The plays written by William Shakespeare have the reputation to be one of the greatest written works in the English language and in the Western literature.
The author’s plays are divided into three genres: tragedy, history and comedy. As well as this, they have been translated into different languages and performed all around the world.
The firsts Shakespeare's plays are related to history, due to the trend of the time. Among them, the most famous one were ‘Pericles’, ‘King John’ and ‘Henry VI’. Then, in the late 1580s, the author focused on comedies and he produced the famous plays: ‘A MidSummer’s night dream’ and ‘Merchant of Venice’. Instead, in the last portion of his writing career, he wrote tragedies such as ‘Hamlet’, ‘Othello’, ‘King Lear’ and ‘Macbeth’,
Traditionally, most the Shakespeare's plays appeared as a series of quartos; however, half of them remained unpublished until 1623, when the posthumous First Folio was published.
After the publication of the First Folio, the categorisation of Shakespeare's comedies has been labelled with the name romances.
William Shakespeare firstly appeared on a London Stage in 1592 and immediately his plays started to be criticized in newspapers. Therefore, after 1594, Shakespeare’s plays were only performed by a company known as the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, which was the London’s leading theatrical company. This group changed the name in King’s Men after the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603.
In 1599, Shakespeare built his first theatre on the River Thames, the Globe, where he worked until his retirement in 1620.
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