Famous Plays by Shakespeare

William Shakespeare is perhaps the most influential and well-known playwright in human history. During his short 52 years, Shakespeare changed both his society and future literature. With a portfolio including 39 plays and 154 sonnets, The Bard of Avon secured his place in world history.

Most students in the US have, or will have to, endure a semester of Shakespearean works. While many of us enjoyed the experience, there are quite a few who felt otherwise. Whichever way you lean on the topic, none of us can deny the persistence of his impact.

From movies to music, Shakespeare has influenced the history of our world. The works of the Bard have been translated into every language on earth. Students know the tragic tale of Romeo and Juliet, the betrayal of Julius Caesar, and the drama of Hamlet.

The Plays the Thing…

Shakespeares writing was not what he was initially known for. His original desire was to perform. William began as an actor, appearing in productions for other playwrights. His writing career began at some point in his mid-to-late-twenties. By this time, he had married Anne Hathaway, and their marriage had produced three children.

Let us examine the breadth of one of the world's greatest dramatists.

Historical Pieces

  • Richard II
  • Richard III
  • Julius Caesar
  • Henry IV - Parts 1 & 2
  • Henry V
  • Henry VI

Comedic Pieces

  • The Comedy of Errors
  • The Taming of the Shrew
  • Two Gentlemen from Verona
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Merchant of Venice
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • As You Like It
  • Twelfth Night
  • All’s Well That Ends Well
  • The Merry Wives of Windsor

Tragic Pieces

  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Julius Caesar
  • Othello
  • Hamlet
  • Macbeth
  • King Lear
  • Antony and Cleopatra
  • Coriolanus

Romantic Pieces

  • Cymbeline
  • The Winter’s Tale
  • The Tempest
  • Pericles, Prince of Tyre
  • Henry VIII
  • Two Noble Kinsmen
  • Titus Andronicus

Wherein I’ll Catch the Conscience of the King

Through his work, William Shakespeare influenced over 500 years of writers. The ripple effect from this has impacted the world in ways we cannot understand. Humanity has changed in part due to the understanding of motives and moralities in Shakespeare's works.

Governments, religions, and the arts have benefited from changes brought about by Shakespeare. Yes, in today’s modern era of understanding, some views expressed are abhorrent. A comedy involving the rape of a woman would not be accepted in today’s culture. The stereotyping of a Jewish merchant would be anti-sematic. The lack of people of color in a modern play would be concerning. Shakespeare may have bet on cockfights, which were popular among the masses in that era. Yet, in context, the world was a different place. Today, the Bard might have written Hamilton.

We who groan about reading Shakespeare know that the work of a man can last for hundreds of years is promising. Maybe, one day someone will find a remnant of something from our society and be in awe. Chances are, it won’t have anything to do with online casinos.

19 May 2021