‘Worlds Elsewhere’: Shakespeare’s imagination roaming far and free

William Shakespeare is a global phenomenon. In the four centuries since his death, the British playwright’s works have appeared at times and places where we might least expect them. Why is this so? Shakespeare was no world traveler. So then why do his plays appeal to and resonate with so many different peoples? Andrew Dickson set… Continue Reading »


Portraits in Hamlet: ‘Look here upon this picture, and on this’

One of the oldest theatrical legends about Shakespeare is that he played the ghost in Hamlet. We know that Shakespeare was both an actor and a playwright, but we have no idea whether he acted this small, but memorable role. Yet if he did, he certainly would have enjoyed the “closet scene” between Hamlet and… Continue Reading »


King and Country: Shakespeare treasures from the Folger

A special exhibition of rare quartos, promptbooks, and other treasures from the Folger collection accompanies the Royal Shakespeare Company staging of King and Country: Shakespeare’s Great Cycle of Kings at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York this month.


Quiz: Shakespeare’s Fools

Shakespeare’s plays are filled with fools like the ones pictured above, from Touchstone in As You Like It, to Feste in Twelfth Night—as well as characters in strong comedic roles, such as the Gravedigger, in Hamlet, or Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing. Can you match the name of the fool to the line that he… Continue Reading »



Cervantes, the Moors of Spain, and the Moor of Venice

Of all Shakespeare’s plays, Othello is the one that is most frequently compared to Spanish literature in the age of Cervantes. This is due in large part to the role that jealousy plays in driving Othello to kill Desdemona. We might recall Iago’s famous warning: “O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; / It is the… Continue Reading »


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