If someone is asked how many Shakespeare plays the celebrated playwright wrote in his brilliant career, chances are he or she will pitch an estimate too low. The Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare, wrote thirty-seven and this does not include the ones that scholars suspect got lost over time.

Histories Plays

  • Henry VI, Part 2
  • Henry VI, Part 3
  • Henry VI, Part 1
  • Richard III
  • Richard II
  • King John
  • Henry IV, Part 1
  • Henry IV, Part 2
  • Henry V
  • Henry VIII or All is True
Antony and Cleopatra

Tragedy Plays

  • Titus Andronicus
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Julius Caesar
  • Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
  • Troilus and Cressida
  • Othello: the Moor of Venice
  • King Lear
  • Macbeth
  • Antony and Cleopatra
  • Coriolanus
  • Timon of Athens
Comedy of Errors

Comedy Plays

  • The Comedy of Errors
  • The Taming of the Shrew
  • The Two Gentlemen of Verona
  • Love's Labour's Lost
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • As You Like It
  • The Merry Wives of Windsor
  • Twelfth Night, Or What You Will
  • All's Well That Ends Well
  • Measure for Measure
  • Pericles, Price of Tyre
  • Cymbeline
  • TheWinter's Tale
  • The Tempest

Trivia on Shakespeare Plays

Henry VI. King Henry VI (1421-1471), was the character in the three plays that bears his name. He was nine months old when his father died.

Richard III. Richard III (1450-1485), is the character in the second and third parts of Henry VI, under the names of Richard Plantagenet and Duke of Gloucester.

Richard II. The eighth king of the house of Plantagenet, born in 1366, died 1400. He was the son of Edward the Black Prince, and succeeded his grandfather, Edward III, in 1377, at the age of 11.

King John. It is the earliest of the historic dramas of Shakespeare as to the period of action. It was written probably later than Richard II, Richard III, and Henry VI. Assigned writing date is 1595.

Henry IV. The first of the Lancastrian kings. He was the son of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. He was born in 1366 and died in 1413.

Henry V. He was called Henry of Monmouth and Prince Hal, son of Henry IV, born in 1388. He reigned from 1413-1422.

Henry VIII. King Henry VIII (1491-1547), enters in the second scene of the play that bears his name.

Titus Andronicus. The character in the play of the same name, Titus Andronicus is a noble Roman, and general of an army sent against the Goths.

Romeo and Juliet. It was believed written between 1591 and 1595, early in Shakespeare's career. It's about common love story of two young lovers whose death unites their feuding families, a tradition of romantic tragedy. The plot is based on an Italian tale, translated into verse by Arthur Brooke, 1562, and retold in prose by William Painter, 1582.

Julius Caesar. A historic tragedy first published in 1623. The action covers the time from the feast of Lupercalia, February 13, 44 BC, to the battle of Philippi, autumn of 42 BC.

Hamlet. Hamlet sees the ghost of his father and learns about his father's death. Hamlet vows revenge.

Troilus and Cressida. It is believed to have been written in 1602 and described as one of Shakespeare's unconventional tragedy since Troilus, the protagonist, does not die. Instead, the play ends with the death of the noble Trojan Hector and the destruction of the love between Troilus and Cressida.

Othello: the Moor of Venice. It was published in 1622, and considered one of Shakespeare's favourite plays. It is based on an Italian short story written by a disciple of Boccaccio, Cinthio. The story revolves around four central characters: Othello, a Moorish general in the Venetian army, his wife Desdemona; his lieutenant, Cassio; and his trusted ensign, Iago.

King Lear. Considered as one of the greatest tragedies of Shakespeare, it was first published in 1608, with three editions having appeared that year. The title character, King Lear, descends to madness from having foolishly disposed of his estate between two of his three daughters based on their flattery.

Macbeth. It is the shortest tragedy by Shakespeare, believed written between 1603 and 1607. Although his sources are the accounts of King Macbeth of Scotland, the story bears no relation to the actual events in Scottish history. The real Macbeth was an admired Monarch.

Antony and Cleopatra. Believed written between 1603 and 1607 The plot is based on Thomas North's translation of Plutarch's Life of Marcus Antonius and follows the relationship between Mark Antony and Cleopatra from the time of the Parthian War to Cleopatra's suicide. Octavius Caesar is the major antagonist, the future first emperor of Rome.

Coriolanus. It is a tragic play written between 1605 and 1608, based on the life of Caius Marcius Coriolanus, a legendary Roman leader.

Timon of Athens. This play is said to have been written within the period from 1602 to 1608. The source was drawn from Plutarch's "Life of Marcus Antonius" and Lucian's dialogue "Timon, or the Man-Hater." It is about the fortunes of an Athenian named Timon.

Shakespeare's plays were frequently performed in revised or cut form for the first two centuries after his death. The original texts were restored during in the 19th century by two prominent English writers, Samuel Coleridge and William Hazlitt.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616), English Playwright and Poet

Shakespeare is considered by many to be the greatest playwright of all time. He is most frequently quoted writer. His plays have been presented continuously since they were written. William Shakespeare arrived in London around 1590, in his mid-20s.

In 1594, Shakespeare joined the King's Men (formerly Lord Chamberlain's Men), as an actor and playwright. Five years later, he became a partner in the Globe Theatre and the Blackfriars Theatre in 1608. He retired to his birthplace, Stratford-on-Avon, in 1613.

Today, almost all of William Shakespeare's plays are still performed. They remain popular and are among the famous literary works worldwide.


Antony and Cleopatra by Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Wiki Creative Commons

Robson Crane, The Comedy of Errors, Wiki Creative Commons


McGovern, Una, Ed. Biographical Dictionary. Edinburgh: Chambers, Harrap Publishers, 2002

O'Connor, Evangeline M. Who's Who and What's What in Shakespeare. New Jersey: Gramercy Books, 1996