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Shakespeare Questions

 Shakespeare's Life
 Romeo and Juliet

 King Lear
 The Taming of the Shrew

 A Midsummer Night's Dream
 As You Like It
 Love's Labour's Lost
 The Tempest

 The Merchant of Venice
 Much Ado About Nothing
 Henry IV
 Henry VIII

 King John
 Henry V
 Richard II
 Richard III

 Troilus and Cressida
 Twelfth Night
 Comedy of Errors
 The Sonnets and Poems

 Shakespeare's Influence
 Quotes from Shakespeare
 The Globe
 General Shakespeare Questions


Bard Bites

Elizabethan playhouses were open to the public eye at every turn, and scenery could not be changed in between scenes because there was no curtain to drop. Read on...

Most early editors removed five lines from Romeo and Juliet for the sake of common decency. Which lines caused such scandal? Find out...

The Elizabethans tried to cure this frightening disease with the inhalation of vaporized mercury salts. Read on...

On Shakespeare's Pathos

"Shakespeare's pathos, and it may be added his melancholy also, lies quite close to his humour; and the reason for this is manifest when we enquire into the nature of both. Since his pathos consists largely in a conflict of agreeable and painful emotions, a slight change in texture may readily give us, instead of a pathos enlivened by humour, a humour sweetened with pathos."
J. F. Pyre, Shakespeare's Pathos (1916)

Related Resources

 How to Study Shakespeare
 How to Analyze a Shakespearean Sonnet
 Shakespeare's Blank Verse

 Going to a Play in Elizabethan London
 Entertainment in Elizabethan England
 Shocking Elizabethan Drama
 The King's Men

 Shakespeare Characters A to Z
 Top 10 Shakespeare Plays

 Shakespeare's Metaphors and Similes
 Shakespeare on Old Age
 Shakespeare's Heroines
 Shakespeare's Attention to Details

 Shakespeare's Portrayals of Sleep
 Words Shakespeare Invented
 Shakespeare's Impact on Other Writers
 What Inspired Shakespeare?
 Reasons Behind Shakespeare's Influence

 Macbeth Essays and Study Guide
 Othello Essays and Study Guide
 Romeo and Juliet Essays and Study Guide
 Julius Caesar Essays and Study Guide

 Essays on The Tempest
 Essays on The Merchant of Venice
 Essays on A Midsummer Night's Dream
 Essays on Twelfth Night

 Shakespeare's Metaphors
 Shakespeare's Language


Quick Quote

microsoft imagesSo shaken as we are, so wan with care,
Find we a time for frighted peace to pant,
And breathe short-winded accents of new broils
To be commenced in strands afar remote.
(King Henry IV, Part 1, 1.1.1-4), King Henry

The play opens one year after the death of Richard II, and King Henry is making plans for a crusade to the Holy Land to cleanse himself of the guilt he feels over the usurpation of Richard's crown. But the crusade must be postponed when Henry learns that Welsh rebels, led by Owen Glendower, have defeated and captured Mortimer. Although the brave Henry Percy, nicknamed Hotspur, has quashed much of the uprising, there is still much trouble in Scotland. Read on...

 1 Henry IV Overview (with theme analysis)
 Introduction to Prince Hal
 Shakespeare's Falstaff
 1 Henry IV Plot Summary


In the Spotlight

Homework Help: Macbeth

Was the hope drunk
Wherein you dress'd yourself? hath it slept since?
And wakes it now, to look so green and pale
At what it did so freely?
(Macbeth, 1.7.35-8), Lady Macbeth

1) To paraphrase Lady Macbeth: "Was the hope you shrouded yourself in drunk? Has it been sleeping since? Does it wake up now, hung over, to look shamefully at what it did when intoxicated?"

2) This clash of two metaphors ('hope' being a person and clothing at the same time) is a continuation of the clothing imagery seen in the preceding passage:

Macbeth. I have bought
Golden opinions from all sorts of people,
Which would be worn now in their newest gloss,
Not cast aside so soon. (1.7.32-5) (See E. A. Abbott, A Shakespearian Grammer, p.438)

Click here for more detailed help with key words and passages in Act 1 of Macbeth.


Quote in Context

By love, that first did prompt me to enquire.
He lent me counsel, and I lent him eyes.
I am no pilot, yet, wert thou as far
As that vast shore wash'd with the furthest sea,
I should adventure for such merchandise.
(Romeo and Juliet, 2.2.84-88), Romeo

Here Romeo unintentionally reiterates his earlier assertion that fate is his true pilot:
He that hath the steerage of my course
Direct my sail! (1.4.112-13)
Note how Romeo uses the same motif at the sorrowful end of the lovers' journey, apostrophizing the poison itself as his final pilot:
Thou bitter pilot, now at once run on
The dashing rocks thy seasick weary bark! (5.3.117-18)
Click here for more on the famous balcony scene.

How Many Plays?

The general consensus is that Shakespeare wrote thirty-seven plays. However, no one can know for certain because of the inexact documentation at the time the plays were first being organized and published. If we include The Two Noble Kinsmen and two lost plays attributed to Shakespeare, Cardenio and Love's Labour's Won, then we could say he wrote, either alone or in collaboration, forty plays. Read on...