Tragedy, Comedy, History?

A List of Shakespeare’s Plays by Tragedy, Comedy and History

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare by Tragedy, Comedy and History
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare by Tragedy, Comedy and History. Photo © Last Resort / Getty Images

It is not easy to categorically say whether a Shakespeare play is a tragedy, comedy or history because the Shakespeare blurred the boundaries between these genres. For example, Much Ado About Nothing begins like a comedy but soon descends into tragedy – leading some critics to describe the play as a tragi-comedy.

This list identifies which plays are generally associated with which genre, but the classification of some plays is open to interpretation.

Shakespeare’s Tragedies

The 10 plays generally classified as tragedy are as follows:

  1. Antony and Cleopatra
  2. Coriolanus
  3. Hamlet
  4. Julius Caesar
  5. King Lear
  6. Macbeth
  7. Othello
  8. Romeo and Juliet
  9. Timon of Athens
  10. Titus Andronicus

Shakespeare’s Comedies

The 18 plays generally classified as comedy are as follows:

  1. All's Well That Ends Well
  2. As You Like It
  3. The Comedy of Errors
  4. Cymbeline
  5. Love's Labour’s Lost
  6. Measure for Measure
  7. The Merry Wives of Windsor
  8. The Merchant of Venice
  9. A Midsummer Night's Dream
  10. Much Ado About Nothing
  11. Pericles, Prince of Tyre
  12. The Taming of the Shrew
  13. The Tempest
  14. Troilus and Cressida
  15. Twelfth Night
  16. Two Gentlemen of Verona
  17. The Two Noble Kinsmen
  18. The Winter's Tale

Shakespeare’s Histories

The 10 plays generally classified as history are as follows:

  1. Henry IV, Part I
  2. Henry IV, Part II
  3. Henry V
  4. Henry VI, Part I
  5. Henry VI, Part II
  6. Henry VI, Part III
  7. Henry VIII
  8. King John
  9. Richard II
  10. Richard III
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Jamieson, Lee. "Tragedy, Comedy, History?" ThoughtCo, Sep. 27, 2016, Jamieson, Lee. (2016, September 27). Tragedy, Comedy, History? Retrieved from Jamieson, Lee. "Tragedy, Comedy, History?" ThoughtCo. (accessed May 22, 2018).