NewThe Works of Shakespeare Reading Order

Last Updated: December 1, 2017

The plays and epic poetry of William Shakespeare…

…arranged into the order of their internal chronology by the late, great Isaac Asimov.

The Greeks

Venus and Adonis
Poem published 1593, set in the era of myths.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Play first staged in 1595 or 1596, set in the era of the Greek heroes.
The Two Noble Kinsmen
Play first staged in 1613 or 1614, set in the era of the Greek heroes. Co-written with John Fletcher.
Troilus and Cressida
Play first staged in 1603, set in the era of the Greek heroes.
Timon of Athens
Play written in 1605-6, set in the era of Classical Greece. Co-written with Thomas Middleton.
The Winter’s Tale
Play written in 1610-11, set in the era of Classical Greece.
The Comedy of Errors
Play written in 1594, set in the era of Classical Greece.
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
Play written in 1607-8, set in the era of Classical Greece. Co-written with George Wilkins.

The Romans

The Rape of Lucrece
Poem published 1594, set in the Roman Kingdom.
Coriolanus
Play written in 1607-8, set in the Roman Kingdom.
Julius Caesar
Play written in 1599, set in the Roman Empire.
Antony and Cleopatra
Play written in 1606–07, set in the Roman Empire.
Titus Andronicus
Play first performed in 1594, set in the Roman Empire.

The English Plays

King Lear
Play written in 1605-6, set in pre-Norman Britain.
Cymebline
Play first performed in 1611, set in pre-Norman Britain.
ShakespeareHamlet
Play written in 1599-1602, set in pre-Norman Britain.
Macbeth
Play written in 1606, set in pre-Norman Britain.
King John
Play written in 1587-98, set in Middle Ages Britain.
Edward III
Play first printed in 1586, set in Middle Ages Britain. Co-written with Thomas Kyd.
Richard II
Play written in 1597, set in Middle Ages Britain.
King Henry IV, Part 1
Play first performed in 1597, set in Middle Ages Britain.
King Henry IV, Part 2
Play written in 1596-9, set in Middle Ages Britain.
The Merry Wives of Windsor
Play first performed in 1597, set in Middle Ages Britain.
Henry V
Play written in 1599, set in Middle Ages Britain.
King Henry VI, Part 1
Play first performed in 1592, set in Middle Ages Britain.
King Henry VI, Part 2
Play written in 1591-2, set in Middle Ages Britain.
King Henry IV, Part 3
Play written in 1591-2, set in Middle Ages Britain.
Richard III
Play written in 1591, set in Middle Ages Britain.
King Henry VIII
Play first performed in 1613, set in Middle Ages Britain.
Sir Thomas More
Play first performed by 1594, set during the reign of King Henry VIII. Co-written with Anthony Munday and Henry Chettle.

The Italians

Love’s Labour’s Lost
Play written in 1595-6, set in Renaissance Italy.
The Taming of the Shrew
Play written in 1592, set in Renaissance Italy.
The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Play written in 1590-1, set in Renaissance Italy.
Romeo and Juliet
Play written in 1591-5, set in Renaissance Italy.
The Merchant of Venice
Play written in 1596-7, set in Renaissance Italy.
Much Ado About Nothing
Play written in 1598-9, set in Renaissance Italy.
As You Like It
Play written in 1598-9, set in Renaissance Italy.
Twelfth Night
Play written in 1600-1, set in Renaissance Italy.
All’s Well That Ends Well
Play written in 1604-5, set in Renaissance Italy.
Othello
Play written in 1603-4, set in Renaissance Italy.
Measure for Measure
Play written in 1603-4, set in Renaissance Italy.
The Tempest
Play written in 1610-11, set in Renaissance Italy.
Double Falsehood
Play written in 1612-13, set in Renaissance Spain. Co-written by John Fletcher (as ‘Cardenio’), and reconstructed by Lewis Theobald in 1727.
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