Explore the works of Shakespeare and Renaissance writers in relation to the social, political and cultural context in which they were written, and investigate the ways in which these works 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
Focussing on Act 1, Scene 2 of The Tempest, John Gordon analyses the characters of Ariel and Prospero through the frame of magic and power.Read more
The character of Ophelia has fascinated directors, actresses, writers and painters since she first appeared on stage. Here Elaine Showalter discusses Ophelia's madness as a particularly female malady, showing how from Shakespeare's day to our own Ophelia has been used both to reflect and to challenge evolving ideas about female psychology and sexuality.Read more
Using a close analysis of the characters’ traits, actions and language, Carol Atherton considers how Shakespeare presents Goneril, Regan and Edmund as the villains of King Lear.Read more
Explore Shakespeare and Renaissance writers by theme.
Explore a selection of collection items that relate to Shakespeare, Renaissance writers and the context in which they produced their plays, poetry and other work.
Explore key plays and poems by Shakespeare and Renaissance writers.
John Donne is most famous now for his witty and complex love poems, but he also produced satires, occasional poems ...
Romeo and Juliet begins with a Chorus setting the scene in the Italian city of Verona, where the Capulets and the ...
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Pictures and quotations to celebrate the life and works of 'the bard'