Shakespeare wrote at least 38 plays and over 150 short and long poems, many of which are considered to be the finest ever written in English. His works have been translated into every major living language, and some others besides (the Folger collection include translations in Esperanto and Klingon), and more than 400 years after his death, they continue to be performed around the world.
Find your favorite Shakespeare play
Romeo and Juliet
In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare creates a violent world, in which two young people fall in love. It is not simply that their families disapprove; the Montagues and the Capulets are engaged in a blood feud. In this death-filled setting, the…
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare stages the workings of love. Theseus and Hippolyta, about to marry, are figures from mythology. In the woods outside Theseus’s Athens, two young men and two young women sort themselves out into couples—but not…
In 1603, James VI of Scotland ascended the English throne, becoming James I of England. London was alive with an interest in all things Scottish, and Shakespeare turned to Scottish history for material. He found a spectacle of violence and stories of traitors…
Learn about William Shakespeare
Shakespeare’s life, his theater, and the publication of his plays and poems
Shakespeare opens a window into topics ranging from the American West, to the real history of Elizabethan street fighting, to interviews with Shakespearean stars. Join us every two weeks for a new “no limits” tour of the connections between Shakespeare, his works, and our world.
The Folger Shakespeare Library has the world’s largest collection of materials relating to Shakespeare and his works. This Shakespeare collection encompasses more than 400 years, from the 16th century when he was born, up to the present day. Beyond Shakespeare, the Folger has a world-renowned collection of books, manuscripts, and prints from Renaissance Europe.
Henry Fuseli's Macbeth painting
This 1793 painting, known as Macbeth Consulting the Vision of the Armed Head, depicts Macbeth’s second encounter with the witches.
Original art for the Hanmer edition of Shakespeare's works
These matched images from Measure for Measure are from a unique copy of the Hanmer edition held at the Folger, in which the original watercolor drawings have been inserted near the corresponding engravings.
Roubiliac’s sculpture of Shakespeare
This 1757 terra-cotta sculpture by Louis François Roubiliac depicts Shakespeare in a pose of creative inspiration.
A binding with Shakespeare miniatures
Each of the painted miniatures on this 1928 Cosway binding represents a famous image, or supposed image, of Shakespeare.
The Final Concord
This 1602 legal document confirmed Shakespeare’s title to the second-largest house in Stratford-upon-Avon, known as New Place.
Visscher’s View of London
The Globe theater is visible in this engraving by Claes Visscher, first issued in 1616.
Have fun with Shakespeare
Our word game Prattle is based on the popular Wordle, but with a Shakespearean twist! All words in this game are ones that Shakespeare used in his plays, poems, and sonnets, as they appear in The Folger Shakespeare online.