Explore Shakespeare’s plays in relation to the social, political and cultural context in which they were written, and in which they have been interpreted over the last four centuries.
Having one actor play more than role was convenient for Shakespeare, whose acting company was limited in size, but doubling also enabled him to intensify the atmosphere of his plays, and to make connections and contrasts between scenes and storylines. Emma Smith explores the way that the doubling in A Midsummer Night's Dream heightens the play's dreamlike and fantastical elements.Read more
Both A Midsummer Night's Dream and Twelfth Night take their names from seasonal celebrations. Francois Laroque considers the cultural and theatrical context for Shakespeare's festive comedies, and their exploration of merrymaking, disguise and the natural world.Read more
Explore Shakespeare’s plays by theme.
Explore a selection of collection items that relate to Shakespeare and the context in which his plays were written.
Explore 15 of Shakespeare’s plays.
Romeo and Juliet begins with a Chorus setting the scene in the Italian city of Verona, where the Capulets and the ...
The title page of the first quarto printing of The Merchant of Venice (1600) gives a succinct summary of the plot: ...