Understanding Shakespeare is a key ingredient for any well rounded person.
This guide will help you understand him, his world and his works thus increasing your depth of the subject and increasing your enjoyment of his literary gifts to the world!
Complete the following:
- List key facts of Shakespeare's life from the biography
- Watch the video, Brief and Naughty, and write down the funniest thing you remember
- Check out the food from the Elizabethan Era. Try to cook a recipe for extra credit if you choose.
- Print "The Globe Study Guide". Then, watch the Globe Theatre slide show and complete the study guide.
- Go to the "A Midsummer Night's Dream" tab, click on "Scene Summaries" in the upper left corner. Then in about the middle of the page, click on "Listen to a quick overview of A Midsummer Night's Dream".
- Explore around on the Spark Notes website after you've listened. Write a paragraph briefly summarizing the play.
Click Shakespeare's picture to go to games and puzzles
Famous Quotes from William Shakespeare
- "We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep."
- "If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars."
- "Dream in light years, challenge miles, walk step by step."
- "But if the while I think on thee, dear friend, All losses are restored and sorrows end."
- "Truth is truth To the end of reckoning."
Shakespeare, Brief and Naughty
William Shakespeare's Biography
Born: 1564 Died: 1616 Occupation: English dramatist and poet From: Encyclopedia of the Renaissance and the Reformation, Revised Edition. Shakespeare was born and educated at Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, the eldest son of a prosperous glover who had married into the local gentry. Little is known (though much is conjectured) about Shakespeare's early life. In 1582 he married Anne Hathaway and possibly supported her and their children, Susanna (born 1583), and the twins Hamnet and Judith (born 1585), by working as a schoolmaster. At some unknown date, maybe in the late 1580s, Shakespeare moved to London. The erotic poems Venus and Adonis (1593) and The Rape of Lucrece (1594), with dedications to the earl of Southampton, were Shakespeare's first published works, but he had already had several plays produced (the three parts of Henry VI, Richard III, and the Plautine Comedy of Errors). He was also probably writing sonnets, about which speculation has continued to rage since their collection and publication in 1609. From 1594 Shakespeare's theatrical company was the Lord Chamberlain's Men, for whom in the next five years he wrote the plays of his early maturity, among them Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Much Ado about Nothing, As You Like It, The Merchant of Venice, and the history plays Richard II, 1 and 2 Henry IV, and Henry V. In 1596 his father acquired a grant of arms and the following year Shakespeare purchased New Place at Stratford, both evidence of the family's standing and prosperity. The Globe Theatre at Bankside, south of the Thames in London, was opened in 1599, and for it Shakespeare wrote his seven great tragedies (Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, and Coriolanus). Apart from Twelfth Night, his comedies of the period 1599–1608 (Measure for Measure, All's Well that Ends Well, and Troilus and Cressida) are more somber and ambiguous than those of the 1590s. In 1608 Shakespeare's company, known since 1603 as the King's Men, took over the indoor Blackfriars Theatre, for which Shakespeare wrote the romantic comedies Pericles, Cymbeline, The Winter's Tale, and The Tempest; the last, probably written in 1611, is generally read as the playwright's farewell to the stage. Shakespeare retired to Stratford, where he died. In 1623 his old friends and colleagues in the theater, John Heminge and Henry Condell, published the first collected edition of Shakespeare's works, known as the First Folio; it contained 36 plays, of which only 19 had been printed during the playwright's lifetime.