10 Best Shakespeare Books | TheReviewGeek Recommends

You’ve probably read at least one book by the famous William Shakespeare in your lifetime. The Bard of Avon left behind an incredible legacy, penning over 30 plays and more than 150 sonnets. His stories and characters have permeated pop culture and shaped literature itself. While Shakespeare’s works are timeless, they can also feel a little intimidating. Where do you even start with so many options?

Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a list of 10 Shakespeare book you absolutely can’t live without. From tragedies to comedies, histories to sonnets, this list spans the gamut of Shakespeare’s genius. These are the stories that will make you laugh, cry, and question what it means to be human. So grab some coffee, get comfortable, and dive into some of the greatest tales ever told. Whether you’re a Shakespeare novice or have the sonnets memorized, these 10 books will remind you why Shakespeare’s stories have stood the test of time.

Best Books by William Shakespeare
Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet is arguably Shakespeare’s most famous love story. This tragic tale of star-crossed lovers caught between two feuding families in Verona has resonated with audiences for centuries.

When Romeo, a Montague, falls for Juliet, a Capulet at a party, he’s instantly smitten. Juliet soon returns his affection, and they secretly marry with the help of Friar Laurence. However, their forbidden romance sparks violence between the Montagues and the Capulets. What follows is a very intense testament of love.

Best Books by William Shakespeare

The tragedy of Hamlet, the melancholy Dane, is one of Shakespeare’s most well-known and frequently performed plays. If you only read one Shakespeare play, make it this one.

You’ll follow Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, as he seeks to avenge his father’s murder. His uncle Claudius has not only taken the throne by marrying Hamlet’s mother Gertrude, but he was also the one who poured poison in Hamlet’s father’s ear while he slept.

Best Books by William Shakespeare
King Lear

King Lear is one of Shakespeare’s most renowned and frequently performed tragedies. This gripping play follows the aging King Lear who decides to divide his kingdom among his three daughters. He asks each daughter to declare her love for him, promising the largest share of the kingdom to the one who loves him most.

Goneril and Regan, Lear’s older daughters, give deceitful speeches professing their deep love for their father. Cordelia, the youngest daughter, refuses to flatter her father with empty words and says she loves him due to her duty as a daughter. Angry at what he perceives as a lack of love from Cordelia, Lear banishes her. King Lear’s decision entails a string of tragic events.

Best Books by William Shakespeare

One of Shakespeare’s darkest and most intense tragedies, Macbeth tells the story of a Scottish general who receives a prophecy that he will become King of Scotland. Macbeth is driven by his wife, Lady Macbeth, and his own ambition to kill the king in order to fulfil the prophecy.

This chilling play is a fascinating study of political ambition, manipulation and the descent into madness. You’ll be drawn into a world filled with witches, apparitions and bloody deeds as Macbeth’s hunger for power leads him down a path of no return.

Best Books by William Shakespeare
A Midsummer Night’s Dream

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies. This whimsical play follows the misadventures of two pairs of lovers, a group of bumbling actors, and the fairies who inhabit the forest – all of whom become entangled in the woods outside Athens on a midsummer night.

The story primarily revolves around Hermia and Lysander, two lovers forbidden to marry by Hermia’s father, who wants her to wed another suitor, Demetrius. Lysander and Hermia plan to elope into the forest, but Demetrius follows them. Meanwhile, the fairy king Oberon and his wife Titania are arguing over an orphan boy. Oberon sends his mischievous servant Puck to obtain a flower whose juice, when squeezed into someone’s eyes, will make them fall in love with the first creature they see upon waking.

Best Books by William Shakespeare
Henry V.

Henry V is one of Shakespeare’s most celebrated historical plays. Set during the Hundred Years’ War between England and France, it follows King Henry V as he invades France and defeats the French at Agincourt.

Henry V contains some of Shakespeare’s most famous speeches, including the rousing “Once more unto the breach, dear friends” rallying cry. The play also explores Henry’s journey to mature leadership. At first brash and war-hungry, Henry grapples with the moral complexities of war and what it means to be a good king.

Best Books by William Shakespeare
The Tempest

The Tempest is one of Shakespeare’s most magical plays. Set on an enchanted island, it features spirits, monsters, and sorcery. Prospero, the exiled Duke of Milan, lives on the island with his daughter Miranda. Using his magic, Prospero conjures a storm to shipwreck his brother and other passengers on the island so he can exact his revenge.

However, Miranda falls in love with Ferdinand, the son of one of the shipwrecked nobles. Prospero must choose between vengeance and forgiveness. Will he relinquish his magic to reconcile with those who betrayed him?

Best Books by William Shakespeare
The Sonnets

The Sonnets are some of Shakespeare’s most famous love poems. Numbering 154 in total, they explore themes of love, beauty, mortality, and the passage of time.

Written mostly in the 1590s, the Sonnets are intensely personal and address a mysterious “fair youth,” as well as a “dark lady.” Scholars have debated the identities of these subjects for centuries. Were they based on real people in Shakespeare’s life or were they fictional? We may never know for sure.

Best Books by William Shakespeare
Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeare’s most delightful comedies. Set in Messina, Italy, the play revolves around two pairs of lovers: Hero and Claudio, and Beatrice and Benedick. While Claudio and Hero fall in love at first sight, Beatrice and Benedick engage in a “merry war” of witty insults and scorn each other.

In a scheme to unite Beatrice and Benedick, their friends tell each of them that the other is secretly in love with them. Beatrice and Benedick then proclaim their love for each other, though still continuing to insult each other in their usual spirited and witty fashion.

Meanwhile, the villainous Don John plots to ruin the wedding of Claudio and Hero by falsely accusing Hero of infidelity. The crisis is eventually resolved, the true lovers are married, and the “merry war” between Beatrice and Benedick gives way to a merry wedding.

Best Books by William Shakespeare
The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice is one of Shakespeare’s most controversial yet thought-provoking plays. This dark comedy centres around the greedy Jewish moneylender Shylock, who loans money to the merchant Antonio. When Antonio can’t repay the loan, the sinister Shylock demands a pound of his flesh as payment.

Portia, a wealthy heiress, uses her wit and wisdom to save Antonio in a dramatic courtroom scene. Disguised as a lawyer, she outsmarts Shylock with a technicality in the contract. Though Shylock is defeated, the play raises complex questions about religious intolerance, justice, and mercy.

There we have it, our list of 10 best books by William Shakespeare. Which one are you going to be reading? Let us know in the comments below:


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