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I love the plays but would head straight to the sonnets in response to this topic. If you read enough of them you notice a progression in thought and attitudes about love, loyalty, fame, and a host of other themes. While we don't know in what order they were written, we tend to study them in order. Sonnet 18 is probably the most widely anthologized, and Sonnet 130 is a great example of Shakespeare's ability to take a common idea, in this case what is typically regarded as beautiful, and turn it on it's head, ending with the utmost compliment that his love is rarer than all others.
Don't forget the sonnets...I love Sonnet 130 and Sonnet 29. I think the latter is the most famous.
Everything this man wrote is worth reading. Dig in!
I would have difficulty naming just ONE of Shakespeares famous works. There are so many that come to mind. They infiltrate so much of what we see and hear today. For example, the films What Dreams May Come and Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country both get their titles from lines in Hamlet, and the book title The Sound and the Fury is an allusion (or reference) to Macbeth. So, I will list a few of my favorites that are very well-known.
Romeo and Juliet
Hamlet (my personal favorite)
Much Ado About Nothing
A Midsummer Night's Dream
The Taming of the Shrew
As You Like It
Henry IV (parts one and two)
And of course, he his famous for his many sonnets.
You can find lots of information on Shakespeare and his works at the link below.
Most English teachers will reference his Big 5 rather than any one individual work - Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Macbeth, and King Lear (although some substitute Othello for KL).
One other interesting thing that hadn't been mentioned yet - WS was the inventor of the mini-series. His plays about King Henry IV and King Henry VI were originally performed in installments.
Think of the soliloquies within the plays...Hamlet's "To be, or not to be;" Macbeth's "Life's but a walking shadow;" Juliet's "Gallop apace, you fiery-footed steeds"...Even the small bits are genius!
Check out this link, too -
Check out this link on enotes:
While some of his plays and sonnets are more known than others, I would agree with earlier posts that there isn't one "most famous" piece. What is interesting is the many ways that he and his writings have influenced art, literature, and pop culture in the time since he lived.
I agree that perhaps just one cannot be singled out for being most famous; however, instinct would lead me to say Romeo and Juliet.
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