Posts By: Shakespeare & Beyond

Up Close: An 18th-century caricature of the Shakespeare-forging William Henry Ireland and his family

This hand-colored caricature from 1797, “The Oaken Chest or the Gold Mines of Ireland, a Farce,” satirizes William Henry Ireland and his family in their forgery of the “Shakespeare Papers.” The print is full of delightful details that will make you chuckle. Get an up-close look and learn more about this Folger collection item by clicking through the arrows to see captions that zoom in on different parts of the image.


Order It: Macbeth’s “Out, out, brief candle!”

As the play’s climactic battle approaches, Macbeth is told of his wife’s death. He responds, “She should have died hereafter. There would have been a time for such a word.” And then he launches into one of Shakespeare’s most famous soliloquies, about the fleeting and fragile nature of life. Can you correctly order these lines from Act 5, Scene 5?




Up Close: A 1574 map of London

This 1574 hand-colored map of London and its surroundings shows us something of the London in which William Shakespeare lived and worked. Get an up-close look at the map and learn more about it by clicking through the arrows to see captions that zoom in on different parts of the image.




Excerpt – ‘Hamnet’ by Maggie O’Farrell

Hamnet was William Shakespeare’s only son, but he died in 1596 at the age of 11. Maggie O’Farrell’s new novel, Hamnet, imagines a story in which a young Latin tutor—penniless and bullied by a violent father—falls in love with an extraordinary, eccentric young woman. They marry and start a family in Stratford-upon-Avon. But as the… Continue Reading »


Order It: Juliet’s “What’s in a name?” speech

Juliet’s famous balcony speech begins with “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?” But what comes next? Take this quiz to see if you can correctly order the lines of the speech.


Excerpt – ‘Lady Romeo’ by Tana Wojczuk

American actress Charlotte Cushman was a 19th-century theatrical icon, known for playing traditionally male roles like Romeo and Hamlet. She was not the only actress of her time to play these parts, but her style was uniquely assertive and athletic. However, her breakout acting role was Lady Macbeth.