To paraphrase Falstaff, Shakespeare is not only witty in himself, but the cause that wit is in others. With its power and popularity, Shakespeare's art has prompted a seemingly endless stream of responses – some critical, some artistic; some celebratory, some reactionary; some which are themselves great works of literature, and some which are so bad that it becomes socially awkward to sit through them, that you feel sorry for the authors, and that you are embarrassed for the human race. Below is a sampling of some of the ways that Shakespeare has been picked up, played with, transformed, performed, adapted, criticized, theorized, and otherwise mobilized in modern culture.


The Two Gentlemen of Verona

The Taming of the Shrew

Henry VI

Titus Andronicus

Richard III

The Comedy of Errors

Love's Labour's Lost

King John

  • Colley Cibber, Papal Tyranny in the Reign of King John (1745)

Richard II

Romeo and Juliet

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

The Merchant of Venice

Henry IV

The Merry Wives of Windsor

Much Ado About Nothing

Henry V

Julius Caesar

As You Like It


Troilus and Cressida

Twelfth Night

Measure for Measure


King Lear


Antony and Cleopatra


The Winter's Tale


The Tempest