This thesis argues that Shakespeare is a complex system and that the framework of complexity theory can be of use to Shakespeare studies and literary studies more broadly. Moving from smaller subsystems to the global Shakespeare system itself, this thesis explores how Shakespeare’s narrative, play composition, pedagogy and cultural presence can be re-examined through a complexivist lens. By adopting different methodological approaches across the chapters, this thesis also refines the application of complexity theory and trials implementation strategies for the humanities. The Introduction offers a foundation for complexity theory in literary studies, including core characteristics and methods of implementation. Chapter One reads dance in A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a series of complex interactions which create or respond to moments of crisis or ‘bounded instability’. Chapter Two conceptualises Titus Andronicus as a self-organised complex system and interrogates three self-organising interactions: the relationships between co-authors; authors and space; and fictional and environmental space. Chapter Three’s pedagogical focus reconsiders the role of unexpected emergence in the teaching of Shakespeare and in The Merchant of Venice. Chapter Four examines the function of system attractors in the real-world system of Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon and in the systems of Julius Caesar. Each chapter demonstrates complexivism as an illuminating framework for Shakespeare studies, identifying complex behavioural patterns in the plays, their contexts, and in literary criticism. This thesis also demonstrates complexity theory’s interdisciplinary applicability in fields of inquiry including the philosophy of dance, authorship studies, ecocriticism and cultural studies. ‘Shakespeare and Complexity Theory’ offers a novel and valuable framework to enrich our understanding of Shakespeare, and lays the foundation for complexity theory in Shakespeare studies and the humanities.