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Shakespeare's Settings

Shakespeare's plays are set in many exotic locations, from Verona and Milan to Athens and Rousillon.

The following is a list of the settings of Shakespeare's comedies and tragedies. Please see The Settings of Shakespeare's Plays by Date for a chronology of the content of the plays.

All's Well that Ends Well
Setting: Rousillon, Paris, Florence, and Marseilles

Antony and Cleopatra
Setting: Parts of the Roman Empire

As You Like It
Setting: Forest of Arden

The Comedy of Errors
Setting: Ephesus

Setting: Rome, Corioli, and Antium

Setting: Britain, Italy

Setting: Elsinore

Julius Caesar
Setting: Rome; afterwards, Sardis and near Philippi

King Lear
Setting: Britain

Love's Labour's Lost
Setting: Navarre

Setting: Scotland and England

Measure for Measure
Setting: Vienna

The Merchant of Venice
Setting: Partly in Venice, and partly at Belmont, the seat of Portia on the Continent

The Merry Wives of Windsor
Setting: Windsor

A Midsummer Night's Dream
Setting: Athens, and a wood nearby

Much Ado about Nothing
Setting: Messina

Setting: Venice (for first act) and a sea-port in Cyprus

Pericles, Prince of Tyre
Setting: various countries

Romeo and Juliet
Setting: Verona and Mantua

The Taming of the Shrew
Setting: Sometimes in Padua, and sometimes in Petruchio's home in the country

The Tempest
Setting: The Sea; afterwards an Island

Timon of Athens
Setting: Athens

Titus Andronicus
Setting: Rome

Troilus and Cressida
Setting: Troy

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Setting: Verona, Milan, and the frontiers of Mantua

Twelfth Night
Setting: A city in Illyria, and the sea-coast nearby

The Winter's Tale
Setting: Sometimes in Sicilia, sometimes in Bohemia

How to cite this article:
Mabillard, Amanda. Shakespeare's Settings. Shakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2000. < >.

More Resources
 The Metre of Macbeth: Blank Verse and Rhymed Lines
 Contemporary References to King James I in Macbeth
 The Royal Patent that Changed Shakespeare's Life

 Hefner, Polanksi and Macbeth
 Aesthetic Examination Questions on Macbeth
 Quotes About Shakespeare

 Edward Alleyn (Actor)
 William Kempe (Actor)
 Shakespeare's Boss
 What is Tragic Irony?
 Characteristics of Elizabethan Tragedy

More to Explore

 The Chronology of Shakespeare's Plays
 Establishing the Order of the Plays
 How Many Plays Did Shakespeare Write?
 Shakespeare Timeline

 Why Shakespeare is so Important
 Shakespeare in Old English?
 Shakespeare's Influence on Other Writers
 Daily Life in Shakespeare's London

 Life in Stratford (structures and guilds)
 Life in Stratford (trades, laws, furniture, hygiene)
 Four Periods of Shakespeare's Life
 Stratford School Days: What Did Shakespeare Read?

 Games in Shakespeare's England [A-L]
 Games in Shakespeare's England [M-Z]
 An Elizabethan Christmas
 Clothing in Elizabethan England

 Queen Elizabeth: Shakespeare's Patron
 King James I of England: Shakespeare's Patron
 The Earl of Southampton: Shakespeare's Patron
 Going to a Play in Elizabethan London

 Ben Jonson and the Decline of the Drama
 Publishing in Elizabethan England
 Shakespeare's Audience
 Religion in Shakespeare's England

 Alchemy and Astrology in Shakespeare's Day
 Entertainment in Elizabethan England
 London's First Public Playhouse
 Shakespeare Hits the Big Time

Bard Bites

Dramatist and Shakespearean scholar Nicholas Rowe was the first to write a critical (annotated) edition of Shakespeare's works.

The average length of a play in Elizabethan England was 3000 lines. With 4,042 lines and 29,551 words, Hamlet is the longest Shakespearean play (based on the first edition of The Riverside Shakespeare (1974)). With 1,787 lines and 14,369 words, The Comedy of Errors is the shortest Shakespearean play (also based on the first edition of The Riverside Shakespeare).

Shakespeare's late comedies are considered romances: The Winter's Tale, The Tempest, Cymbeline, and Pericles. The Two Noble Kinsman is also sometimes mentioned along side these other plays as a romantic comedy.

Love's Labour's Lost has the highest percentage of rhyming lines of all of Shakespeare's plays. According to Shakespearean scholar Tucker Brooke, 62.2% of the lines in Love's Labour's Lost rhyme. The closest competitor is A Midsummer Night's Dream, with 43.4% rhyming lines.

The historical time of King Lear is roughly 800 BC, making it the second-earliest setting of any of Shakespeare's plays. Click here to find out the first.