William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, now widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s preeminent dramatist. He is often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon” (or simply “The Bard”). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
- The Merchant of Venice (1597)
- The Merchant of Venice is one of William Shakespeare's best-known plays, written sometime between 1596 and 1598. Although it is sometimes classified as a comedy and shares certain aspects with the other romantic comedies, it is perhaps more remembered for its dramatic scenes (particularly the trial scene) and is best known for its portrayal of the Jew Shylock, which has raised questions of anti-semitism.
- Romeo and Juliet (1597)
- Romeo and Juliet is an early tragedy by William Shakespeare about two teenage “star-cross’d lovers” whose “untimely deaths” ultimately unite their feuding households. The play has been highly praised by literary critics for its language and dramatic effect. It was among Shakespeare’s most popular plays during his lifetime and, along with Hamlet, is one of his most frequently performed plays. Romeo and Juliet are widely represented as archetypal young lovers.
- Hamlet (1605)
- Hamlet is a tragedy and revenge play by William Shakespeare. It is one of his best-known works, one of the most-quoted writings in the English language and is universally included on lists of the world’s greatest books.
- The Tragedy of MacBeth (1607)
- Macbeth is among the best known of William Shakespeare’s plays, as well as his shortest surviving tragedy. It is frequently performed at professional and community theatres around the world. The play, loosely based upon the historical account of King Macbeth of Scotland by Raphael Holinshed and the Scottish philosopher Hector Boece, is often seen as an archetypal tale of the dangers of the lust for power and betrayal of friends. It has frequently been adapted. In the theatrical world, many superstitions are associated with “Macbeth,” all connected with the belief that the play is somehow “cursed.” Many actors will not mention the name of the play aloud, referring to it as “the Scottish Play”.
- The Sonnets (1609)
- Shakespeare's sonnets is a collection of 154 poems in sonnet form written by William Shakespeare that deal with such themes as love, beauty, politics, and mortality.
- The Tragedy of Julius Caesar (1623)
- The Tragedy of Julius Caesar is a dramatized account of the betrayal of the the Roman Emperor.
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