Shakespeare's Plays

Shakespeare’s plays are among the finest works of drama and literature in the history of the English language.

An Introduction to Shakespeare Plays

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Did Shakespeare Really Write His Plays?

There have been a great deal of conspiracy theories and controversies surrounding the authorship of the plays. However, the fact remains that Shakespeare did indeed write them.

Some will suggest that they were actually written by rival dramatist Christopher Marlowe, or the Earl of Oxford, or even Queen Elizabeth. Shakespeare did source material from Marlowe and had connections with Oxford, the Queen, and other Renaissance writers. But there is no reason to suspect they wrote the plays.

How Many Plays Did Shakespeare Write?

Like many dramatists of his day, Shakespeare was prolific. To date, we know of 39 plays written by Shakespeare (some of which were collaborations with other dramatists).

What Was Shakespeare's First Play?

The first play Shakespeare wrote was Henry VI Part 1, written around 1590-1591. It has recently come to light, however, that Shakespeare almost certainly had help writing this play. Scholars suggest that the Bard likely collaborated on the King Henry VI trilogy with another prominent dramatist in Elizabethan England. Some possible collaborators include Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Nashe, George Peele, Robert Greene, and Thomas Kyd.

What Was Shakespeare's Last Play?

The final play that Shakespeare penned was The Tempest, which he completed sometime around 1610-1611.

What Is Shakespeare's Longest Play?

Shakespeare’s longest play was his classic tragedy, HamletThe tragedy contains 4,024 lines.

What Is Shakespeare's Shortest Play?

Shakespeare’s shortest play was his comedy, The Comedy of ErrorsIt contains only 1,786 lines.

When Were Shakespeare's Plays Published?

While Shakespeare’s dramas were initially performed at the Globe Theatre in London, several were also published in book form. Many were initially published as “quartos” during his lifetime. However, the most influential publication of his works was the First Folio, published by John Heminges and Henry Condell seven years after Shakespeare’s death.

The First Folio contained 36 Shakespeare plays, organized into the categories we often still use today: comedies, histories, and tragedies. Most modern scholars agree that the versions of the plays in the First Folio are among the most reliable resources in Shakespeare studies.

Shakespeare Plays by Genre

Shakespearean Tragedies

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Shakespearean Comedies

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Shakespearean Problem Plays

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Shakespearean Histories

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Shakespearean Romances

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Shakespearean Collaborations

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