William Shakespeare/Works

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A list of some works of William Shakespeare.

The Plays

Shakespeare's plays are traditionally organised into three groups: Comedies, Histories and Tragedies. The following (resortable) list sorts the plays according to their order in the First Folio, the first published edition of Shakespeare's plays. Today, some of the comedies and tragedies are usually considered as a separate subgenre, the 'romances' or tragicomedies; these plays are so marked in the "Genre" column.

Title Genre Précis Main Characters Date
The Tempest Romance Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan, meets his usurpers on an island. Prospero, Miranda 1611 1623
The Two Gentlemen of Verona Comedy The friendship of Valentine and Proteus versus their romantic love for Sylvia. Valentine, Proteus 1593 1623
The Merry Wives of Windsor Comedy Falstaff attempts to seduce Mistresses Ford and Page. Falstaff, Ford 1597 1602
Measure for Measure Comedy The Duke of Vienna leaves the enforcement of his laws to the harsh Antonio. Vincentio, Angelo 1604 1623
The Comedy of Errors Comedy The farcical adventures of two sets of twins. Antipholus, Dromio 1590 1623
Much Ado About Nothing Comedy Beatrice and Benedict wage a "merry war", concealing their true feelings. Beatrice, Benedick 1598 1600
Love's Labour's Lost Comedy The King of Navarre and three companions agree to give up worldly pleasures,including love, for three years. Ferdinand, Berowne 1593 1598
A Midsummer Night's Dream Comedy The adventures of young lovers, rude mechanicals, and fairies in Athens. Oberon, Titania 1594 1600
The Merchant of Venice Comedy Antonio borrows from Shylock on behalf of his friend Bassanio. Antonio, Shylock 1596 1600
As You Like It Comedy Rosalind and Celia escape to the Forest of Arden, Rosalind disguised as a boy. Rosalind, Orlando 1598 1623
The Taming of the Shrew Comedy "Shrewish" Katherine must wed before her younger sister can. Petruchio, Katherine 1591 1623
All's Well That Ends Well Comedy Helena plots to marry the reluctant Bertram. Bertram, Helena 1603 1623
Twelfth Night, or What You Will Comedy Viola, shipwrecked, separated from her brother, and disguised as a boy, enters Duke Orsino's service. In love with Orsino herself, she must help him win the hand of Olivia. Orsino, Viola, Olivia 1600 1623
The Winter's Tale Romance Jealousy ends marriage and friendship; time brings reconciliation Leontes, Perdita 1610 1623
King John History The life and death of King John John, Arthur 1596 1623
Richard II History Richard's mistakes lead to his downfall at the hands of Henry Bolingbroke. Richard, Bolingbroke 1595 1597
Henry IV, Part 1 History Henry has taken the throne, but must put down rebellion. He needs the help of his son, Hal, who is spending his youth in bad company. Henry, Hal, Hotspur 1597 1598
Henry IV, Part 2 History Henry's crown is again threatened by civil war, while Prince Hal returns to his life with the disreputable Falstaff. Henry, Falstaff, Hal 1598 1600
Henry V History The English defeat the French at Agincourt. Henry, Pistol 1599 1600
Henry VI, Part 1 History The aftermath of the Death of Henry V Henry, Talbot 1592 1623
Henry VI, Part 2 History The beginning of the War of the Roses Henry, Margaret 1591 1594
Henry VI, Part 3 History The House of York defeats the House of Lancaster.The prelude to the rise of Richard III Henry, Margaret 1591 1595
Richard III History Richard's seizure of the throne and defeat at Bosworth Field. Richard, Clarence 1592 1597
Henry VIII History The scheming Cardinal Wolsey opposes Henry Henry, Catherine 1613 1623
Troilus and Cressida Tragedy The love story of Troilus and Cressida set against the backdrop of the Trojan War Troilus, Cressida 1602 1609
Coriolanus Tragedy The proud Roman general, Coriolanous betrays Rome. Coriolanus, Volumnia 1608 1623
Titus Andronicus Tragedy Roman general and Gothic queen in a cycle of revenge Titus, Tamara 1590 1594
Romeo and Juliet Tragedy Two "star-cross'd lovers" have a passionate affair, defying their families, with tragic results. Romeo, Juliet 1595 1597
Timon of Athens Tragedy False friends cause Timon to become a misanthrope. Timon, Apemantus 1606 1623
Julius Caesar Tragedy Conspirators assassinate Julius Caesar and are then defeated. Brutus, Antony 1599 1623
Macbeth Tragedy Macbeth seeks to gain the Scottish throne through murder, believing that no man "of woman born" can kill him. Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Banquo 1605 1623
Hamlet Tragedy Hamlet seeks to avenge the death of his father. Hamlet, Ophelia 1601 1603
King Lear Tragedy Lear foolishly chooses his scheming eldest daughters over Cordelia. Lear, Cordelia, Regan, Gloucester, Goneril 1605 1608
Othello Tragedy Othello is destroyed by his jealous love for Desdemona. Othello, Iago, Desdemona 1604 1622
Antony and Cleopatra Tragedy Antony and Cleopatra are defeated by Octavius. Antony, Cleopatra 1606 1623
Cymbeline Romance Villainy, a wicked stepmother and a separated family. Imogen, Iachimo 1609 1623

Most scholars are agreed that Shakespeare was the principal author of all of these plays, and sole author of most of them.

Later in the seventeenth century, several other plays were added in later editions. One of them, Pericles, Prince of Tyre, has come to be regularly included. It is generally accepted as the joint work of Shakespeare and another author, probably George Wilkins, who wrote the "novelization".

In recent times most scholars accept The Two Noble Kinsmen as being by Fletcher and Shakespeare, as stated on its original title page, and it is usually included in scholarly editions.

The majority of scholars accept some passages of Sir Thomas More as by Shakespeare, and indeed in his handwriting, and some editions include either these passages or the whole play.

Most scholars have recently concluded that Edward III is partly by Shakespeare, and some editions include it.

There is a growing consensus that Arden of Faversham is partly by Shakespeare.

Current consensus holds it likely that Double Falsehood is an adaptation of a lost play Cardenio by Fletcher and Shakespeare.

Additions found in the posthumous 2nd edition of Kyd's Spanish Tragedy may be at least partly by Shakespeare.



The following are generally accepted by scholars:

The following are uncertain:

  • The Passionate Pilgrim (contributions to; the only contributions definitely known to be by him are duplicated elsewhere in his works; some poems in this collection are definitely by other writers, but some remain anonymous)
  • A Lover's Complaint
  • Miscellaneous songs and epitaphs

Lost plays