Must-Read Shakespeare Plays for High School Students

Are you a high school student struggling to understand Shakespeare's plays? Do you find his language archaic and difficult to comprehend? Fear not, for we have compiled a list of must-read Shakespeare plays that will not only entertain you but also help you appreciate the beauty of his language.

Shakespeare is considered one of the greatest playwrights in history, and his works have been studied and performed for centuries. His plays are known for their complex characters, intricate plots, and poetic language. However, for many high school students, reading Shakespeare can be a daunting task. The language is old-fashioned, and the themes can be difficult to relate to. But fear not, for we have selected five of Shakespeare's plays that are not only accessible but also relevant to modern-day audiences.

Romeo and Juliet

Let's start with the most famous of Shakespeare's plays, Romeo and Juliet. This tragic love story is a staple of high school English classes and for good reason. The play tells the story of two young lovers from feuding families who are willing to risk everything for their love. The play is filled with memorable quotes, such as "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet," and "O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?" The play also explores themes of love, hate, and the consequences of impulsive actions.


Macbeth is another popular play that is often studied in high school. The play tells the story of a Scottish general who receives a prophecy from three witches that he will become king. Macbeth becomes consumed with ambition and commits a series of murders to secure his position as king. The play explores themes of power, ambition, and the corrupting influence of unchecked ambition. Macbeth is also known for its supernatural elements, including the witches and the ghost of Banquo.


Hamlet is one of Shakespeare's most complex plays, but it is also one of his most rewarding. The play tells the story of Prince Hamlet, who is visited by the ghost of his father and tasked with avenging his murder. Hamlet is torn between his duty to his father and his own moral compass, and the play explores themes of revenge, madness, and the nature of existence. Hamlet is also known for its famous soliloquies, including "To be or not to be" and "O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!"

A Midsummer Night's Dream

If you're looking for a lighter Shakespeare play, A Midsummer Night's Dream is the perfect choice. The play is a romantic comedy that tells the story of four young lovers who become entangled in a magical forest. The play also features a group of amateur actors who are trying to put on a play for the Duke's wedding. A Midsummer Night's Dream is known for its whimsical plot, its mischievous fairies, and its hilarious scenes of mistaken identity.

The Tempest

The Tempest is one of Shakespeare's later plays, and it is often considered his farewell to the stage. The play tells the story of Prospero, a sorcerer who has been exiled to a remote island with his daughter Miranda. Prospero uses his magical powers to create a storm that brings his enemies to the island, where he seeks revenge. The play explores themes of forgiveness, redemption, and the power of art. The Tempest is also known for its beautiful language and its memorable characters, including the spirit Ariel and the monster Caliban.


Shakespeare's plays can be intimidating, but they are also some of the most rewarding works of literature ever written. By reading and studying Shakespeare's plays, high school students can improve their language skills, expand their cultural knowledge, and gain a deeper understanding of the human experience. We hope this list of must-read Shakespeare plays has inspired you to explore the world of Shakespeare and discover the beauty of his language.

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