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What are Shakespeare's four tragedies and four comedies?

Learn about Shakespeare's four famous tragedies and four comedies, including Hamlet, Macbeth, Twelfth Night, and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

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Shakespeare's four tragedies include Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth. It is the most famous four of his tragedies. The stories are all taken from European historical legends. Since the nineteenth century, "Hamlet", "Othello", "King Lear" and "Macbeth" have been recognized as Shakespeare's four tragedies.

William Shakespeare is the most outstanding dramatist in the history of English literature and one of the most important and greatest writers of the European Renaissance. 

Do you know what are the representative works of Shakespeare? What are his main tragedies? 

This article sorts out Shakespeare's four major tragedies, including "Hamlet", "Othello", "King Lear", and "Macbeth", which are considered to be the best examples. 

Let's take a look at this work with the editor.

William Shakespeare was born in England. He was a playwright during the English Renaissance and had a very special position in the history of European literature. Marx called him "the greatest dramatic genius of mankind", and Engels also liked his plays very much.

Shakespeare's representative works include "Romeo and Juliet", and historical plays such as "Henry II", "Henry V", and "Charles II". He wrote a total of 37 plays, 2 long poems, and 154 sonnets.

Among them, "Hamlet", "Othello", "King Lear" and "Macbeth" are recognized as Shakespeare's "four tragedies", "A Midsummer Night's Dream", "The Merchant of Venice", "Twelfth Night" and "As You Like It" are Recognized as Shakespeare's "Four Comedies".

It has an extremely important position and influence in the literary world at that time and in later generations. The following is a brief introduction to Shakespeare's four tragedies.

The stories of the four tragedies are all taken from European historical legends, showing the tragic conflict between the humanist ideal and the evil forces in real society and the disillusionment of the ideal.

Related TopicsMasterpieces


Shakespeare's Four Tragedies and Four Comedies

1. Hamlet

When Prince Hamlet of Denmark was studying at Wittenberg University in Germany, he suddenly received the news of his father's death. 

As he returns home to mourn, he encounters a series of events, in which his uncle Claudius ascends the throne, and his uncle and his mother Jotruh are hastily married a month after his father's funeral, which fills Hamlet with doubts and dissatisfaction. 

Then, while Horatio and Bernadotte stand guard, the ghost of his father Hamlet appears, revealing that he was poisoned by Claudius, demanding that Hamlet avenge himself.

Later, Hamlet disguised himself by pretending to be crazy and proved through "a play within a play" that his uncle was indeed the murderer of his father and his enemy. Because of killing Ophelia's father Polonius by mistake, Claudius tried to get rid of Hamlet through the king's hand. The duel of Tis.

During the duel, Hamlet's mother Jochud was poisoned to death by mistakenly drinking the poisoned wine that Claudius had prepared for Hamlet. Both Hamlet and Laertes were poisoned by the sword. When Hamlet learns of the poisoning, he kills Claudius before he dies, and asks his friend Horatio to tell his story to others.

2. Othello

Othello, a dark-faced Moor, is a general hired by the city-state of Venice. He was humbled by racial restrictions. He fell in love with Desdemona, the clever, beautiful, and generous daughter of the noble senator Brobancio. Knowing that marriage was not allowed, they married secretly without their parents.

As commander-in-chief, Othello has a brave banner officer, Iago, who is jealous that Othello promotes Cacho to lieutenant and does not pay attention to himself. At the same time, he coveted Desdemona's beauty, so he was jealous of Othello's successful marriage. 

Iago, a villain who is honest in appearance but cunning in heart, does everything possible to create false appearances and evidence, making Othello mistakenly believe that Cassio has an affair with his wife Desdemona, making Othello confused by the jealousy caused by Iago's words, It can also be seen.

Destroying the happy marriage of Othello and Desdemona became Iago's greatest satisfaction. So he does his best to exploit the urgency of Rodrigo, a minor nobleman who is infatuated with Desdemona, and his wife Emilia is confused by it. Othello believes the "proof" of Desdemona's infidelity.

He was allowed to "doubt" the poison to burn like brimstone in his heart, filling up, fermenting, and amplifying the fault zone between a series of "circumstantial evidence" provided by Iago and his own associations, and finally, jealousy drove him almost crazy. 

On the newly-married bed, she personally strangled her loyal and innocent wife Desdemona to death. But when Iago's wife exposed this lie and deceit, Othello wakes up from a dream, drew his sword, and committed suicide.

3. King Lear

The whole show has two parallel storylines. The main clue tells the story of King Lear, the ancient British king, who was old and doting and wanted to distribute the land to his three daughters according to their degree of love for him. 

Both the eldest daughter Gunnell and the second daughter Reagan coaxed the old man with sweet words, but the youngest daughter Cordelia told the truth, saying: "I love you only according to my birthright, not much, not much".

King Lear angrily dismissed his youngest daughter, married her off to faraway France, and divided her kingdom between two false daughters. As a result, she was mercilessly neglected by her two daughters, and in a fit of rage, she ran to the wilderness in a storm, pretending to be a mad beggar to join Edgar. 

Later, the youngest daughter came to crusade from France, and finally the father and daughter met, but the British and French allied forces fought, the French army was defeated, Cordelia was captured, and was soon ordered to be executed by Edmond. Lear hugged his body and died madly in grief and anger.

Another clue is that the Earl of Gloucester listened to his son Edmund's slander and exiled his eldest son Edgar. Later, because of sympathy for King Lear, his eyes were cut off. 

When he was wandering in the wild, he met Edgar, the beggar's son, and he helped him move forward, but he didn't know that it was his son who was driven out by him. 

After his son Edmund inherited the title, he hooked up with King Lear's eldest daughter and second daughter at the same time, causing them to be jealous of each other and kill each other. 

In the end, the second daughter was poisoned, and the eldest daughter committed suicide after the conspiracy to murder her husband was revealed. Edmund was challenged by Edgar and was instantly killed in the duel.

4. Macbeth

General Macbeth, the cousin of King Duncan of Scotland, meets three witches on his way home from a battle of merit against rebellion and invasion. 

The witch told him some prophecies and lingoes that he would be king, but he had no children to inherit the throne, but the offspring of his colleague, General Bank, wanted to be king. Macbeth is an ambitious hero. He murdered Duncan at the instigation of his wife and became king.

In order to deceive others and prevent others from usurping the throne, he killed Duncan's bodyguards, Bank, and the noble Macduff's wife and children step by step. 

Fear and suspicion made Macbeth's heart more and more haunted and cold. Macbeth died of insanity, and Macbeth was not at all sad. Faced with the siege of Duncan's son and the English reinforcements he invited, Macbeth was beheaded.

As soon as Macbeth appeared on the stage, he had different ambitions, killing the king in seconds in order to usurp the throne. 

In order to consolidate the throne, he brutally slaughtered the people, turning the whole country into a river of blood, throwing the society into chaos, and trapping the people in water and fire. He was the same tyrant as Richard III. Such a tyrant deserves his pain and his downfall.

Four Comedies

1. A Midsummer Night's Dream

"A Midsummer Night's Dream," tells the love story of a lover who gets married. The story takes place in Athens, ancient Greece. Young Hermia fell in love with Lysander, but Hermia's father wanted her to marry Demetrius, so Hermia and Lysander fled to a forest outside the city.

At this time, in order to entertain the grand wedding of Theseus, the Duke of Athens, and the beautiful Hippolyta, a group of actors rehearsed a comedy in the forest. 

Hermia's good friend Helena loved Demetrius, so she told Demetrius the news, and the two went to the forest one after another. There are many lovely elves living in the forest. Fairy Queen Oberon and Fairy TiO are at odds.

In order to tease the queen, the fairy king ordered a naughty boy named Puke to pick a flower juice and throw it into the queen's eyes. Then she wakes up madly in love with the first person or animal she sees. 

Coincidentally, the Fairy King also accidentally learned that Helena fell in love with Demetrius, so he asked Puke to drip some flower juice into Demetrius' eyes, but Puke mistakes Lysander for Demetrius. Mitrius.

As a result, when Lysander wakes up and sees Helena, he keeps pursuing her and forgets about Hermia. After the fairy king found out. Quickly drip the flower juice into the eyes of the sleeping Demetrius. 

Demetrius wakes up and sees Helena being chased by Lysander, so they scramble to make love to Helena. Helena and Hermia were very angry when they saw this scene.

At the same time, the fairy queen also fell in love with the rehearsal actor Burton. In the end, the fairy king gave everyone magic, and everyone got their love as they wished.

2. The Merchant of Venice

Antonio, the Merchant of Venice, is a generous and wealthy businessman who runs counter to Shylock's usury policy. Antonio's good friend Bassanio proposed to Portia, a beautiful girl from Belmont, and asked him for 3000 gold coins. 

Antonio had no money around him, so he had to borrow three thousand gold coins from Shylock with the merchant ship he had not returned to Hong Kong as collateral.

Shylock hates Antonio for lending money to others without interest, which affects the usury industry, and insults himself. He used the opportunity of signing a loan contract to set a trap and wait for an opportunity to retaliate.

Shylock, resenting Antonio for disapproving of him in the past, took the opportunity to ask him for a pound of meat instead of a merchant ship. After some words, Antonio agreed and signed a contract with him.

Bassanio, full of joy, went to Belmont to find relatives and friends. In Belmonte, his squire Graciano falls in love with Portia's maid Nerissa. An accident happened, and the two couples got married in a hurry.

Initially, Antonio wrote a letter claiming that his merchant ship was missing and that he was about to suffer the fate of Shylock asking for a pound of flesh that might endanger his life, so he wanted to see Bassanio one last time. 

Bassanio and Graciano rushed back to Venice as soon as they heard the news, while Portia and Nerissa secretly disguised themselves as lawyers and secretaries, and went to rescue Antonio.

In court, Portia wisely promised Shylock that he could take any pound of Antonio's flesh, but if he shed a drop of blood (the contract only wrote one pound of flesh, but Shylock did not get any promise of blood) ), he will make up for it with his life and property. 

So, Antonio was rescued, and the court announced that he had confiscated half of the property for murdering the citizens of Venice, and the other half was given to Antonio, who gave the unexpected property to Shylock's son-in-law and his friend - Lorenzo.

Seeing that the plot failed, Sherlock had no choice but to agree, and converted to Christianity according to the judgment. In this way, Portia cleverly saved Antonio's life. Meanwhile, Portia and Nerissa tease their husbands. 

They demanded a ring as payment for Antonio's defense and went home. When their husbands returned, they blamed them for neglecting the significance of their wedding rings, insisting that they must have been given to other women. 

After a series of embarrassing explanations, the truth finally came out. Everyone has a happy ending, except Sherlock, who wants to hurt others instead of himself.

3. Twelfth Night

Sebastian and Viola are identical twin siblings. In a marine accident, they separated off the coast of Illyria. Believing that his brother had suffered misfortune, Viola disguised herself as a man, under the pseudonym Cesario, and joined the local Duke of Orsino as a maid. 

The Duke of Orsino sends Viola to propose marriage to the young, beautiful, and wealthy Countess Olivier.

However, at this time, Viola has secretly fallen in love with his master Orsino. But Olivier fell in love at first sight with Viola who proposed on his behalf. Things get subtle and complicated. Meanwhile, a conspiracy is going on in Olivia's house. Her uncle Toby and others retaliate against the arrogant butler Malfurion for being reprimanded by him.

They imitated Olivier's handwriting, wrote a love letter to Malfurion, encouraged the horse to court boldly, and asked him to wear disgusting yellow stockings. Obsessed with ghosts and fascinated by them, Malfurion is filled with ugliness; Olivia thinks the butler is crazy.

In order to win Olivier's heart, Orsino sent Viola to Olivier's house again to lobby. Olivia loves Viola more and more. However, Olivia's uncle insists on marrying her to the stupid rich man Andrew, so she and Olivia's maid Maria strongly encourage Andrew to fight Viola.

It turns out that Viola's brother Sebastian was rescued by the pirate captain Antonio, and the two formed a best friend who would never betray each other. After Captain Antonio came to Illyria, he was afraid of being chased by the Illyrian authorities and could not accompany Sebastian into the city, so he gave him the wallet for use.

Captain Antonio ran into Viola who was dueling Andrew by chance. Mistaking her for her brother Sebastian, he steps up to help with the sword drawn. However, passing police officers recognized him and arrested him. Antonio is surprised to find that Viola is indifferent to his arrest and refuses to return his wallet, so he accuses her of ingratitude.

Andrew and others also wanted to fight with Viola, but when they met Sebastian, they mistook him for Viola and drew their swords. Fortunately, they were stopped by Olivia who arrived in time. Olivia also mistook Sebastian for Viola and invited him to show love at home, and the two married in private for a hundred years.

Malfurion was declared insane, locked in a dark room, and teased by clowns dressed as priests. Later Malfurion wrote a letter to Miss Olivia's defense, letting the truth out.

Finally, Sebastian and Viola reunited, Sebastian and Olivia fell in love, Duke Orsino was moved by Viola's appearance, and announced that he would marry her, Captain Antonio was also free. Everyone was happy except Malfurion.

4. As You Like It

Regardless of brotherhood, Frederick usurped the position of his brother Duke (that is, Rosalind's father), drove the Duke away, and forced him to exile in the forest. 

The exiled Duke's daughter Rosalind falls in love with Orlando who is abused by her older brother Oliver. But soon Rosalind was exiled by her uncle, the usurper Frederick, who had to disguise himself as a man and flee to the Ardennes forest, where he unexpectedly met Orlando.

Orlando was abused by his elder brother, revenged with virtue, saved his younger brother, let Oliver Tian Liang find out, and fell in love with Roslyn's cousin, Frederick's daughter Celia. They have been living with Rosalind in the forest to help her find her father. Finally, Rosalind finds her father in the forest.

Inspired by the hermit, Frederick repents and returns his power to his brother. Orlando and Roslyn, Oliver and Celia, Shepard Silvers and Shepard Ferm, Touchstone the Clown, and Village Audley are all married, and they are all happy.

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