71 Questions for the topic William Shakespeare

Why was Ophelia psychologically ill in the Shakespearean play Hamlet?

In the Shakespearean play Hamlet Ophelia became psychologically ill. Was it because of Hamlet's behavior or how society treated her or what's the real reason behind her sudden illness? Did... more

Is Harry Hotspur portrayed as a villain in Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part I?

Having studied Shakespeare's play *Henry IV, Part I* and seen a performance of it in Stratford, I'm still uncertain of how we're meant to view the character of Henry Percy (Harry Hotspur). Clearly... more

The Merchant of Venice?

İs there any short version of the merchant of Venice to play? We are going to play it in our class but the problem is that the story is too long and we don't have enough time for all of it. I need... more

Analysing a quote from Much Ado About Nothing?

I have analyzed a quote from the play *Much Ado About Nothing* with the question, "How is reputation shown in the play?" Leonato is a king and does not want his reputation to be ruined due to the... more

Why does Shakespeare's Julius Caesar switch to Latin for the "Et tu, Brute" line?

Like all of Shakespeare's plays, his *Julius Caesar* is of course written and performed almost entirely in English. But there is one line of this particular play - perhaps the most famous - which... more

Why doesn't Hamlet like improvisation?

In Shakespeare's play Hamlet, Hamlet has a famous monologue about how to properly perform a play. During one portion of the monologue, he has some harsh words for people who improvise: > O,... more

Why didn't Hamlet's modifications to the theater troupe's play "tip off" anyone else?

When a theater troupe visits Hamlet's castle, he makes some... rather pointed changes to their show, which now includes a murder much like the one his uncle performed. Why didn't anyone else... more

How does Shakespeare's iambic pentameter work with Original Pronunciation?

In school, students are often taught about iambic pentameter via [Shakespearian examples](http://shakespeare.about.com/od/shakespeareslanguage/a/Iambic-Pentameter-Examples.htm). These, however,... more

Shakespeare making fun of Shakespeare: listing all of the self-deprecating meta-references in Shakespeare's plays?

One of the things I've noticed through reading Shakespeare is that a lot of his plays include a meta-reference making fun of the play. For example, in *Twelfth Night* Fabian says "If this were... more

Why does Macbeth move to and fortify Dunsinane?

The witches tell Macbeth that he will be defeated only if Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane. This should give Macbeth a very good reason to *avoid* Dunsinsane, so that his enemies never focus on it.... more

Is Macbeth or Lady Macbeth the real villain in Shakespeare's play?

In Shakespeare's play *Macbeth*, it is Macbeth himself, the eponymous antihero, who meets the witches upon the heath and first conceives the idea to murder his king. It is he who kills Duncan,... more

Inconsistencies in the character of Horatio in Hamlet?

In the Shakespearean tragedy **Hamlet**, Horatio is a friend and "fellow student" of the eponymous prince. A meticulous reading of the text will reveal certain apparent inconsistencies in the... more

What caused the feud between the Capulets and the Montagues?

As I understand it, the scholarship has so far not compellingly answered a significant question of the text of *Romeo and Juliet*; namely, why the Capulets and the Montagues are at war. I am... more

Is there any significance in Shakespeare's use of the name "Laertes" (name of the father of Odysseus) in Hamlet?

Is there any significance in Shakespeare's use of "Laertes" (name of the father of Odysseus) in Hamlet? Do we associate the name with The Odyssey more strongly than Shakespeare, to whom it was... more

Is there any connection between Paris of Troy and Paris of Verona?

I just noticed that a character in Shakespeare's *Romeo and Juliet* has the same name as a character in Homer's *Iliad*: **Paris.** In both stories, Paris is one of two men who wish to be with the... more

Why does Portia say this in The Merchant of Venice?

In Act III Scene 2 of *The Merchant of Venice* by William Shakespeare, > Portia : One half of me is yours, the other half yours. Mine own, I would say; but if mine then yours. Roughly... more

In Early Modern English, how did 'see' semantically shift to mean 'note/record'?

John McWhorter [PhD Linguistics (Stanford)](https://americanstudies.columbia.edu/people/john-h-mcwhorter). [*Words on the Move*... more

The meaning of "The rest is silence" in "Hamlet"?

Hamlet's very last words are > The rest is silence. What do they actually mean? This being Shakespeare, I reckon the significance of these words cannot be only the banal comparison between... more

Is Hamlet correct when he says "it is an honest ghost"?

The Ghost in *Hamlet* claims to be Hamlet's father's spirit released from Purgatory. Is it possible that the Ghost is lying? Has it been sent from Hell to stir up mischief in Elsinore? (The play... more

Is Caliban of Shakespeare's "The Tempest" based on a real life character?

In the book **‘Over the Edge of the World’** the author Laurence Bergreen has described Ferdinand Magellan's daring circumnavigation of the globe in the sixteenth century was a three-year odyssey... more

Did Shakespeare consider Julius Caesar a tyrant or a martyr?

I've seen the Shakespeare play *Julius Caesar* interpreted in two different ways (by people with different social and political views, naturally): - **either** Caesar as a power-mad tyrant who got... more

What a piece of work is man - echo in The Lord of the Rings?

In The Fellowship of the Ring, after Gandalf tells Frodo the story of the One Ring and challenges him to destroy it, Frodo looks at the ring and we read this description: > how rich and... more

Tudor or Jacobean plays that are sequels to a Shakespeare play?

William Shakespeare wrote around 40 plays (depending on how the Shakespeare canon is defined). Except for some of his history plays (*Henry IV*, *Henry VI*) and possibly *The Merry Wives of... more

What's the meaning of the text in the scroll that the Prince of Arragon finds in the silver casket in Act 2, Scene 9 of The Merchant of Venice?

This is the exact text (*The Merchant of Venice*, Act 2 Scene 9): >Arragon: >The fire seven times tried this, >Seven times tried that judgment is, >That did never choose... more

Looking for an essay comparing Beethoven to Hamlet?

I read an essay in school--I think a survey course on British literature--that compared the music of Beethoven to the soliloquies of Hamlet; the essay said that Beethoven's music is "spoken"... more
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