Global Shakespeare

Discover how Shakespeare’s work was influenced by other cultures, and how in turn it’s been interpreted in other nations over 400 years.

Global Shakespeare

Global Shakespeare

Article by:
Andrew Dickson

Shakespeare adapted and borrowed from the stories and traditions of other countries, and in turn his plays have been adapted, translated and performed all over the world. Andrew Dickson considers Shakespeare's global reach, and the reactions his plays have received in different countries and centuries.

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Shakespeare’s Italian journeys

Shakespeare’s Italian journeys

Article by:
Andrew Dickson

Shakespeare set many of his plays in Italy, though he almost certainly never went there. Andrew Dickson assesses how much Shakespeare knew about the country and its people, and describes how the playwright drew from myth and reality to create a rich imaginative space.

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Shakespeare and Italy

Shakespeare and Italy

Article by:
John Mullan

John Mullan explores how Italian geography, literature, culture and politics influenced the plots and atmosphere of many of Shakespeare’s plays.

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‘Deutschland ist Hamlet’: Shakespeare in Germany

‘Deutschland ist Hamlet’: Shakespeare in Germany

Article by:
Andrew Dickson

Every year, there are more performances of Shakespeare’s plays in Germany than there are in England. Andrew Dickson traces the long history of Germany's love for the Bard, and describes the way his work has been interpreted by Germans from Goethe and Brecht to the Nazis.

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What the Romans did for Shakespeare: Rome and Roman values in Shakespeare's plays

What the Romans did for Shakespeare: Rome and Roman values in Shakespeare's plays

Article by:
Andrew Dickson

Andrew Dickson discusses the influence of classical civilisation and literature on Shakespeare, and the playwright's critique of Roman values in Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus and Julius Caesar.

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Setting Shakespeare's music

Setting Shakespeare's music – and the music of Shakespeare settings

Article by:
Oliver Soden

Oliver Soden explores the challenges of creating operas based on Shakespeare’s plays.

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Multiculturalism in Shakespeare's plays

Multiculturalism in Shakespeare's plays

Article by:
Andrew Dickson

Andrew Dickson describes the position of racial and religious minorities in Renaissance England, and considers how this might have influenced Shakespeare's depiction of immigrants, outsiders and exiles.

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The Tempest and the literature of wonder

The Tempest and the literature of wonder

Article by:
Martin Butler

Martin Butler shows how Renaissance travel, trade and colonisation shaped the portrayal of Caliban and the Italians in The Tempest.

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Post-colonial reading of The Tempest

Post-colonial reading of The Tempest

Article by:
Jyotsna Singh

Post-colonial readings of The Tempest were inspired by the decolonisation movements of the 1960s and 1970s in Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America. Jyotsna Singh describes how these readings challenge more traditional interpretations of the play, questioning Prospero's ownership of the island and rethinking the role of Caliban.

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Further themes

Comedies

From cross dressing in Twelfth Night to magical storms in The Tempest; from deception in Much Ado to biting satire in The Alchemist, discover the beauty and complexity of Shakespearean and Renaissance comedies.

Tragedies

From Hamlet’s melancholy to Juliet’s eloquence; and from Othello’s misunderstanding to Doctor Faustus's damnation, discover the richness of Shakespearean and Renaissance tragedies.

Histories

From the staging of disability to the influence of Machiavelli, explore the history plays of Shakespeare and other Renaissance writers.

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.

Gender, sexuality, courtship and marriage

From courtship rituals to cross-dressing to love poetry, examine the ways in which Shakespeare and Renaissance writers explored identity, sexuality and gender roles.

Elizabethan England

Exploration and trade, crime and punishment, clothing and social structure: explore key aspects of Elizabethan life, culture and society.

Poetry

Discover close readings, critical interpretations and personal responses to Shakespeare’s sonnets, the poetry of John Donne and more.

Renaissance writers

Uncover the fascinating, colourful lives of Renaissance writers including John Donne, Ben Jonson and Christopher Marlowe, and explore key features and themes in their groundbreaking plays and poetry.

Ethnicity and identity

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

Power, politics and religion

A murdered king, a homeless ruler, a man who sells his soul to the Devil: discover how Shakespeare and other Renaissance writers represented power and powerlessness.

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.

Interpretations of ‘madness’

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

Deception, drama and misunderstanding

Investigate the ways in which Shakespeare and Renaissance writers explore miscommunication, dishonesty, trickery and the nature of theatre.

Language, word play and text

Prose and verse, word play, neologisms and rhetoric: discover how Shakespeare and Renaissance writers developed innovative and experimental uses of language.

Magic, illusion and the supernatural

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