• Antony and Cleopatra (1607-1608)
    The story of Mark Antony, Roman military leader and triumvir, who is madly in love with Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt.
    Earliest known text: First Folio (1623).

  • Coriolanus (1607-1608)
    The last of Shakespeare's great political tragedies, chronicling the life of the mighty warrior Caius Marcius Coriolanus.
    Earliest known text: First Folio (1623).

  • Hamlet (1600-1601)
    Since its first recorded production, Hamlet has engrossed playgoers, thrilled readers, and challenged actors more so than any other play in the Western canon. No other single work of fiction has produced more commonly used expressions.
    Earliest known text: Quarto (1603).

  • Julius Caesar (1599-1600)
    Although there were earlier Elizabethan plays on the subject of Julius Caesar and his turbulent rule, Shakespeare's penetrating study of political life in ancient Rome is the only version to recount the demise of Brutus and the other conspirators.
    Earliest known text: First Folio (1623).

  • King Lear (1605-1606)
    The story of King Lear, an aging monarch who decides to divide his kingdom amongst his three daughters, according to which one recites the best declaration of love.
    Earliest known text: Quarto (1608).

  • Macbeth (1605-1606)
    Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's most stimulating and popular dramas. Renaissance records of Shakespeare's plays in performance are scarce, but a detailed account of an original production of Macbeth has survived, thanks to Dr. Simon Forman.
    Earliest known text: First Folio (1623).

  • Othello (1604-1605)
    Othello, a valiant Moorish general in the service of Venice, falls prey to the devious schemes of his false friend, Iago.
    Earliest known text: Quarto (1622).

  • Romeo and Juliet (1594-1595)
    Celebrated for the radiance of its lyric poetry, Romeo and Juliet was tremendously popular from its first performance. The sweet whispers shared by young Tudor lovers throughout the realm were often referred to as "naught but pure Romeo and Juliet."
    Earliest known text: Quarto (1597).

  • Timon of Athens (1607-1608)
    Written late in Shakespeare's career, Timon of Athens is criticized as an underdeveloped tragedy, likely co-written by George Wilkins or Cyril Tourneur. Read the play and see
    if you agree.
    Earliest known text: First Folio (1623).

  • Titus Andronicus (1593-1594)
    A sordid tale of revenge and political turmoil, overflowing with bloodshed and unthinkable brutality. The play was not printed with Shakespeare credited as author during his lifetime, and critics are divided between whether it is the product of another dramatist or simply Shakespeare's first attempt at the genre.
    Earliest known text: Quarto (1594).