Posts Categorized: Inside-the-plays

“Woeful tragedy,” indeed

“We’re told from a young age that tragedy teaches us important things about what it means to be human. But does it actually teach us anything, or simply reveal what we already know?” writes Austin Tichenor, who looks at Shakespeare’s tragedies and comedies–and suggests it’s the comedies that are underrated.


Introducing Shakespeare and Greek Myths: Theseus and Hippolyta

Welcome to our new Shakespeare and Greek Myths series. We’re starting off with Theseus and Hippolyta–figures who are not only referred to in the plays, but are also fully formed characters in two of them: A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Two Noble Kinsmen. But who are they and what are their backstories?



Richard III: My kingdom for a horse

“My kingdom for a horse!” A titanic villain in Shakespeare’s history plays, Richard III departs the stage and this life at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Mark the battle’s anniversary with these posts and podcast episodes.


“This is the English, not the Turkish court”: Ottomans in Shakespeare’s Henriad

In Shakespeare’s Henriad – Richard II (1595), Henry IV Part I (1596), Henry IV Part II (1597), and Henry V (1599) – English Christian characters frequently employ negative Turkish tropes when criticizing each other’s corrupt political agendas. However, these tropes differ from the more positive characterizations of the Ottomans found in English chronicles of Turkish history. By… Continue Reading »


“Good Peter Quince:” Shakespeare’s most autobiographical character

 A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream is one of William Shakespeare’s most popular plays, and for good reason. Frequently a young person’s introduction to the playwright’s work, it’s an entertaining comedy filled with magical fairies, earnest lovers, and funny mechanicals (as well as — in the best productions — intensely earnest mechanicals and lovers who are also… Continue Reading »


Better than laughing: Renaissance melancholy

The most famous book about Renaissance melancholy, Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), celebrates its four hundredth anniversary this year. Though it was published five years after Shakespeare’s death, it gathers together ideas about melancholy from antiquity right through to the seventeenth century.


20 Shakespeare quotes about love

The word “love” appears 2,146 times in Shakespeare’s collected works (including a handful of “loves” and “loved”). Add to that 59 instances of “beloved” and 133 uses of “loving” and you’ve got yourself a “whole lotta love.” So, what does Shakespeare have to say about love? Here are 20 quotations from the Bard about love.