Table of ContentsPrevious PageNext Page

Bradley, A. C. Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth.
2nd ed. London: Macmillan, 1905.




     Before we come to-day to Hamlet, the first of our four tragedies, a few remarks must be made on their probable place in Shakespeare's literary career. But I shall say no more than seems necessary for our restricted purpose, and, therefore, for the most part shall merely be stating widely accepted results of investigation, without going into the evidence on which they rest.1

   1It may be convenient to some readers for the purposes of this book to have by them a list of Shakespeare's plays, arranged in periods. No such list, of course, can command general assent, but the following (which does not throughout represent my own views) would perhaps meet with as little objection from scholars as any other. For some purposes the Third and Fourth Periods are better considered to be one. Within each period the so-called Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies are respectively grouped together; and for this reason, as well as for others, the order within each period does not profess to be chronological (e.g. it is not implied that the Comedy of Errors preceded 1 Henry VI or Titus Andronicus). Where Shakespeare's authorship of any considerable part of a play is questioned, widely or by specially good authority, the name of the play is printed in italics.

   First Period (to 1595?). -- Comedy of Errors, Love's Labour's Lost, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Midsummer Night's Dream; 1 Henry VI., 2 Henry VI., 3 Henry VI., Richard III, Richard II; Titus Andronicus, Romeo and Juliet.

   Second Period (to 1602?). -- Merchant of Venice, All's Well (better in Third Period?), Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado, As You Like it, Merry Wives, Twelfth Night; King John, 1 Henry IV., 2 Henry IV., Henry V.; Julius Caesar, Hamlet.

   Third Period (to 1608?). -- Troilus and Cressida, Measure for Measure; Othello, King Lear, Timon of Athens, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus.

   Fourth Period. -- Pericles, Cymbeline, Winter's Tale, Tempest, Two Noble Kinsmen, Henry VIII.

Table of ContentsPrevious PageNext Page