Themes

Explore Shakespeare’s plays by theme.

Comedies theme

Comedies

From cross dressing in Twelfth Night to magical storms in The Tempest; from deception in Much Ado to doubling in Midsummer Night’s Dream, discover the beauty and complexity of Shakespeare’s comedies.

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Tragedies theme

Tragedies

From Hamlet’s melancholy to Juliet’s eloquence; and from Lear’s madness to Othello’s misunderstanding, discover the richness of Shakespeare’s tragedies.

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Histories theme

Histories

From the staging of disability to the influence of Machiavelli, explore Shakespeare’s history plays.

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Context theme

Shakespeare’s life and world

From the open air Globe to the candlelit Blackfriars; from countryside to city; and from noblemen to strangers, discover the world that shaped Shakespeare’s work and that influenced his legacy.

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‘Unsex Me Here’: Lady Macbeth’s ‘Hell Broth’

Gender, sexuality, courtship and marriage

From courtship rituals to cross-dressing, examine the ways in which Shakespeare explored identity and gender roles

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Misunderstanding in Othello

Ethnicity and identity

From Othello and Shylock to depictions of the ‘New World’ and anti-immigration riots, explore Shakespeare’s fascination with ethnic identity

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Manhood and the ‘milk of human kindness’ in Macbeth

Power and politics

A murdered king, a homeless ruler, an exiled Duke with magical powers: discover Shakespeare’s fascination with power and powerlessness

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Tempestuous Words: The Tempest and Shakespeare’s linguistic innovation

Global Shakespeare

Discover how Shakespeare’s work was influenced by other cultures, and how it’s been interpreted in nations across the world for 400 years.

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King Lear: madness, the fool and poor Tom

Interpretations of ‘Madness’

From Lear’s breakdown to Ophelia’s malady, examine the ways in which Shakespeare depicts ideas of ‘madness’

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Deception and dramatic irony in Much Ado About Nothing

Deception, drama and misunderstanding

Investigate the ways in which Shakespeare explores miscommunication, dishonesty, trickery and the nature of theatre

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Verbing: Shakespeare’s linguistic innovation

Language, word play and text

Prose and verse, word play, neologisms and rhetoric: discover Shakespeare’s innovative and experimental use of language.

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dreams and doubling themes

Magic, illusion and the supernatural

Mischievous fairies, monstrous apparitions and scheming witches: examine the ways in which Shakespeare played with the magical and supernatural

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View our Shakespeare-inspired range

Shakespeare in Ten Acts

Shakespeare in Ten Acts (paperback)

Ten leading experts take a fresh look at Shakespeare

£15

Shakespeare Desk

Shakespeare Desk Diary 2017

Pictures and quotations to celebrate the life and works of 'the bard'

£6.50

Shakespeare Star Wars

William Shakespeare's Star Wars

George Lucas's Star Wars retold in the style of the immortal Bard of Avon

£11.99