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Shakespeare is credited as being one of the most influential playwrights that the world has ever known. Unfortunately, some people are skeptical as to whether or not Shakespeare wrote his own material. Some say that he copied ideas from Christopher Marlowe, an earlier playwright who was considerably less popular than his Elizabethan counterpart. Others say he had writers do all the work for him. We have no evidence of either accusation, but in any case we can clearly see that Shakespeare had a way with words. His rich imagery and distinct ability to intertwine plots make his works acclaimed all over the world.

Shakespeare's first published piece was a narrative poem titled Venus and Adonis. Here is a list of Shakespeare's other literary works in chronological order:

Year
Title of Literary Work(s)

1590-1592

Henry VI - 3 parts

1592-1594

Richard III; The Comedy of Errors; Titus Andronicus; The Taming of the Shrew

1594-1596

Love's Labour Lost; Two Gentlemen of Verona; Romeo and Juliet; Richard II; A Midsummer Night's Dream

1596-1598

King John; The Merchant of Venice; Henry VI - parts 1 and 2

1598-1600

Much Ado About Nothing; Henry V; Julius Caesar; As You Like It; Twelfth Night

1600-1602

Hamlet; The Merry Wives of Windsor; Troilus and Cressida

1602-1604

All's Well That Ends Well

1604-1606

Measure for Measure; Othello; King Lear; Macbeth

1606-1608

Anthony and Cleopatra; Coriolanus; Timon of Athens

1608-1610

Pericles; Cymbeline

1610-1612

The Winter's Tale; The Tempest

1612-1613

Henry VIII

Shakespeare's plays are usually organized into these three categories:

COMEDIES
  • Comedy of Errors
  • Two Gentlemen of Verona
  • Love's Labour's Lost
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • Merchant of Venice
  • Taming of the Shrew
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • As You Like It
  • Merry Wives of Windsor
  • Twelfth Night
  • Troilus and Cressida
  • All's Well That Ends Well
  • Measure For Measure
  • Pericles
  • Cymbeline
  • The Winter's Tale
  • The Tempest
    • TRAGEDIES
    • Coriolanus
    • Titus Andronicus
    • Romeo and Juliet
    • Timon of Athens
    • Julius Caesar
    • Macbeth
    • Hamlet
    • King Lear
    • Othello
    • Anthony and Cleopatra

    • HISTORIES
    • Henry VI - parts 1,2 and 3
    • Richard III
    • King John
    • Richard II
    • Henry IV - parts 1 and 2
    • Henry V
    • Henry VIII

    (Source for both charts: Levi Fox, The Shakespeare Book)