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In 1623, seven years after Shakespeare's death, two of Shakespeare's fellow actors, John Hemmings and Henry Condell, compiled together 36 of his plays together in a volume that would become known as the First Folio.  This large, handsomely bound volume was the culmination of two years work by the actors and various printers in compiling and laying out the material and was a format that was usually reserved for religious or medical publications.  Although, odd quartos (smaller cheaper printed books of which many of the period's plays were printed.) of Shakespeare's plays had appeared during his lifetime, this was first time the bulk of his works appeared in one place.  The Folio, named after the style of book, did not include his poems or sonnets and three other plays that are generally added to his cannon of works Pericles (a play in which the printers may not have had rights to at the time of printing), The Two Noble Kinsman (co-written with Shakespeare's colleague John Fletcher), and Edward III (a history play written in collaboration with other playwrights or a very early play written entirely by Shakespeare.  Another play, Sir Thomas More,  which Shakespeare contributed a scene to is also included on this site.

Above a picture of the title message and perhaps the most famous picture of Shakespeare, the Droeshout engraving from the opening pages of the First Folio.

Without the publication of the First Folio, nearly half of Shakespeare's plays (such as As You Like It and Macbeth) wouldn't have seen publication and may have been lost to history.  Two such lost plays that were connected to Shakespeare are Love's Labours Wonne (which maybe have become another known title) and Cardenio (a late career collaboration).  The published works were divided into the Comedies, Histories and Tragedies.  While the classification has mostly held, over the years other subcategories such as Romances and Problem Plays have evolved. The First Folio boasts at being the sole authoritative edition of Shakespeare's works, however, several modern editors such as Riverside and Arden, will use both the Folio and Quarto editions of the plays if available.  This usually results in both printed and on-line versions of the plays appearing slightly different.  The plays appearing on this website follow a modernized spelling as based on the Folio copies.  To view Text, Scene by Scene Synopsis, Character Directories, or Commentary on any of the Plays, click on their link in the table below or click on the genre tags on the left hand bar.  Each genre page also contains extended commentary on how each play deals with its respective area.

    Below, is a possible chronological listing of Shakespeare's plays.  Debates rage between scholars as to when certain plays were written so this is just one of several possible listings. 

All's Well the Ends Well 1603 Othello 1603-1604
Antony & Cleopatra 1606 Macbeth 1606
As You Like It 1599 A Mid Summer Night's Dream  1595
Cardenio 1612 Measure for Measure  1604
Comedy of Errors 1589-1590 Merchant of Venice 1596
Coriolanus 1607 The Merry Wives of Windsor 1597
Cymbeline 1609 Much Ado About Nothing  1598
Edward III 1590-1591 Pericles 1608
Hamlet 1600 Richard II  1595
Henry IV, Part 1  1597 Richard III  1592
Henry IV, Part 2  1597-1598 Romeo & Juliet  1595
Henry V 1599 Sir Thomas More 1603
Henry VI, Part 1 1592 Taming of the Shrew 1593
Henry VI, Part 2 1591 The Tempest 1611
Henry VI, Part 3 1591-1592 Timon of Athens 1607
Henry VIII  1613 Titus Andronicus  1589-1590
Julius Caesar   1599 Troilus & Cressida  1602
King John  1596 Twelfth Night 1601
King Lear 1605 Two Gentlemen of Verona 1590
Loves Labours Lost 1594 The Two Noble Kinsman  1613
Love's Labours Wonne 1594 The Winter's Tale 1610


To view Plays sections by genre:

Comedies    Histories    Romances    Tragedies


To view other Shakespeare Library sections:

Biography     Plays     Poems     Sonnets     Theaters     Shake Links 

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