Quiz: The animals in Shakespeare’s plays

Kate Eastwood Norris (Launce) and Holly Twyford (Crab, the dog) in Folger Theatre’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona, 2004. Directed by Aaron Posner. Photo: Carol Pratt

Among the many creatures who populate Shakespeare’s plays, nearly all are human beings, although there are some memorable spirits, fairies, and other creatures, too. But Shakespeare also lived in a world filled with animals of all kinds, and a number of them are included in the plays—like Crab, the beloved dog of Proteus’s servant Lance, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona (above). Can you guess the animals, on or off stage, in the following scenes from the plays?


This quiz includes an illustration of a hound and a stag, a detail taken from the Trevelyon Miscellany of 1608 in the Folger collection.

If you’re interested in animals in early modern life and culture, you may want to explore our blog’s Wild Things series, which starts with this post.