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William Shakespeare Plays

William Shakespeare, one of the master writers of English Language needs no introduction. He was famous as a playwright and a writer. His plays contributed greatly to the language of English and Western literature as a whole. His 38 plays are divided into various genres like tragedy, history and comedy. There is also another category related to plays based on history.

William Shakespeare Plays
William Shakespeare Plays

William Shakespeare Play Antony and Cleopatra


Antony and Cleopatra, 1606-1607 is the story of Mark Antony, Roman military leader and triumvir, who is madly in love with Cleopatra who was the queen of Egypt.

William Shakespeare Play Hamlet

Hamlet during 1600-1601 has engrossed playgoers, thrilled readers, and challenged even the most gifted actors. It has been one of the most celebrated plays of William Shakespeare.


William Shakespeare Play Julius Caesar

During this period, there were many plays based on Julius Caesar and his life. However, the play by Shakespeare was noteworthy due to several reasons. It was played during 1599. This play is still being played in theatres around the world.

William Shakespeare Play Othello

This was a story of a valiant Moorish general in the service of Venice who falls prey to the false schemes of his friend Iago. The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice is believed to have been written in approximately 1603. It has elements of racism, love, jealousy, and betrayal.

William Shakespeare Play Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet was brought into the theatre during 1594-1595. It is one of the most romantic plays of this great playwright. From its first show, it became the centre of attraction and popularity. It was celebrated also for the radiance of its lyric poetry.

Shakespeare with his group
Shakespeare with his group

William Shakespeare Play King Lear

This was the story of an ageing monarch namely King Lear. He decides to divide his wealth and kingdom among his three daughters. This division is according to the declaration of love made by each of the sisters. Wealth is divided accordingly and the King later realizes the falsity of their words.

Other tragedies of William Shakespeare were Macbeth, one of his most popular dramas, Timon of Athens, Titus Andronicus etc.

William Shakespeare Plays History

Henry IV, Part I

During the period 1597-1598, Sir John Falstaff, the opportunist was featured in this play. This, according to some is Shakespeare’s greatest history play. The main characters of the play were characters Hotspur, Prince Hal, King Henry, and the jovial John Falstaff.

Henry V

Henry V was another notable contribution of Shakespeare in the category of history plays. This was during 1598-1599. It is the story of King Henry V of England concerning the events around the Battle of Agincourt. The play is the final part of the tetralogy: Richard II, Henry IV Part 1, Henry IV Part 2.

Is Henry V a tragedy?

The series of plays written on the English monarchs are usually categorised as History plays.

King John

Another History play of Shakespeare, King John focuses on the reign of the eponymous figure in England. The play was written on the mid-1590s. King John was praised widely for its poetic brilliance.

Richard II, Richard III, Henry VI, Part II, Henry VI, Part II, Henry VI, Part III etc were other history plays.

William Shakespeare Comedy Plays:

All’s Well that Ends Well

This is noted mainly due to the dubious character of the character Helena.

As you Like it

Considered as the greatest comedy of William Shakespeare, As you Like it featured in it the heroine as Rosalind, a remarkable character of Shakespeare.

Merchant of Venice

It is considered one of the most significant and popular plays in the history of comedies. Merchant of Venice focuses on Antonio who takes a large loan from Shylock, a Jewish moneylender. The play is most loved for its dramatic scenes and dialogues and is important for its take of the treatment of Jews.

Other comedy plays were The Comedy of Errors, A Midsummer Nights Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, The Tempest, Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Winter’s Tale and so on and so forth.

Shakespeare also wrote several plays which were in collaboration with other playwrights of the era, such as Thomas Middleton, John Fletcher etc. In fact, more often than not, plays were written in collaboration with other playwrights in the Elizabethan and Jacobean era.

Tempest illustration
Tempest illustration

This is because, at that time, the theatre industry was going through a boom in production. Playwrights, therefore, had to produce large volumes of work which was easier if done collaboratively.

Some such plays of Shakespeare are –

Henry VI, Part 1 was written by quite a large team and Shakespeare possibly wrote only about 20% of the play. The first act is probably written by Thomas Nashe. However, Shakespeare’s language could be easily differentiable from the other.

Edward III was another play that scholars believe was written collaboratively by Shakespeare and Thomas Kyd

Titus Andronicus was also a result of a collaborative effort, written by Shakespeare along with George Peele. Pericles was written by Shakespeare with George Wilkins. Cardenio, a play that is lost today, was also one written by Shakespeare and John Fletcher jointly.

More Info On- William Shakespeare Phrases, Style of Poetry, Best Poems

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