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)
Shakespeare’s World and Work Vol. 1-3, 822.3 SHA
Check out theses sites too:
TAKE A BREAK- Play some Shakespearean themed games
Shakespeare and the English Language
History of English Language (Shakespeare’s Contribution)
TAKE A BREAK- Watch famous Shakespearean actors argue over how to say “To be, or not to be- that is the question.”
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:
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.
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.
TAKE A BREAK- Find out what the Real Housewives of Shakespeare are up to
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.
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
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)
TAKE A BREAK- Play Even More Shakespearean games
Click HERE for brief summaries of each play
Below are the most common plays read in high school with summaries and videos
Romeo and Juliet
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)
Hamlet (1990, 1996)
Much Ado About Nothing (1993)
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 effect
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