. Around 1600 Shakespeare wrote the comedies Much Ado About Nothing. As you Like It and Twelfth Night.

Shakespeare did not restrict himself during this period entirely to comedies. Indeed, Shakespeare’s comic art probably reached its greatest height in two of the histories, Henry IV, Part 7 and the character, Sir John Falstaff, is one of his greatest.