William Shakespeare

Considered the greatest playwright, William Shakespeare is revered by many. This page provides you with a listing of  resources to aid you in your understanding.




The four videos in this series provide an opportunity to know who the man was and what may have inspired him to write what he wrote over four hundred years ago. If you would like to know more about the whole life of William Shakespeare, I'd encourage you to rent or purchase "In Search of Shakespeare." These videos can be borrowed from a library or purchased online. Occaisionally, PBS will air this series.





Part 1: A Time of Revolution 

We are introduced to the dark world of Queen Elizabeth's police state - a time of surveillance militarism and foreign wars. 

We are reminded that Shakespeare lived through the Spanish Armada, the Gunpowder Plot, the colonization of the New World, and the beginnings of British power in America. But most importantly Shakespeare also lived through England's Cultural Revolution: an enforced split with the old medieval English spirit world which was to lead the English people into a brave new Protestant future. A split which defined Shakespeare's life -and our modern world. 

Michael Wood traces William's early days exploring his schooling his father's shady business deals and the dark secret that ruined the family. Finally in Worcester Cathedral the riddle of Shakespeare's shotgun wedding is untangles an event that left him a teenage father with decidedly slim career prospects.

Part 2: The Lost Years 

Little is known about Shakespeare's life between the ages of 18 and 28 - however there are some intriguing theories. Did he serve in a Catholic house during a dangerous time of Protestant reform? Or did he spread propaganda for the Elizabethan government in the actors company the Queens Men? 

Historian Michael Wood investigates the Bards secret history watches actors of the Royal Shakespeare Company bring his scripts to life and learns more about the violent death of Christopher Marlowe Shakespeare's great rival.


Part 3: The Duty of Poets

With Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Nights Dream - a film of which follows - he became England's top entertainer. But tragedy struck when his only son died aged 11. 

Plunged into a midlife crisis Shakespeare fell for a teenage nobleman, had an affair with a married woman, and was summonsed for GBH. Meanwhile his theatre company built the Globe and in the midst of it all he created some of literature's most enduring characters.

Part 4: For All Time 

In this last stage of our search, we discover that which makes William Shakespeare so great. The Elizabethan age ends and the Jacobian age begins. 

We discover how Shakespeare place in literature and his influence in what many hoped for as a golden age. Shakespeare finds himself on the royal payroll and his greatest works come to life during this time.


No Fear Hamlet displays the text in its original form on the left side of the page with a modern translation on the right. Use the link to read the play and complete the assignments of the Hamlet Journal.


Answer these questions as you complete your reading of Hamlet. This information will provide you with notes to complete assignments related to The Tragedy of Hamlet.


Insults by Shakespeare 

Let's take a closer look at the words of Shakespeare, specifically, the insults! 

While the Bard is known for coining many new words, over 2,000, William Shakespeare's crafty use of words is what sets him apart from all other writers.

As the video producer suggests and the end of this video, "Stop. Listen to the words."


Hip Hop & William Shakespeare 

What does The Bard have in common with Wu Tang, Eminem, and Jay-Z?

Who wrote, "To destroy the beauty from which one came?" 

Do you know that Shakespeare's use of iambic pentameter fits perfectly in today's 140bpm raps? 

This and many interesting comparisons are viewed in this TED presentation by Akala  


Gilligan's Island & Hamlet

Year three episode four of the television series Gilligan's Island is titled "The Producer" where a famous Hollywood producer crash-lands on the island. When he insults Ginger, the castaways stage a "Hamlet" musical play to restore her confidence.

This episode sparked my curiosity and love of Hamlet and William Shakespeare. It might be a goofy TV show, but it lives on in many English classroom when teachers discuss one of the bard's famous plays! 


The Simpsons

Bart and the gang look at Hamlet in a way only The Simpsons could. Don't believe all that you see as an accurate account. Truly funny if you like The Simpsons




5 Hamlet _To be or not to be_ Soliloquies.mp4 5 Hamlet _To be or not to be_ Soliloquies.mp4
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<---This is a file of the Five Hamlets. Click to save it in your Google Drive. Then open to view it with Media Player.


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