Shakespeare’s witches haven’t always terrified audiences. For a century and more – from the late 17th to the early 19th centuries – actors played these parts for laughs. During the period in which Shakespeare became “the Bard”, the witches in fact brought a large dose of comedy to Shakespeare’s bloody tragedy. The origins of this surprising, but long-lasting, stage interpretation go back to 1664.
Take this quiz to see if you remember what comes after famous lines from Shakespeare plays like “All the world’s a stage” and “Parting is such sweet sorrow”.
One of the lasting achievements of the extended COVID quarantine will surely be an extraordinary archive of the complete works of William Shakespeare performed on Zoom by casts from around the world, under the umbrella title The Show Must Go Online (TSMGO).
Where do you turn for answers to pressing questions? You might glance at a weather forecast, the latest political polls, a book of theology or philosophy—or flip a coin. People living in the early modern period likewise had their ways of seeking solutions to life’s puzzles and finding guidance in the face of uncertainty. Besides prayer, a common practice was to turn to astrology and read the heavens for their influences upon human agents. Indeed, it is hard to overstate how pervasive astrological belief was during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. At once esoteric and yet imminently practical, Renaissance astrology touched upon all sectors of early modern lives.
Does a rose by any other name smell as sweet? Can we capture the perfumes of the past to savor in the present? This blog post looks at two 21st-century perfumes that try to market their scents by evoking early modern English royalty. These perfumes attempt to transport the wearer through an olfactive time machine to Renaissance England, and to refashion a whole epoch of British history, distilled to its most enduring and distinctive scent: the rose. But how does one create a perfume that can claim to smell of “Tudor” or “Elisabethan” rose?
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.