Category: Plays

Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet is a tragic play written early in the career of William Shakespeare about two teenage “star-cross’d lovers” whose untimely deaths ultimately unite their feuding households. It was among Shakespeare’s most popular plays during his lifetime and, along with Hamlet, is one of his most frequently performed plays. Today, the title characters are […]

Macbeth

Arguably the darkest of all Shakespeare’s plays, Macbeth is also one of the most challenging. Is it a work of nihilistic despair, “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing,” or is it a cautionary tale warning of the dangers of Machiavellianism and relativism? Does it lead to hell and […]

The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice is a play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1596 and 1598. Although classified as a comedy in the First Folio, and while it shares certain aspects with Shakespeare’s other romantic comedies, the play is perhaps more remembered for its dramatic scenes, and is best known for the […]

Julius Caesar

A great tragedy based on Plutarch’s account of the lives of Brutus, Julius Caesar, and Mark Antony. Evil plotting, ringing oratory, high tragedy occur with Shakespeare’s incomparable insight and dramatic power. William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was an English poet and playwright, now widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent […]

Henry VIII

The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eighth is a history play by William Shakespeare, based on the life of Henry VIII of England. An alternative title, All is True, is recorded in contemporary documents, the title Henry VIII not appearing until the play’s publication in the First Folio of 1623. Stylistic […]

Antony and Cleopatra

Antony and Cleopatra is a tragedy by William Shakespeare. It was first printed in the First Folio of 1623. The plot is based on Thomas North’s translation of Plutarch’s Life of Markus Antonius and follows the relationship between Cleopatra and Mark Antony from the time of the Parthian War to Cleopatra’s suicide. The major antagonist […]

The Winter’s Tale

The Winter’s Tale is a play by William Shakespeare, first published in the First Folio in 1623. Although it was listed as a comedy when it first appeared, some modern editors have relabeled the play a romance. Some critics, among them W. W. Lawrence (Lawrence, 9-13), consider it to be one of Shakespeare’s “problem plays”, […]

Two Gentlemen of Verona

The Two Gentlemen of Verona is a comedy by William Shakespeare from early in his career. It has the smallest cast of any of Shakespeare’s plays, and is the first of his plays in which a heroine dresses as a boy. It deals with the themes of friendship and infidelity. The highlight of the play […]

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night, Or What You Will is a comedy by William Shakespeare, based on the short story “Of Apolonius and Silla” by Barnabe Rich. It is named after the Twelfth Night holiday of the Christmas season. It was written around 1601 and first published in the First Folio in 1623. The main title is believed […]

Troilus and Cressida

Troilus and Cressida is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1602. The play (also described as one of Shakespeare’s problem plays) is not a conventional tragedy, since its protagonist (Troilus) does not die. The play ends instead on a very bleak note with the death of the noble Trojan Hector […]

Titus Andronicus

Titus Andronicus may be Shakespeare’s earliest tragedy; it is believed to have been written sometime between 1584 and the early 1590s. It depicts a Roman general who is engaged in a cycle of revenge with his enemy Tamora, the Queen of the Goths. The play is by far Shakespeare’s bloodiest work. It lost popularity during […]

Sophocles: The Seven Plays in English Verse

Sophocles or Sofokles (c496BC-c406BC) was the second of the three ancient Greek tragedians whose work has survived to the present day. His first plays were written later than those of Aeschylus, and earlier than those of Euripides. According to the Suda, a 10th century encyclopedia, Sophocles wrote 120 or more plays during the course of […]

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