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Who was William Shakespeare?

William Shakespeare, also referred to as The Bard, wrote poems and plays that still entertain and confuse us to this day. He created over a thousand words and phrases that include expressions of love and hate, and insults, philosophical statements, and everyday words like undress, lonely, majestic and tranquil. He was born on April 23 and died 52 years later on the same day.

Full, detailed biography (article & video)

Life in Elizabethan England

Shakespeare’s World and Work Vol. 1-3, 822.3 SHA


Birthplace of William Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-Avon


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William Shakespeare as a child.
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Wife- Anne Hathaway, Kids- Susanna, Hamnet, Judith

Check out theses sites too:

Internet Shakespeare Editions

Folger Shakespeare Library

TAKE A BREAK- Play some Shakespearean themed games

Shakespeare and the English Language

History of English Language (Shakespeare’s Contribution)

Insults & how to Make your own Shakespearean insult! (Thou saucy toad-spotted miscreant!)

How Shakespeare influences the way we speak now


TAKE A BREAK- Watch famous Shakespearean actors argue over how to say “To be, or not to be- that is the question.”

Why Shakespeare?



Teachers and students alike have complained about Shakespeare. What can be gained from studying a man’s play that was written 400 years ago?  It can be argued that Shakespeare was “the greatest dramatist, the greatest poet and the greatest prose writer in the history of the language.” His works give us insight into what it means to be human, what triggers us to commit bad/good acts, and causes us to question the justification of those acts. We study Shakespeare to learn about ourselves. Still not convinced? Check out some of the videos below:

Shakespeare’s English Is Still Relevant 

David Tennant- Shakespeare Still Matters

Tom Hiddleston- How Shakespeare Seeped Into My Bones

TED Talk- Why Shakespeare?

What Actors Make of Shakespeare

TAKE A BREAK- Which Shakespeare character are you?

Controversy and Mystery

If you are going to become a famous historical person, be warned! It comes with the baggage of people questioning who you really were, what you believed, how you died, debating your life achievements and broadcasting your failures. This is what happened to Shakespeare. In the middle of the Shakespeare fandom is the debate on whether or not Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare.

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One’s first thought might be, “Well duh! Obviously Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare! Who else would have written it?” Several theories claim that Shakespeare plagiarized the works or was a pseudonym for someone else. What do you think? Check out the links below and form your opinion.



Ask History

Authorship Debate

Shakespeare or Earl of Oxford

William Shakespeare: The Conspiracy Theories 

TAKE A BREAK- Find out what the Real Housewives of Shakespeare are up to 

Globe Theater

This famous theater was where many of Shakespeare’s performances took place. Any play written after 1599 (As You Like It; Hamlet; Measure for Measure; Othello; King Lear; Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra) were performed there, Julius Ceaser was most likely they first performed at the Globe. Today that tradition is carried on with regular performances at the Globe.

PBS LearningMedia- The Globe Theater

Walking Tour Guide.

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TAKE A BREAK- Which Shakespeare play was written about your life?

Playwrights and Poetry

Shakespeare wrote 37 plays, 154 sonnets, and 5 poems. The most famous of each are Hamlet (play), Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer’s Day? (sonnet), All The World’s A Stage (poem).


The Plays are divided up by genre- tragedies, comedies, and histories. Some also add romance as a genre.

See all Shakespeare’s Works and the genres HERE

Iambic Pentameter

a line of verse with five metrical feet, each consisting of one short (or unstressed) syllable followed by one long (or stressed) syllable, for example Two households, both alike in dignity.

Some examples of iambic pentameter include:

  • But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
  • It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. (William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet)
  • Her vestal livery is but sick and green
  • And none but fools do wear it; cast it off. (Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet)
  • And I do love thee: therefore, go with me;
  • I’ll give thee fairies to attend on thee,
  • And they shall fetch thee jewels from the deep,
  • And sing while thou on pressed flowers dost sleep; (Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

Why Shakespeare Loved Iambic Pentameter

TAKE A BREAK- Play Even More Shakespearean games 

 The Plays

Click HERE for brief summaries of each play


Below are the most common plays read in high school with summaries and videos

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Crash Course Romeo and Juliet Part 1 & Part 2



Crash Course Hamlet Part 1 & Part 2

Julius Caesar 






Macbeth Summary

A Midsummer Night’s Dream






Taming of the Shrew



The Merchant of Venice



TAKE A BREAK- Now that you know the plays watch this comedic performance by the Reduced Shakespeare Company as they encompass all of Shakespeare’s plays through humor and parodies 


For the days you just don’t feel like reading check out these movie adaptations and parodies of Shakespeare’s plays.

ADAPTATIONS– as accurate as possible to the play

Romeo and Juliet (1936,1968, 2013)df423fc75c49e0c982244f96ffb65eb4.jpg

Coriolanus (2012)

Hamlet (1990, 1996)

Much Ado About Nothing (1993)

Macbeth (2015)

The Tempest (2010)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1999)

PARODIES-an imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effectShe-s-The-Man-shes-the-man-7935738-400-266.jpg

10 Things I Hate About You, 1999 (Taming of the Shrew)

Ran, 1985 (King Lear)

West Side Story,1961 (Romeo and Juliet)

The Lion King, 1994 (Hamlet)

She’s The Man,2006 (Twelfth Night)

O, 2001 (Othello)

Romeo Must Die, 1996 (Romeo and Juliet)

Scotland, PA, 2001 ( Macbeth)

Richard III, 1995

Hamlet, 1996

Macbeth, 2005