Shakespeare Plays Available in Video Format
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All’s Well That Ends Well
Antony and Cleopatra
As You Like It
The Comedy of Errors
Coriolanus
Cymbeline
Hamlet
Henry IV, part 1
Henry IV, part 2
Henry V
Henry VI, part 1
Henry VI, part 2
Henry VI, part 3
Henry VIII
Julius Caesar
King John
King Lear
Love’s Labour’s Lost
Macbeth
Measure for Measure
The Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Much Ado About Nothing
Othello
Pericles
Richard II
Richard III
Romeo and Juliet
The Taming of the Shrew
The Tempest
Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus
Troilus and Cressida
Twelfth Night
Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Winter’s Tale
Shakespeareana

Available versions

1960: Michael Hayes

1983: Jane Howell


Henry VI, Part 1

The whole cluster of the Henry VI plays are apparently fairly early in Shakespeare’s career, and they are sprawling, somewhat indirect affairs, filled with complexities without a lot of thematic backbone. They were still apparently well enough known that Shakespeare could refer to them in the epilogue chorus to Henry V, talking about how Henry’s empire largely fell apart from gross mismanagement, “as oft our stage hath shown.”

They are historically very diffuse, beginning at the death of Henry V, and concluding with the death of Henry VI some fifty years later. The discontinuities of the series of plays are probably inevitable given the scope of the action they are expected to cover.

The first of the plays largely deals with the loss of Henry V’s hard-won French territories; probably its most famous sequence is the action against La Pucelle, which is to say, Joan of Arc. Joan is of course condemned and executed by burning at the stake, but the movement she began was not to be quelled so easily.

By the end of the play, as well, the divisions that were to give rise to the Wars of the Roses are well and truly rooted, and the realm is not again unified until the death of Richard III at Bosworth Field.

Most of the versions of these plays come from series that are otherwise covering a larger stretch of plays: they’re not performed for their own sake very often.