Shakespeare Plays

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William Shakespeare wrote 17 comedies, 10 tragedies, and 10 historical plays, The length of Shakespeare's plays range from 1785 lines for The Comedy of Errors to 4030 lines for Hamlet.[1] Generally 1000 lines corresponds to about 1 hour of performance time. There is a total of 884,421 words in the 43 works authored by Shakespeare, including his poems (30,909 words) and sonnets (17,515 words).[2]

Among Shakespeare's plays, Hamlet has the most words (30,557), while A Midsummer Night's Dream has only 16,511 words.

The Comedies

Shakepeare's Comedies bear complex, language-driven plots often involving cases of mistaken identity, family tensions, and word-games.

The Tragedies

The Tragedies include some of his most famous works: Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet, and are centered around the actions of a protagonist in which the audience observes this character's rise and fall to a tragic end.


With the exception of Pericles the historical plays were set during the period of the Hundred Years War, with the Wars of the Roses in particular. In these works Shakespeare was more interested in social-political commentary than he was about being historically accurate.