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How many poems did William Shakespeare write?

quettie16's profile pic

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How many poems did William Shakespeare write?

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englishteacher72's profile pic

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While William Shakespeare is better known as the greatest playwright that ever lived, he also wrote many sonnets.  In total, he wrote thirty-seven plays, 154 sonnets, and five long narrative poems, including "Venus and Adonis", "The Rape of Lucrece", "The Passionate Pilgrim", "The Phoenix and the Turtle", and "A Lover's Complaint".  From what I have read, poems were usually reserved only for nobility, which is probably why Shakespeare only had five published.  He, himself, was not nobility.  All of his poems were very well-received, and the majority of them dealt with erotic themes.  He dedicated two of the poems, "Venus and Adonis" and "The Rape of Lucrece", to the Earl of Southampton, whom some scholars consider to be Shakespeare's lover.   

menen1892's profile pic

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Currently, 154 sonnets and 3 narrative poems are attributed to William Shakespeare. Technically, sonnets are poems, but they are short and only have 14 lines. These sonnets or  poems by Shakespeare are written in iambic pentameter and feature a strict rhyming pattern. Shakespeare's 3 narrative poems are "A Lover's Complaint", "Venus and Adonis", and "The Rape of Lucrece". Narrative poems are long poems which are stories that are written in poetic verse. There may be more poems that have been written by William Shakespeare, but they have not been verified as being written by him at this current moment.

brandih's profile pic

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Please see the link below for another answer.

asmit's profile pic

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Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets

theyellowbookworm's profile pic

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Shakespeare’s surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems embedded into the plays themselves.

According to tradition, Shakespeare wrote his two long narrative poems, Venus and Adonis and Lucrece, in 1592-94, during a period of forced unemployment when an outbreak of the plague closed London’s theaters. The poems were published, respectively, in 1593 and 1594.

Shakespeare’s famous sonnets and another fairly lengthy poem, The Phoenix and Turtle, are believed to have been written early in his career. They were published some years later, perhaps without his permission. The first 17 sonnets advise a beautiful young man to marry and produce a child. The next 109 sonnets prounounce the poet’s love for this young man and claim that the poems will preserve the young man’s beauty. The sequence concludes with 28 sonnets to or about a "dark lady."

Scholars disagree about whether to attribute another poem, A Lover's Complaint, to Shakespeare.

Scholars generally agree that Shakespeare wrote thirty eight plays, although recent claims have been made for King Edward III and some scholars would include part of Sir Thomas More. Another play, Cardenio, has not survived.

Interestingly, Shakespeare’s complete works – including both his poems and plays – consist of 884,647 words and 118,406 lines.


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