Below is a list of plays known or thought to have been
written by Shakespeare. I have listed them next to the
years in which I think they were played for the first time. The
order and dates are not to be taken as fact, because nobody
knows when many of the plays were first performed. I have
based my order on several authorities, but where their
opinions differ I have chosen the date that seems most
plausible to me.
A few plays may
not belong in the list at all, but many scholars believe
that Shakespeare had a substantial hand in their writing
even if he did not write them alone.
In case you don't know, Shakespeare's plays were published
in two forms known as quarto and Folio. A quarto
edition was a booklet containing the text of a single play
often published to cash in on a successful stage performance.
Copies of many of these have survived.
After Shakespeare's death in 1616
his fellow players John Heminges and Henry Condell gathered
the texts of his plays, eighteen already published in quarto
editions, and eighteen more previously unpublished, in a
single volume known as the First Folio. It was
published in 1623. Of the plays now universally accepted as
wasn't in that Folio edition.
There are three extra titles in the list over which there is controversy.
They are Two Noble Kinsmen,
Edward III and
Two Noble Kinsmen was probably
co-written with John Fletcher who took over as the King's
Men's chief playwright when Shakespeare retired. This
is generally accepted as a Shakespeare work nowadays.
was officially accepted as partly or wholly
by Shakespeare in the late 1990's.
Heminges and Condell didn't include the play in the First Folio,
even though two previous quarto editions had already been
published in 1595 and 1599. Neither quarto mentioned the
author (or authors) nor the actors company that had
performed the play ‘about the city of London’.
I saw the Royal Shakespeare
Company production in 2003 and thought that the sub-plot in the
middle section of the play, in which Edward tries to force his
attentions on the beautiful Countess, didn't seem to fit with
the war tale around it. Roger Warren in the text of the play
published by the RSC disagrees,
citing the importance of honouring one's oaths to both parts
of the play. You read it, or better still see a production,
and judge for yourself.
is thought to be
a play by Shakespeare and Fletcher performed by
the King's Men. A play recorded in the King's Treasurer's accounts as
was performed at Court by Shakespeare's company in 1613.
Unfortunately we do not have a text,
as Heminges and Condell didn't include it in the First Folio (perhaps
they didn't have a text!) and there is no known quarto edition
from Shakespeare's time. In 1727 a play called
Double Falsehood was
performed at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London. It was said to have
been 'Written Originally by W.SHAKESPEARE' and further adapted by Lewis Theobald.
The plot is a version of a section of Cervantes'
Don Quixote as translated
into English by Thomas Shelton in 1612. We don't know how Theobald obtained
the original called
The History of Cardenio,
and we also don't know what parts
are his work and what Shakespeare's (if any!).
You may read the text of
and extensive notes and analysis of its history in an Arden Shakespeare
edition published in 2010 in the
In 2011 Gregory Doran Chief Associate Director of the
Royal Shakespeare Company 're-imagined'
Cardenio by re-adapting
and adding scenes he felt were missing by dramatizing
scenes from the 1612 Thomas Shelton translation. The production opened
the refurbished Swan Theatre at Stratford in 2011 and I very much
enjoyed it. You can buy the text of the play from