Shakespeare's Plays

Shakespeare's Plays(arranged by approximate date of composition)
PlayApproximate date of compositionDate of first publicationSourcesMajor charactersGenre
Henry VI, Part II15901594 Edward Hall, Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Families of Lancaster and York (1548) Raphael Holinshed, Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1587) King Henry VI Queen Margaret Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York History
Henry VI, Part III15901595 Hall Holinshed King Henry VI Queen Margaret Edward, Prince of Wales Richard, Duke of Gloucester Richard Nevil, Earl of Warwick History
Henry VI, Part I15901623 Hall Holinshed King Henry VI Lord Talbot Joan of Arc Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York History
Richard III15921597 Hall Holinshed Sir Thomas More, History of Richard III King Richard III Queen Elizabeth Duke of Buckingham Lady Anne George, Duke of Clarence History
The Comedy of Errors15921623 Plautus, Menaechmi and Amphituo Antipholus of Syracuse Antipholus of Ephesus Dromio of Syracuse Dromio of Ephesus Comedy
Titus Andronicus
(may have been written in collaboration with George Peele)
15931594History of Titus Andronicus (chapbook) John Gower, Appolonius of Tyre Titus of Andronicus Tamora Aaron the Moor Tragedy
The Taming of the Shrew15931623 George Gascoigne, Supposes (1566) Earlier play The Taming of a Shaw Petruchio Katherine Comedy
The Two Gentlemen of Verona15941623 Jorge de Montemayor, Diana (1559?)Valentine Proteus Julius Silvia Comedy
Love's Labour's Lost15941598 Specific source not established King of Navarre Princess of France Holofernes Don Adriano de Armado Comedy
Romeo and Juliet15941597 Arthur Brooke, The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet (1562) Matteo Bandello, Novelle (tr. by William Painter in Palace of Pleasure, 1566–67) Romeo Juliet Mercutio Tybalt Friar Laurence Nurse Tragedy
Richard II15951597 Holinshed, Chronicles (1587) King Richard II Henry Bolingbroke Edmund of Langley, Duke of York History
A Midsummer Night's Dream15951600 Specific source not established Hermia Lysander Theseus Helena Demetrius Oberon Titania Puck Bottom Comedy
King John15961623 Anon. play, The Troublesome Raigne of King John (1591) King John Philip the Bastard Arthur, Duke of Britain Constance History
The Merchant of Venice15961600 Giovanni Fiorentino, Il Pecarone (1558) Bassanio Shylock Antonio Portia Comedy
Henry IV, Part I15971598 Holinshed, Chronicles (1587) King Henry IV Falstaff Henry, Prince of Wales ( Prince Hal) Henry Percy (Hotspur) History
Henry IV, Part II15971600 Holinshed King Henry IV Falstaff Henry, Prince of Wales History
Much Ado about Nothing15981600 Ariosto, Orlando Furioso (1516) Prince of Arragon Beatrice Benedick Claudio Hero Comedy
Henry V15981600 Holinshed, Chronicles (1587) King Henry V Archbishop of Canterbury Fluellen Pistol History
Julius Caesar15991623 Plutarch, Lives (tr. by Sir Thomas North, 1579) Brutus Cassius Marc Antony Caesar Tragedy
As You Like It15991623 Thomas Lodge, Rosalynde (1590) Rosalind Orlando Touchstone Comedy
Twelfth Night15991623 Barnabe Riche, Riche his Farewell to Militarie Profession (1581) Sir Toby BelchViola Sebastian Duke Orsino Olivia Comedy
Hamlet16001603 François de Belleforest, Histoires Tragiques (1576) Hamlet Horatio Ophelia Laertes Claudius Polonius Gertrude Tragedy
The Merry Wives of Windsor16001602 Specific source not established Falstaff Mrs. Page Mr. Ford Comedy
Troilus and Cressida16011609 Geoffrey Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde (c.1386) William Caxton, Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye (1474) Troilus Ulysses Pandarus Cressida Comedy
All's Well That Ends Well16021623 William Painter, Palace of Pleasure (1566–67) Bertram Helena Parolles King of France Comedy
Measure for Measure16041623 George Whetstone, Promos and Cassandra (1578)Vincentio AngeloIsabella Claudio Mariana Comedy
Othello16041622 Giovanni Battista Giraldi (Cinthio), Ecatommiti (1565) Othello DesdemonaIago Cassio Tragedy
King Lear16051608 Holinshed, Chronicles (1587) Anon., The True Chronicle History of King Leir (before 1594) King Lear Cordelia Earl of Gloucester Edgar Earl of Kent Edmund Goneril Regan Duke of Albany Lear's Fool Tragedy
Macbeth16051623 Holinshed Duncan Macbeth Lady Macbeth Malcolm Macduff Tragedy
Antony and Cleopatra16061623 Plutarch, Lives (tr. 1579) Mark Antony Cleopatra Octavius Caesar Tragedy
Coriolanus16071623 Plutarch Coriolanus Tullus Aufidius Caius Marcius Menenius AgrippaVolumnia Tragedy
Timon of Athens
(may have been written in collaboration with Thomas Middleton)
16071623 Plutarch Lucian, Misanthropos (2d cent. A D) Timon of Athens Apemantus Alcibiades Flavius Tragedy
Pericles
(may have been written in collaboration with George Wilkins)
16081609 John Gower, Confessio Amantis (c.1390) Pericles Thaisa Marina Simonides Lysimachus Tragicomedy
Cymbeline16091623 Holinshed, Chronicles (1587) Giovanni Boccaccio, Decameron (1348–53) CymbelineImogen PosthumusIachimo Tragicomedy
The Winter's Tale16101623 Robert Greene, Pandosto (1588) Leontes Hermione Paulina Autolycus Perdita Florizel Polixenes Tragicomedy
The Tempest16111623 Specific source not established Prospero Miranda Ferdinand Ariel Caliban Tragicomedy
Henry VIII
(probably written in collaboration with John Fletcher)
16121623 Holinshed, Chronicles (1587) John Foxe, Book of Martyrs (1563) King Henry VIII Queen Katherine Cardinal Wolsey Duke of Buckingham Anne Boleyn History
Two Noble Kinsmen
(of doubtful authorship may have been written in collaboration with John Fletcher)
16121634 Geoffrey Chaucer, The Knight's Tale in Canterbury Tales (c.1387) Palamon Arcite Comedy

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.