Posts Tagged: Shakespeare

Shakespeare and Cervantes: Dying well after living well

In The Art of Dying Well, the Italian Jesuit Robert Bellarmine, a contemporary of William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes, declares, “True, therefore, is the sentence, ‘He who lives well, dies well;’ and, ‘He who lives ill, dies ill.’” This year marks the 400th anniversary of the deaths of Cervantes and Shakespeare—what might these two… Continue Reading »


Orson Welles and the Voodoo ‘Macbeth’ that launched his directing career

Can you feel the feverish excitement in the air? This photograph from April 14, 1936, shows the crowded streets outside the Lafayette Theatre in Harlem on opening night for the Federal Theatre Project’s Macbeth, directed by a young Orson Welles. (He was only 20 years old!) The Federal Theatre Project’s Negro Unit was a New Deal program under the… Continue Reading »


Shakespeare belongs to all of us

Shakespeare died 400 years ago this week. Who cares? Well, millions and millions of people. Shakespeare remains the most produced playwright in America. Over 90% of American high school students study his plays and poetry, not to mention half of all secondary school students around the world. His reach as a cultural force extends well… Continue Reading »


Reduced Shakespeare Company and the golden age of Shakespeare parodies

A high point in the Folger Shakespeare Library’s 2016 celebration of Shakespeare, The Wonder of Will, is the return appearance of the Reduced Shakespeare Company—the other RSC—and its world premiere of William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged) at Folger Theatre. The fact that a comic version of Shakespeare is being performed in a theater that shares… Continue Reading »


Celebrating Shakespeare at 400

The Wonder of Will Live Watch the live broadcast of The Wonder of Will Live on Saturday, April 23, at noon EDT, on C-SPAN2’s Book TV or streaming online. Hear Shakespeare stories from Kal Penn, Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, NASA’s chief scientist, and other featured guests. The live event, held in the beautiful… Continue Reading »


‘Worlds Elsewhere’: Shakespeare’s imagination roaming far and free

William Shakespeare is a global phenomenon. In the four centuries since his death, the British playwright’s works have appeared at times and places where we might least expect them. Why is this so? Shakespeare was no world traveler. So then why do his plays appeal to and resonate with so many different peoples? Andrew Dickson set… Continue Reading »


Portraits in Hamlet: ‘Look here upon this picture, and on this’

One of the oldest theatrical legends about Shakespeare is that he played the ghost in Hamlet. We know that Shakespeare was both an actor and a playwright, but we have no idea whether he acted this small, but memorable role. Yet if he did, he certainly would have enjoyed the “closet scene” between Hamlet and… Continue Reading »


King and Country: Shakespeare treasures from the Folger

A special exhibition of rare quartos, promptbooks, and other treasures from the Folger collection accompanies the Royal Shakespeare Company staging of King and Country: Shakespeare’s Great Cycle of Kings at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York this month.


Quiz: Shakespeare’s Fools

Shakespeare’s plays are filled with fools like the ones pictured above, from Touchstone in As You Like It, to Feste in Twelfth Night—as well as characters in strong comedic roles, such as the Gravedigger, in Hamlet, or Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing. Can you match the name of the fool to the line that he… Continue Reading »


Quiz: Can you identify the Shakespeare play by only the first line?

Test your Shakespeare knowledge and take our quiz! Can you identify the Shakespeare quiz by the first line? See if you can identify the play with only the first line to go by. Be warned, it gets harder as you progress. To find the text of all the plays for free online, visit www.folgerdigitaltexts.org. “Two… Continue Reading »