The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Author: William Shakespeare

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Hamlet is a story about how the ghost of a murdered king haunts the living with tragic consequences. A vengeful ghost and the murder of a brother dominate the bleak landscape of Hamlet’s Denmark.

The play begins with an encounter between young Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, and the ghost of his father. The ghost tells Hamlet that he was murdered by his brother Claudius, who then promptly married his widowed queen, Gertrude. The ghost presses Hamlet to take revenge on the man who stole his throne and his queen, and Hamlet promises to do so.

Hamlet is arguably Shakespeare’s greatest play, tragicomic, complex, and one of the best of its time. It is a psychologically gripping and morally ambivalent play that will haunt you long after its final scene ends.


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The Comedy of Errors

William Shakespeare

The Comedy of Errors is a typical twin comedy drama and very Shakespearean.

Two sets of twins are separated by an atrocious storm. Two of them end up in one place, the other two in another, and herein lies the premise of our plot. The pairs of twins meet in the same town, and the comedy begins when the wife and friends of one of the twins mistake the newly arrived brother for the first mentioned.

The same drama happens to their servant, whose twin is the servant of his master’s twin. It’s really not that complicated when you read the list of characters.

Titus Andronicus

William Shakespeare

Titus returns to Rome after long years of war. He has seen most of his sons die in the service of the Empire and only wants to retire. With him he brings the queen of the Goths and her children as prisoners.

It is not long before the Queen of the Goths seduces the new emperor, whose greedy ways have already caused problems for Titus and his family. Soon, Titus finds himself betrayed by the Empire he served so diligently, the Goths gradually driving him mad by killing, maiming or exiling the remnants of Titus’ family.

But the queen of the Goths is not having a good time either, as she finds herself pregnant by her malicious servant, Aaron, who has plans of his own. As she strives to avenge herself and her murdered son, she forgets that she still has two other sons she could lose.

Titus Andronicus must hand over the power of his empire to one of his sons after the war with the Goths. The new leadership is marked by extreme lust and eventual oppression of Titus’ people. Tamora, the former Goth queen, seduces the new ruler and works with her sons to drive Titus mad and ruin his family.

The Rape of Lucrece

William Shakespeare

The Rape of Lucrece is a narrative poem. In 509 BC, Lucrece was raped by Tarquin, the son of the king of Rome. Lucrece was the wife of a Roman aristocrat. She committed suicide and her body was paraded through the Roman Forum.

A revolt ensued and the royal family was banished. Thus began the beginnings of the Roman republic.

Shakespeare used this story as the basis for his poem.

The Winter's Tale

William Shakespeare

The Winter’s Tale is a play in five acts of the romantic comedy genre, written between 1610 and 1611 and performed in 1611. Its title alludes to the fantastic stories told around the fire.

It tells the story of Leontes, king of Sicily, who is married to Hermione, and both are visited by Polixenes, king of Bohemia and childhood friend of the former. Due to unfounded suspicions, Leontes believes that his wife and friend have betrayed him, and consumed by jealousy he orders Polixenes poisoned and Hermione imprisoned.

Upon being warned of the situation, Polixenes decides to flee, while Hermione gives birth to a baby girl while in prison. This play deals with the damage that jealousy can cause to families and friendships, as well as the redemption of past mistakes.

King John

William Shakespeare

This play by Shakespeare dramatizes the reign of John, King of England who ruled between the years 1199 and 1216. It is assumed to have been written in the mid-1590s and was published in 1623 in the First Folio.

King John, also known as The Life and Death of King John tells the story of this King going to war against the French, who demand that he relinquish the throne so that his nephew Arthur can take his place.

In the course of the 5-act plot, John has conflicts with the church, turns the nobles against him and is surrounded by various characters who come to influence him. Among these characters are his mother, Queen Eleanor and Philip the Bastard.