William Shakespeare

If Shakespeare was alive today, we'd like to think he'd be writing for Cracked.

Shakespeare: The original Purveyor of Dick Jokes.

Just The Facts

  1. Shakespeare is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the history of the English language.
  2. His collective works consist of 38 plays and 154 sonnets.
  3. He never attended university. (Take that, Mrs. Flannery!)

Young Shakespeare

Shakespeare grew up in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England. Not a lot is known about what William did in his youth but we can assume that, like any young boy of the Elizabethan era, he spent his days peeking under farthingales, playing knucklebones and attending public hangings.

This was their Star Wars.

When Shakespeare turned 18, he'd already made a name for himself as a businessman, turning a profit on several land deals. It was also at this age that he realized the dream of modern men and married 26 year old Anne Hathaway. Seriously.

"Get thee to a nunnery!"

Playwright and Theatrical Career

By 1592, several of Shakespeare's plays could be found on the London stage. Unlike many artists who suffered while alive but are now praised for their genius, Shakespeare was quite successful and enjoyed fame and fortune.

Sorry, old chap.

Shakespeare wrote an average of 1.5 plays a year as well as a few sonnets and still found enough time to act in his own plays, pioneer the dick joke, and invent the word "assassination" which, when you think about it, sounds very made up. It's just "ass", another "ass", then "ination" at the end.

Buttbuttilanthropy? I'm going to be at this all night.

Shakespeare's Plays

If you graduated highschool, you've probably had one of Shakespeare's plays in your possession at some point in time. If you were brave, you may have even cracked it open and read a couple pages, sifting through the "thee"s and "thou"s like you were some kind of codebreaker.

"Beast with two backs? Ohhhh. Touche, Shakespeare."

Whether you didn't read any of his plays, read one but just didn't "get it", or did get it but feel like wasting a little more of your time, Cracked has put together a few summaries for Shakespeare's Greatest Hits. Note: we may have just skimmed through most all of these.

Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet is about an emo teen couple whose parents hate them (and rightly so).

"But soft, what dumb hair across your forehead breaks?"

All they do is whine and declare their love for eachother even though Juliet is mentioned as being only 13 years old and it isn't hard to imagine that Romeo's balls have just recently dropped. I mean sure, he gets into a sword fight and straight up murders a guy but works very hard for the rest of the play to forfeit all of his awesome points. To everyone's relief, they both off themselves at the end of the play. Arguably, this is Shakespeare's happiest of endings.


Macbeth wants to be the King of Scotland and seeing as he's next in line for the throne, killing the current king seems like the quickest way to get there. He has the king over to his place, wines and dines him, and then quietly dispatches him in his bed later that evening (as Scottish custom dictates).

"Frankly, I'd be insulted if you didn't."

Macbeth was a little hesitant at first but after the Lady Macbeth double-dog dares him, he has to step up to the plate and prove his manhood. Nothing really works out for the two of them though. Lady Macbeth develops a severe case of OCD, repeatedly washing her hands, and, after going bat-shit crazy, she kills herself. Macbeth doesn't have a lot of time to enjoy his newfound bachelorhood because Duncan's son has his kilt in a bunch over his father's murder and he's come to pay a visit.

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Shakespeare solidified his status as a story teller when he invented the teen sex comedy. This play is about a camping trip with two guys, two girls and a magical potion that makes them lust after someone they hadn't considered before.

It makes every get together a Puck-ing good time!

The guys almost get into a fight over the girl that neither of them were interested in before the night began. When they wake up the next morning, they all act like it was just a dream. It's usually better for everyone that way.


Hamlet is about a ghost hunter from Denmark who is faced with a moral dilemma. His father is now a ghost. Does he give in to his familial bonds or does he suck it up, be a man, and go hunt his ghost-pa? You'll have to give this one a look for yourself to find out what happens. A real cliff-hanger is waiting for you at the end. There's, like, this spooky witch too. Definitely check this one out. Oh and his uncle is now banging his mom. Also, his uncle killed his father to take the kingdom from him and his death needs to be avenged. Or something like that.

Much Ado About Nothing