861 voters

All Shakespeare Tragedies, Ranked

2.9k votes 861 voters 26.3k views14 items

This list includes all Shakespeare tragedies, ranked in order of popularity. William Shakespeare's brilliant plays have no equal, period. His contributions to literature and to plays, specifically, are enduring, powerful and timeless. Which of the Shakespearean tragedies is the best? That's a point that can certainly be argued, but this list might help to decide. Are these tragedies better than the Shakespeare comedies? It just depends on what you enjoy: everyone living, or everyone dying. Be sure to vote for the William Shakespeare tragedy plays you loved the most, and vote down any that you consider the weakest of the bunch.

All of the greatest William Shakespeare plays contain elements of high drama, though some are certainly more tragic than others. Of all the most memorable Shakespearean tragedies, few can surpass the misery and power of 'Hamlet.' As with all of the best Shakesperean tragedies, you just know that everyone is slowly, horribly, spinning towards their doom.

Shakespeare's greatest tragedies feature extremely complex characters struggling with the forces of good and evil -- both external, and within themselves. This is true with all of the Bard's greatest plays, but it is particularly so with the tragedies. Think Macbeth from 'Macbeth' and certainly Coriolanus (from the play of the same name, of course).

If you're a William Shakespeare nut who can't get enough, you should check out these lists of the greatest best William Shakespeare quotes, books and poems.Let's decide once and for all which William Shakespeare tragedy is the greatest of all time, with votes. And remember: "To thine own self be true."
  • 1


    Prince Hamlet, King Claudius

    Authors / CreatorsWilliam Shakespeare

    The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, often shortened to Hamlet, is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare at an uncertain date between 1599 and 1602. Set in the Kingdom of Denmark, the play...  more
  • 2


    Lady Macbeth, Macbeth

    Authors / CreatorsWilliam Shakespeare

    Macbeth is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare, and is considered one of his darkest and most powerful works. Set in Scotland, the play dramatizes the corrosive psychological and political...  more


    #10 of 331 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time#13 of 71 Required Reading That You Actually Ended Up Loving

  • 3

    King Lear

    Edmund, Goneril

    Authors / CreatorsWilliam Shakespeare

    King Lear is a tragedy by William Shakespeare in which the titular character descends into madness after disposing of his estate between two of his three daughters based on their flattery, bringing...  more
  • 4


    Iago, Othello

    Authors / CreatorsWilliam Shakespeare

    The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in approximately 1603, and based on the short story Un Capitano Moro by Cinthio, a...  more
  • 5

    Julius Caesar

    Julius Caesar, Marcus Junius Brutus

    Authors / CreatorsWilliam Shakespeare

    The Tragedy of Julius Caesar (First Folio title: The Tragedie of Iulius Cæsar) is a history play and tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1599. It is one of several plays...  more
  • 6

    Romeo and Juliet

    Tybalt, Juliet

    Authors / CreatorsWilliam Shakespeare

    Romeo and Juliet is a play by William Shakespeare....  more
  • 7

    Antony and Cleopatra

    Julius Caesar, Mark Antony

    Authors / CreatorsWilliam Shakespeare

    Antony and Cleopatra is a tragedy by William Shakespeare. The play was probably performed first in about 1607 at Blackfriars Theatre or the Globe Theatre by the King's Men. Its first known appearance...  more
  • 8

    Richard III

    King Richard III, Duke of Buckingham

    Authors / CreatorsWilliam Shakespeare

    Richard III is a historical play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in approximately 1592. It depicts the Machiavellian rise to power and subsequent short reign of Richard III of...  more
  • 9
    Troilus and Cressida is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1602. It was described by Frederick S. Boas as one of Shakespeare's problem plays. The play ends on a very...  more
  • 10

    Richard II

    Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York

    Authors / CreatorsWilliam Shakespeare

    King Richard the Second is a history play by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in approximately 1595. It is based on the life of King Richard II of England and is the first part of a...  more
  • 11

    Titus Andronicus

    Tamora, Titus Andronicus

    Authors / CreatorsWilliam Shakespeare

    Titus Andronicus is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1588 and 1593, probably in collaboration with George Peele. It is thought to be Shakespeare's first...  more
  • 12


    Caius Marcius Coriolanus, Menenius Agrippa

    Authors / CreatorsWilliam Shakespeare

    Coriolanus ( or ) is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1605 and 1608. The play is based on the life of the legendary Roman leader Caius Marcius Coriolanus. The...  more
  • 13
    Timon of Athens is a collaborative play by William Shakespeare and perhaps Thomas Middleton about the fortunes of an Athenian named Timon. The central character is a well beloved citizen of Athens...  more
  • 14


    Imogen, Guiderius

    Authors / CreatorsWilliam Shakespeare

    Cymbeline, also known as Cymbeline, King of Britain or The Tragedy of Cymbeline, is a play by William Shakespeare, set in Ancient Britain and based on legends that formed part of the Matter of...  more

    More Cymbeline 

    #297 of 1,236 The Best Novels Ever Written#106 of 315 300+ Great Books of the Western World