The Merry Wives of Windsor was written at the end of the 16th century, and is what I would call – using the technical term – one of Shakespeare’s “puff-ball” plays. Like Comedy of Errors, the play is a farce: it’s about action, not about the deep questions that keep people up at night. These… Continue Reading »
Posts Categorized: Inside-the-plays
Shakespeare’s plays are full of references to food and cookery, but they’re not always very appetizing. In Hamlet, the ghost of elder Hamlet describes the effect of the poison that Claudius pours into his ears, how it winds its way through the veins of his body and suddenly “doth posset / And curd, like eager… Continue Reading »
In 1608, famine plagued England. Preachers responded with sermons begging the gentry to show compassion for the poor, King James I responded with royal proclamations against grain hoarding, and Shakespeare responded with Coriolanus, a Roman revenge-tragedy. Likely composed in 1608 and staged c. 1609-1610, Coriolanus opens with starving citizens storming the stage with rakes, pikes,… Continue Reading »
In the image above, Constance Collier, magnificent as the dying Cleopatra, sits on her throne in a dimly-lit room, light sparkling off her crown, belt and spangled train. This 1906-07 London production of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra is considered a high point in the stage history of that play, with director/actor Herbert Beerbohm-Tree sparing no… Continue Reading »
Just in time for Halloween, we rank the five spookiest ghosts in Shakespeare’s plays.
Desdemona and Emilia’s friendship inspires resistance and the courage to speak the truth, resulting in Iago’s exposure and Desdemona’s exoneration.
In Henry IV, Part 1, Shakespeare created Lady Percy and Lady Mortimer out of the fragments of history, giving them voices that appeal freshly to us today.
The Hostess seems to have been a favorite character from the beginning, ruling the tavern where Prince Hal hangs out with Falstaff. Evidently aware of her popularity with audiences, Shakespeare developed her character further in later plays, where she evolves into Mistress Quickly.
Love’s Labor’s Lost is one of three Shakespeare plays without a primary source (the others being A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest), but that doesn’t mean it was created in a vacuum. Using four items from the Folger collection, we explore some of the contemporary influences Shakespeare might have drawn on when writing this… Continue Reading »
Happy New Year! We picked out four awful ideas for New Year’s resolutions from Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labor’s Lost” and added some hints for improvements.