Mapping the world's opinions

convo top image

Which are best: Shakespeare's comedies, tragedies or histories?

Shakespeare's plays are the most famous in the western canon, and are regularly performed both by theatre companies and amateurs. His plays are typically split into three genres: comedies, histories, and tragedies. For many modern audiences, the comedies are the most enduring and enjoyable, but tragedies are widely studied academically, and Hamlet, generally seen as Shakespeare's greatest work, is a tragedy. Histories, dealing often with the lives of kings, are less popular with the public but provide a hugely important historical and historiographical resource, and can often contain both tragic and comedic elements. So, which are the best?

The comedies are the best

The comedies promote female emancipation

They have proved entertaining for audiences for generations

They are the most diverse and complex group of Shakespeare's plays

The tragedies are the best

Hamlet, Shakespeare's greatest work, is a tragedy

Shakespeare's understanding of tragedy's structures has changed the way we think of tragic theatre

Shakespeare expanded the scope of what we consider tragic events

The histories are the best

They serve as important examples of English national myth-making

They provide a hugely important resource for historical research

This page was last edited on Sunday, 26 Jul 2020 at 16:06 UTC