• All's Well That Ends Well (1602-1603)
    In 1767, a scholar named Richard Farmer concluded that this play is really the revision of Shakespeare's missing Love's Labour's Won, which was likely written around 1592. It is considered a problem play, due primarily to the character Helena and her ambiguous nature. Is she a virtuous lady or a crafty temptress?
    Earliest known text: First Folio (1623).

  • As You Like It (1599-1600)
    As You Like It is considered by many to be one of Shakespeare's greatest comedies, and the heroine, Rosalind, is praised as one of his most inspiring characters.
    Earliest known text: First Folio (1623).

  • The Comedy of Errors (1592-1593)
    This is Shakespeare's shortest play, which he based on Menaechmi by Plautus.
    Earliest known text: First Folio (1623).

  • Cymbeline (1609-1610)
    This play, modeled after Boccaccio's Decameron, is often classified as a romance. It features the beautiful Imogen, considered by many to be Shakespeare's most admirable female character.
    Earliest known text: First Folio (1623).

  • Love's Labour's Lost (1594-1595)
    Love's Labour's Lost is a play of witty banter and little plot, written during the early part of Shakespeare's literary career, when his focus was on fancy conceits and the playful nature of love.
    Earliest known text: Quarto (1598).

  • Measure for Measure (1604-1605)
    Considered a "dark" comedy, Measure for Measure was inspired by Cinthio's Epitia and Whetstone's Promos and Cassandra.
    Earliest known text: First Folio (1623).

  • The Merchant of Venice 1596-1597)
    The character of Shylock has raised a debate over whether the play should be condemned as anti-Semitic, and this controversy has overshadowed many other aspects of the play.
    Earliest known text: Quarto (1600).

  • The Merry Wives of Windsor (1600-1601)
    The Merry Wives is unique amongst Shakespeare's plays because it is set in Shakespeare's England. It features the Bard's beloved character, Falstaff.
    Earliest known text: Quarto (1602).

  • A Midsummer Night's Dream (1595-1596)
    A magical exploration of the mysteries of love, and one of Shakespeare's best-known comedies.
    Earliest known text: Quarto (1600).

  • Much Ado About Nothing (1598-1599)
    The story of two very different sets of lovers, Beatrice and Benedick and Claudio and Hero. The witty banter between Beatrice and Benedick is the highlight of the play.
    Earliest known text: Quarto (1600).

  • Pericles, Prince of Tyre (1608-1609)
    Portions of Pericles are ripe with imagery and symbolism but the first three acts and scenes v and vi (the notorious brothel scenes) of Act IV are considered inadequate and likely the work of two other dramatists. The play was not included in the First Folio of 1623. In Shakespeare's sources, Pericles is named Apollonius.
    Earliest known text: Quarto (1609).

  • The Taming of the Shrew (1593-1594)
    The Taming of the Shrew revolves around the troubled relationship between Katharina and her suitor, Petruchio, who is determined to mold Katharina into a suitable wife.
    Earliest known text: First Folio (1623).

  • The Tempest (1611-1612)
    Hailed as a stunning climax to the career of England’s favorite dramatist, The Tempest is a play praising the glories of reconciliation and forgiveness. Some believe that Prospero’s final speeches signify Shakespeare’s personal adieu from the stage.
    Earliest known text: First Folio (1623).

  • Troilus and Cressida 1601-1602)
    Troilus and Cressida is difficult to categorize because it lacks elements vital to both comedies and tragedies. But, for now, it is classified as a comedy.
    Earliest known text: Quarto (1609).

  • Twelfth Night 1599-1600)
    Shakespeare loved to use the device of mistaken identity, and nowhere does he use this convention more skillfully than in Twelfth Night.
    Earliest known text: First Folio (1623).

  • The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1594-1595)
    The tale of two friends who travel to Milan and learn about the chaotic world of courting.
    Earliest known text: First Folio (1623).

  • The Winter's Tale 1610-1611)
    The Winter's Tale is considered a romantic comedy, but tragic elements are woven throughout the play. We have a first-hand account of a production of the play at the Globe in 1611. It is one of Shakespeare's final plays.
    Earliest known text: First Folio (1623).