The Soothsayer says, “Beware the Ides of March.” Suddenly a chill falls on Caesar’s festive procession to the forum to celebrate the Lupercalia at the opening of Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar. The line is repeated three times—once by Brutus and twice by the Soothsayer—but is brushed aside by Caesar who responds, “He is a dreamer…. Continue Reading »
“If music be the food of love, play on…” At the National Music Museum in South Dakota, Shakespeare’s First Folio is surrounded by musical instruments from the playwright’s era, including the only English-made Renaissance cittern (c. 1579) known to survive today.
Fifty of the most important manuscripts and printed works related to Shakespeare’s life and career are on display in the Folger exhibition Shakespeare, Life of an Icon, curated by Heather Wolfe. Some of these documents mark important milestones for Shakespeare as a playwright and a poet. Others offer insight into how his work was received… Continue Reading »
In Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the magician Prospero conjures up a storm, charms his daughter to sleep, and uses his power to control Ariel and other spirits. Is this magic for real, or is Prospero pulling off elaborate illusions? Fascinated by this question and by Prospero’s relinquishing of magic at the play’s end, Teller (of the magic/comedy… Continue Reading »
Shakespeare, Life of an Icon, the first of four special exhibitions at the Folger Shakespeare Library in 2016, offers a fresh and intimate perspective on William Shakespeare as the London playwright, bestselling poet, and man from Stratford. This once-in-a-lifetime assemblage shares the documents that show us Shakespeare the man, four hundred years after his death.
In preparing for the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s and Miguel de Cervantes’ deaths, it is worth considering the writing they produced toward the end of their careers, particularly since these works bear striking similarities in setting, plot, and theme. For Shakespeare, this group of plays, categorized as romances, includes Pericles (1606-1608), Cymbeline (1608-1610), The… Continue Reading »