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How Many Plays did Shakespeare Write?

How Many Plays did Shakespeare Write?

William Shakespeare is known as the 'father of English literature' who wrote around 41 plays, 154 sonnets, and 2 narrative poems. Only 36 plays of Shakespeare were published in the 'First Folio' in 1623, where 4 plays, Cardenio', 'Love's Labour's Won', 'Pericles, Prince of Tyre', and 'The Two Noble Kinsmen' were excluded. This Penlighten article lists all his plays and an elaborative study of Shakespeare's plays.
Penlighten Staff
Last Updated: Apr 28, 2018
"Life's but a walking shadow,
A poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more.
It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing."
William Shakespeare (1564 to 1616), the world's pre-eminent dramatist created an extensive source that has been strikingly popular in English Literature right from Queen Elizabeth I to Postmodernism. Even today literature study will be incomplete without reading any of his piece of writing. He not only wrote plays, but also appeared as an actor on the stage called 'Globe Theatre' in the Southwark district of London. Shakespeare wrote forty-one plays that include 10 historical plays, 15 comedies, 11 tragedies, and 5 other plays. His two plays collaborated with John Fletcher in the early nineteenth century were 'Cardenio' and 'The Two Noble Kinsmen' lost in theater fire. Therefore, some unnoticeable plays in that era are still unavailable to readers. But some claim that the original source of lost plays are translated by Thomas Shelton in 1612.
Plays by Shakespeare
Historical Plays (10)
King John, Richard II, Henry IV (Part 1), Henry IV (Part 2), Henry V, Henry VI (Part 1), Henry VI (Part 2), Henry VI (Part 3), Richard III, Henry VIII

Tragedies (11)
Othello, Macbeth, Hamlet, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, Titus Andronicus, Timon of Athens, Troilus and Cressida

Comedies (15)
The Comedy of Errors, The Taming of the Shrew, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Love's Labour's Lost, The Winter's Tale, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Much Ado about Nothing, As You Like It, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Twelfth Night, Pericles, Prince of Tyre, All's Well that Ends Well, Measure for Measure, The Tempest

Other Plays (5)
Cymbeline, Sir Thomas More, The Two Noble Kinsmen, Cardenio, Love's Labour's Won
Assumptions on the plays written by Shakespeare
Elizabethan era was the blooming period for writers like Shakespeare even without any copyright or printing sources; eighteen of his plays were published during his lifetime.

John Hemminges and Henry Condell, his fellow actor recorded and published his work in First Folio in 1623.

The exact number of plays written by Shakespeare is still debatable, some critics mention it to be more than 54 plays, most of the authoritative sources suggest 37 plays, 154 sonnets and 2 long poems.
Most Popular Plays by William Shakespeare
Historical Plays
1. King John (1623)
The play is a conflict between King John and Aurthur over the kingship. King John refused his nephew Arthur to be a king of England and announced a war against France. In between, Arthur was dead while escaping from John's army; on the another side, King John was poisoned by someone else. So Henry, John's son became the king.

Main Characters

Pandulf Masca, Louis VIII of France, John of England, Philip II of France, Hubert de Burgh, Pandulph, Henry III of England

Famous Quotes

"Mad world! Mad kings! Mad composition!" - King John (Act II, I)

"With taper-light To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish." - King John (Act IV, Scene II)
2. Richard II (1595)
The historical play is about King Richard, the Second who ruled England between 1377-1399. It is Shakespeare's second tetralogy, which has four plays chronologically. Henry IV, (Part 1), Henry IV (Part 2), and Henry V are preceded by Richard II.

Main Characters

Thomas de Mowbray, Edmund of Langley, Isabella of Valois, Henry Percy, John of Gaunt, Henry Percy, Isabella of Castile, Richard II of England

Famous Quote

"I Keep time! How sour sweet music is when time is broke and no proportion kept! So is it in the music of men's lives. I wasted time and now doth time waste me." - Richard II (Act V, Scene V)

"Pray God we may make haste, and come too late!" - Richard II (Act I, Scene IV )
3. Henry IV, Part 1 (1597)
Sequel to Richard II, Henry IV became the King of England, but he was living with the guilt of killing King Richard. His own son Prince Henry proved irresponsible and joined the group of rebellion. When Hotspur claimed Edmund Mortimer to take over the throne of Henry IV, Prince Henry came back to his father and became the king.

Main Characters

Falstaff, Henry, Prince of Wales, Bardolph

Famous Quotes

"So shaken as we are, so wan with care." - Henry IV (Act I, Scene I)

"He will give the devil his due." - Henry IV (Act I, Scene II).
4. Henry IV, Part 2 (written during 1596 and 1599)
King Henry's second son Prince John, succeeded in executing all rebellions who were planning for a battle against the king at Forest of Gaultree. Meanwhile, the king's eldest son, Prince Henry or Hal vowed to be responsible and left all his lowlife friends, one of them was Falstaff. The play ended with death of the ill King Henry and Prince Hal became the King Henry V.

Main Characters

Falstaff, Bardolph, Mistress Quickly, Henry, Prince of Wales, Doll Tearsheet, Scroop, Robert Shallow, Henry IV

Famous Quotes

"Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown." - Henry IV (Act III, Scene I)

"A man can die but once." - Henry IV (Act III, Scene II)
5. Henry V (1599)
The last part of the tetralogy, Henry V, is about achievements of the English conquest of France. We can see how France and England united through marriage of King Henry V with French Princess Catherine.

Main Characters

Corporal Nym, Earl of Salisbury, Duke of Exeter, Duke of Bedford, Princess Katherine of France, Henry V, Humphrey of Lancaster, Duke of Gloucester

Famous Quotes

"All things are ready, if our mind be so." - Henry V (Act IV, scene III)

"Thine face is not worth sunburning." - Henry V (Act IV, Scene I)
6. Henry VI, Part 1 (1591)
The young King Henry VI became king after his father's death. He declared war against France and imprisoned Joan of Arc and Margaret of Anjou. Joan of Arc was burned as a witch and the king Henry VI married Margaret of Anjou.

Main Characters

Henry Beaufort, Duke of Exeter, Richard Plantagenet, Duke of Bedford, Humphrey of Lancaster, King Henry VI of England

Famous Quote

"She's beautiful, and therefore to be wooed; she is a woman, therefore to be won." - Henry VI (Act V, Scene III)

"Here on my knee I beg mortality, rather than life preserved with infamy." - John (Act IV, Scene V)
7. Henry VI, Part 2 (1591)
The play considered to be the best of his tetralogical plays, highlighted marriage of king Henry VI with Margaret of Anjou. The king made Suffolk a duke in his kingdom, unaware of his liking for Margaret. On the other side, Gloucester, a loyal duke was killed by Suffolk. The king's inability and weakness are the major reasons for his demise.

Main Characters

King Henry VI, Queen Margaret, Duke Humphrey of Gloucester, Duchess Eleanor of Gloucester, Cardinal Beaufort, William de la Pole

Famous Quotes

"If he be old enough, what needs your grace,
To be protector of his excellence?" - Queen Margaret (Act I, Scene III)

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." - King Henry (Act VI, Part 2)
8. Henry VI, Part 3 (1591)
The Prince York took the throne of King Henry VI in his absence, but the king came and promised the prince to be the next king after his death. After a lot of chaos, Prince Edward, son of Henry VI became the king.

Main Characters

King Henry VI, Queen Margaret, Edward, Prince of Wales, Lord Clifford, Duke of Exeter

Famous Quote:

"Having nothing, nothing can he lose." - King Henry VI (Act III, Scene III)

"Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind; the thief doth fear each bush an officer." - King Henry VI (Act V, Scene VI)
9. Richard III (1592)
It is one of the longest historical plays by Shakespeare. Richard the main character is marked as an
anti-hero due to his misdeeds. He murdered a lot of people and became king of England. But in the end, Richmond killed Richard and married young Elizabeth, so that two families Lancaster and York would unite and England once again would lead a peaceful life.

Main Characters

Richard III, Buckingham, King Edward IV, Clarence, Queen Elizabeth, Anne, Duchess of York, Margaret

Famous Quotes

"Now is the winter of our discontent. Made glorious summer by this sun of York." - Richard III (Act I, Scene I)

"Bloody thou art, bloody will be thy end." - Duchess of York (Act IV, Scene IV)
10. Henry VIII (1623)
The play also known as 'All Is True' is published in the First Folio, it is believed to be a collaborative play Shakespeare and John Fletcher.

Main Characters

Henry VIII, Cardinal Wolsey, Queen Katherine, Anne Boleyn, Duke of Buckingham, Thomas Cranmer, Stephen Gardiner, King's secretary, Lord Chamberlain, Duke of Norfolk, Duke of Suffolk, Earl of Surrey

Famous Quotes

"With taper-light to seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish." - Sal (Act IV, Scene II)

"Press not a falling man too far!" - Lord Chamberlain (Act III, Scene II)
Tragedies
11. Othello (1603)
It displays the clear picture of jealousy of Iago which caused the sad demise of the couple Othello and Desdemona.

Main Characters
Iago, Desdemona, Cassio, Othello, Emilia, Roderigo, Brabantio, Bianca, Gratiano, Lodovico, Duke of Venice, Clown

Famous Quotes

"A fellow almost damn'd in a fair wife,
That never set a squadron in the field,
Nor the division of a battle knows,
More than a spinster." - Iago (Act I, Scene I)

"'T'is neither here nor there." - Othello (Act IV, Scene III)
12. Macbeth (1603-1606)
The historical play, is the tragedy of wrong judgment in the hands of Lady Macbeth.

Main Characters

Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Banquo, King Duncan, Three Witches, Macduff, Malcolm, Fleance, Young Siward, Donalbain, Lady Macduff, Duncan I of Scotland

Famous Quotes

"All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand." - Lady Macbeth (Act V, Scene I)

"What's done is done." - Macbeth (Act III, Scene II)
13. Hamlet (1599-1601)
It is the tragedy of the Prince of Denmark who coined the term Oedipus complex.

Main Characters

Hamlet, Claudius, Ophelia, Fenge, Polonius, Horatio, Gertrude, Laertes, Fortinbras, Ghost of Hamlet's father, Yorick, Prince Hamlet, Guildenstern, Rosencrantz

Famous Quotes

"To be or not to be? That is the question." - Hamlet (Act III, Scece I)

"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." - Hamlet (Act II, Scene II)
14. King Lear (1603-1606)
It is the story of a king who divided his kingdom between his two daughters and left the loved youngest daughter Cordelia in straitened circumstances and victimized due to a tragic misapprehension.

Main Characters
Goneril, Cordelia, Edmund, Regan, Leir of Britain, Earl of Gloucester, King of France, Earl of Kent, Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Burgundy

Famous Quotes

"Nothing will come of nothing: speak again." - King Lear (Act I, Scene I)

"When the mind's free, the Body's delicate." - King Lear (Act III, Scene IV)
15. Romeo and Juliet (1595)
It is based on the initial poem 'The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet' by Arthur Brook in 1562.

Main Characters

Juliet, Romeo, Mercutio, Tybalt, Benvolio, Friar Laurence, Lord Capulet, Nurse, Count Paris, Rosaline, Prince Escalus, Lady Capulet

Famous Quote:

"A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life." - Prologue

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose,
By any other word would smell as sweet." - Romeo (Act II, Scene II)
16. Julius Caesar (1599)
The play is about a political conflict where Caesar is warned of "Beware the ides of March." This reflects the idea of ancient Roman assassination of Julius in public on the fifteenth day of March.

Main Characters

Marcus Junius Brutus, Julius Caesar, Antony, Gaius Cassius Longinus, Soothsayer, Gaius Octavian, Cato the Younger, Casca, Marullus, Marcus Tullius Cicero, Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus, Lucius

Famous Quotes

"Cowards die many times before their deaths." - Caesar (Act II, Scene II)

"I came, I saw, I conquered." - Caesar (Act V, Scene II)
17. Antony and Cleopatra (1623)
It unveils love and lust based on Thomas North's 'Plutarch's Life of Marcus Antonius'. Most of the critics blame him for creating hero from aristocratic families that seemed false as depicted in, 'The Merchant of Venice.'

Main Characters

Alexas, Mark Antony, Cléopâtre, Gaius Octavian, Julius Caesar, Domitius Enobarbus, Soothsayer, Octavia, Proculeius, Sextus Pompey, Iras, Marcus Agrippa

Famous Quotes

"The breaking of so great a thing should make,
A greater crack: the round world,
Should have shook lions into civil streets,
And citizens to their dens." - Antony (Act V, Scene I)

"The triple pillar of the world transformed into a strumpet's fool." - Antony (Act I, Scene I)
18. Coriolanus (1605 and 1608)
A political play placed in Rome about Coriolanus' success and his downfall. Main theme of the plays were class, pride, war vs. love, words vs. actions, etc.

Main Characters

Volumnia, Virgilia, Caius Marcius Coriolanus, Menenius Agrippa, Tullus Aufidius, Junius Brutus, Sicinius Velutus, Valeria, General Cominius

Famous Quotes

"Nature teaches beasts to know their friends." - Sicinius (Act II, Scene I)

"Death By Inches." - Coriolanus (Act I, Scene I)
19. Titus Andronicus (1588 and 1593)
Again a collaborative play written with George Peele, supposed to be the first tragedy by Shakespeare based on revenge theme.

Main Characters

Tamora, Shakespearean fool, Alarbus, Marcus Andronicus, Chiron, Titus Andronicus, Mutius, Lucius, Goth, Aaron, Lavinia, Quintus

Famous Quotes

"Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand, Blood and revenge are hammering in my head." - Aaron (Act II, Scene III)

"These words are razors to my wounded heart." - Titus Andronicus (Act I, Scene I)
20. Timon of Athens (1607)
This play is about flattery and money. A generous Athenian gentleman, Timon used to please his friends with gifts and feasts, even in his debts. Once he asked them to help him, but none of his friends lend him money. Disappointed, Timon went to a cave where he found gold. When army general, Alcibiades met him, Timon offered him some amount of gold if he attacked Athens. In the end, we find Timon dead in that cave alone.

Main Characters

Apemantus, Alcibiades, Timon, Lucullus, Cupid, Sempronius, Lucilius, Lucius, Flavius, Servilius, Ventidius, Flaminius

Famous Quotes

"I'll lock thy heaven from thee.
O, that men's ears should be,
To counsel deaf, but not to flattery!" - Timon (Act I, Scene II)

"We have seen better days." - Flavius (Act IV, Scene II)
21. Troilus and Cressida (1602)
The play is about Trojan war, where Hector's brother Troilus falls in love with Cressida, but they never meet.

Main Characters

Troilus, Cressida, Achilles, Hector, Pandarus, Thersites, Agamemnon, Paris, Priam, Diomedes, Helen of Troy, Ajax

Famous Quotes

"For to be wise and love, exceeds man's might." - Cressida (Act III, Scene II)

"They say all lovers swear more performance than they are able, and yet reserve an ability that they never perform, vowing more than the perfection of ten and discharging less than the tenth part of one. They that have the voice of lions and the act of hares, are they not monsters?" - Cressida (Act III, Scene II)
Comedies
22. The Comedy of Errors (1589-1594)
The comedy of Errors is the shortest play about mistaken identities between two sets of twins in Ephesus who were separated in a tempest. It proves to be a classical play covering opera, musical theater and even stage. 'Big Business' (1988 film) is based on this play.

Main Characters

Antipholus of Ephesus and Antipholus of Syracuse (twins), Solinus, Egeon

Famous Quotes

"I to the world am like a drop of water,
That in the ocean seeks another drop,
Who, falling there to find his fellow forth,
(Unseen, inquisitive) confounds himself." - Antipholus (Act 1, scene II)

"Ay, when fowls have no feathers and fish have no fin." - Dromio of Syracuse (Act III, Scene I)
23. The Taming of the Shrew (1593/1594)
Katherina is the shrew in the play, so it's about taming of Katherina by her husband, Petruchio. Her father, Minola thought it would be difficult to get a companion for his daughter. Petruchio wooed Katherina for money. He tamed her with the help of reverse psychology.

Main Characters

Katherina, Bianca Minola, Petruchio, Lucentio, Tranio, Grumio, Biondello, Hortensio

Famous Quotes

"There's small choice in rotten apples." - Hortensio (Act 1, Scene 1)

"The poorest service is repaid with thanks." - Petruchio (Act 4, Scene III)
24. The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1594)
The play is about two gentlemen Valentine and Proteus who were best friends. Proteus loves Julia and Valentine falls in love with Silvia, Duke's daughter. But Proteus tries to separate Valentine and Silvia, because he too likes Silvia. The play stands out as a love triangle for sometime till another fourth main character, Julia is back.

Main Characters

Eglamour, Lucetta, Duke of Milan, Valentine, Proteus, Silvia, Julia

Famous Quotes

"That man that hath a tongue, I say, is no man,
If with his tongue he cannot win a woman." - Valentine (Act III, Scene I)

"What, gone without a word?
Ay, so true love should do. It cannot speak,
For truth hath better deeds than words to grace it." - Proteus (Act II, Scene II)
25. Love's Labour's Lost (1598)
'Love's Labor Lost' means to do good to one's enemy. What will happen if you oath never to see a woman for three years while studying? No man can resist seeing a woman and the same thing happens with the four scholars, the king of Navarre Ferdinand, and his Lords Berowne, Longaville, and Dumaine. Interestingly, Princess of France and her ladies Maria, Rosaline, and Katherine woo the scholars, but they run away from them for study. Still the ladies go camping at the same place where their men are! So men surrender and happy ending once again.

Main Characters

Ferdinand, Berowne, Longaville, Dumaine, Maria, Rosaline, and Katherine, Princess of France, Boyet

Famous Quotes

"Beauty is bought by judgment of the eye,
Not uttered by base sale of chapmen's tongues." - Boyet (Act II, Scene I)

"A man of fire-new words, fashion's own knight." - Biron (Act 1, Scene I)
26. The Winter's Tale (1609/10)
Though we grouped it in comedy, many critics consider it as a problem play.

Main Characters

Leontes, Perdita, Florizel, Mamillius, Hermione, Polixenes, Camillo, Autolycus, Mopsa, Archidamus, Emilia, Antigonus

Famous Quote

"Though I am not naturally honest, I am sometimes so by chance." - Autolycus (Act IV, Scene IV )
27. A Midsummer Night's Dream (1595)
A girl's eloping with her lover, is not a new thing, but it must be strange in the 16th century. A Duke's daughter, Hippolyta rejects to marry Theseus and she elopes with her lover, Lysander in a forest. To readers' shock Hippolyta marries Theseus! Lysander faces the dark corner of love. If you wonder how shocking the end is! Then please read the whole play once; you will laugh your heart out when Flute said, "Nay, faith, let me not play a woman; I have a beard coming."

Main Characters

Hippolyta, Theseus, Lysander, Oberon, Puck, Titania, Hermia, Helena, Demetrius

Famous Quotes

"Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind." - Helena (Act I, Scene I)

"A lion among ladies is a most dreadful thing." - Snout (Act III, Scene I)
28. The Merchant of Venice (1596-1598)
Bassanio wanted to be a suitor to woo Portia, but lacked some money. Shylock was ready to lend him some money only if he had a loan guarantor. So Bassanio came to his friend Antonio, who was a wealthy merchant of Venice, but Shylock put a condition before them. The condition was if Antonio couldn't pay the amount in a given time, a pound of Antonio's flesh would be taken by Shylock. Revengeful Shylock refused the money given by Bassanio before the time and demanded for Antonio's flesh. Somehow Portia (disguised as a doctor) claimed Shylock to take only flesh, but not a drop of blood. This way Shylock failed and took whatever amount is given to him.

Main Characters

Shylock, Portia, Antonio, Gratiano, Bassanio, Solanio, Launcelot Gobbo, Salerio, Prince of Morocco, Duke of Venice, Nerissa, Tubal

Famous Quotes

"All that glisters is not gold;
Often have you heard that told:
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold:
Gilded tombs do worms enfold." - Morocco (Act II, Scene VII)

"The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose." - Antonio (Act I, Scene III)
29. Much Ado about Nothing (1599)
Much Ado About Nothing is the romantic tragi-comedy of two couples Hero and Claudio (quiet couple) and Benedick-Beatrice (arguing couple). The title indicates that a great fuss about Hero's infidelity ("much ado") is ("nothing") but only a meaningless doubt. The story starts with Claudio wooing Hero and they fall in love. The couple separates over a doubt of infidelity only to clear off the misunderstanding.

Main Characters

Beatrice, Benedick, Claudio, Hero, Don Pedro, Leonato, Don John, Margaret, Borachio, Conrad, Dogberry, Verges, Antonio, Balthasar, Ursula

Famous Quotes

"Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps." - Hero (Act III, Scene I)

"Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,
Men were deceivers ever,-
One foot in sea and one on shore,
To one thing constant never." - Balthasar (Act II, Scene III)
30. As You Like It (1599)
'As you like it' is a pastoral comedy based on Thomas Lodge's novel'Rosalynde'. It is a love story of Rosalind and Orlando. Shakespeare depicted love as a disease, men suffered more than women in love. Use of poetic language and carving on the trees are very occupying throughout the play. Other issues like same-sex desires, fight between siblings for crown and property are highlighted. The play ends with four-couple's wedding.

Main Characters

Rosalind, Orlando, Celia, Touchstone, Phebe, Duke Senior, Duke Frederick, Corin, Silvius, Jacques de Boys, Oliver, Jacques

Famous Quotes

"All the world's a stage
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages." - Jacques (Act II, Scene VII)

"Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing?" - Rosalind (Act IV, Scene I)
31. The Merry Wives of Windsor (1597/1601)
Character of Sir John Falstaff is featured as a fat knight, whom we met in two parts of historical plays of Henry IV. It's a middle class play which focused on love and marriage as the main theme. It is the first play of Shakespeare closed to modern view alike other plays.

Main Characters

Falstaff, Anne Page, Meg Page, Mistress Ford, Corporal Nym, Fenton

Famous Quotes

"If money go before, all ways do lie open." - Ford (Act II, Scene II)

"Love like a shadow flies when substance love pursues,
Pursuing that that flies, and flying what pursues." - Ford (Act III, Scene II)
32. Twelfth Night (1601-02)
Viola loses her twin brother, Sebastian in a shipwreck and disguises herself as a man, Cesario. Countess Olivia likes Viola (Cesario), whereas her brother falls in love with Olivia. Later it's revealed that Viola too had a soft corner for Duke Orsino. Please read the play to know how the twins know about each other and how the love triangle is solved, thus making the readers laugh.

Main Characters

Viola, Countess Olivia, Malvolio, Duke Orsino, Feste, Toby Belch, Sebastian, Andrew Aguecheek, Maria, Fabian, Valentine, Captain

Famous Quotes

"If music be the food of love, play on." - Duke Orsino (Act I, Scene I)

"I have them at my fingers' ends." - Maria (Act I, Scene III)
33. Pericles, Prince of Tyre (1608)
King Antiochus of Syria had an incestuous relationship with his own daughter and he tries to not let any of the suitors marry her. But Pericles, Prince of Tyre dares to solve the riddle to get the hand of the princess. When Pericles realizes that the answer to the riddle would reveal the relationship between the father and daughter, he runs away from Syria to Pentapolis. There he win the tournament in honor of princess Thaisa. Whereas King Antiochus and his daughter die in an accident.

Main Characters

Cerimon, Helicanus, Philmon, Thaliart, Escanes, Cleon, Lysimachus, Pericles, Antiochus, Simonides

Famous Quotes

"See where she comes apparelled like the spring." - Pericles (Act I, Scene I)

"Sit down: thou art no flatterer:
I thank thee for it; and heaven forbid,
That kings should let their ears hear their faults hid!" - Pericles (Act I, Scene II)
34. All's Well that Ends Well (1601-08)
The title comes from the proverb that means 'problems do not matter as long as the outcome is good'. It is a 'problem play', neither comedy nor tragedy. It's a play of husband and wife relationship. The play begins with Helena choosing Bertram as her life partner, but Bertram never feels love for her. So he leaves France with a note for Helena, that he will only accept her if she becomes successful in getting the family ring from his finger and gets pregnant through their relationship. At the end, Helena somehow succeeds in fulfilling both the conditions. Thereafter, Bertram accepts her and the couple becomes happy.

Main Characters

Parolles, Lavatch, Lafew, Violenta, Countess of Rousillon, Bertram, Duke of Florence, Helena, Diana, Mariana, King of France

Famous Quotes

"Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none." - Rossillion (Act 1, Scene 1)

"Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,
Which we ascribe to Heaven." - Helena, (Act 1, Scene 1)
35. Measure for Measure (1603)
'Measure for Measure' is based on the theme, "some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall", revolted with government, humiliation, truth, and justice.

Main Characters

Angelo, Abhorson, Barnardine, Escalus, Vincentio, Mistress Overdone, Varrius, Pompey, Francisca, Claudio, Lucio

Famous Quotes

"Good counsellors lack no clients." - Pompey (Act I, Scene II)

"The law hath not been dead, though it hath slept." - Angelo (Act II, Scene II)
36. The Tempest (1610-11)
The Tempest, Neoclassical play mingled with three unities of time, place, and manner.

Main Characters

Prospero, Caliban, Ariel, Miranda, Ferdinand, Gonzalo, Sycorax, Stephano, King Alonso, Trinculo, Antonio, Juno

Famous Quotes

"Hell is empty and all the devils are here." - Ariel (Act I, Scene II)

"He that dies pays all debts." - Stephano (Act III, Scene II)
Other Plays
37. Cymbeline (1609) - Debatable Play
It is one of the debatable plays whether it is a comedy or tragedy.

Main Characters

Imogen, Belarus, Cloten, Philario, Posthumus Leonatus, Arviragus, Guiderius, Queen, Cymbeline

Famous Quotes

"The game is up." - Belarius (Act III, Scene III)

"Lest the bargain should catch cold and starve." - Iachimo (Act I, Scene IV)
38. Sir Thomas More (1564-1616) - Collaborative Play
It is said that the play is written by five people. Anthony Munday and Henry Chettle were supposed to be the original writers, while Shakespeare had written only 'Hand D' section; rest of the two authors include Thomas Heywood and Thomas Dekker. The play is about Thomas More's life, his rise and fall, and how he was counted as a common man. Thomas More, Earl of Shrewsbury, Earl of Surrey, John Lincoln, Williamson, and George Betts are the main characters.
39. The Two Noble Kinsmen (1633-34) - Lost Play
The plot of the play is based on 'The Knight's Tale' (from the book of The Canterbury Tales) by Geoffrey Chaucer. Shakespeare wrote this play with John Fletcher, considered as a Jacobean tragicomedy. The main characters are Theseus, Arcite, Artesius, Emilia, Valerius, Hippolyta, Palamon, Gerrold, Pirithous, etc.
40. Cardenio - Lost Play
One of the lost plays, also referred as 'The History of Cardenio', again a collaborative play with John Fletcher. Though the story is unknown to the world due to its unavailability, it is said that the play was performed twice by King's Men in 1613.
41. Love's Labour's Won (1598) - Lost Play
Written in 1598, published in 1603. 'Love's Labour's Won' is a sequel to 'Love's Labour's Lost'.
Many of the critics called William Shakespeare as 'a crock' for stealing material from other sources. In reality, his literary creations became the unique work amalgam and they truly have a mesmerizing effect on people even today!