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Questions tagged [william-shakespeare]

Questions about the workes of William Shakspeare, who writ many a famous plaie and poem. For questions about his plaies, may it please you to add a tag for the plaie (e.g. [hamlet]); for questions about his sonnets, may it please you to add the tag [poetry].

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When and why did the spelling "Shakespeare" become standardized?

Six specimens of William Shakespeare's signature survive. In none of them does he spell his own name "Shakespeare". Three of the signatures abbreviate his name. Of those that do not, two use ...
verbose's user avatar
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Why is 'Hamlet' considered one of the very best plays ever?

When an intellectual work (philosophy book, literary book, painting etc) is studied there are (at least) two principal questions to be addressed: What is this work about? Why is this work important? ...
Outcast's user avatar
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What are the indications that in writing his plays Shakespeare sometimes thought of the special abilities of the actors?

Many of Shakespeare's plays were written to be performed by a specific group of actors, the Lord Chamberlain's Men (later called the King's Men), with the result that several famous roles in different ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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When/where was "Mem and Zin" first compared to "Romeo and Juliet"?

Mem and Zin is a Kurdish classic love story written down in 1692 and is based on a true story, laid down from generation to generation through oral tradition. It appears to be often compared to ...
bobble's user avatar
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(How) have the interpretations of Macbeth's ending evolved over time?

I just attended a performance of Macbeth that ended on a much more ambivalent note than Shakespeare's original text. Instead of Malcolm and his posse picking up the shambles and Malcolm motivating his ...
Cahir Mawr Dyffryn æp Ceallach's user avatar
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How have attitudes toward "plagiarism" in literature changed since the Elizabethan era?

It's generally well-known that many of Shakespeare's dramas were "inspired" by, "plagiarised" from or otherwise "copies" of existing works. I use these terms advisedly ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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633 views

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 convinced ...
SAH's user avatar
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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 ...
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5 votes
1 answer
309 views

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 just ...
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Is the "dear Brutus" speech ironic?

After reading Shakespeare I'm never certain if I've understood it correctly. An example is the Dear Brutus speech in Julius Caesar. Cassius: Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world Like a ...
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Why does Georgia connect so well with the clown's song?

In Alice Oseman's Loveless, after several failed scenes where Georgia has difficulty acting romantic roles, Pip gets her to try being the clown in Twelfth Night. This goes swimmingly: "Come away,...
bobble's user avatar
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The motif of Tom O' Bedlam

The 17th-century motif of Tom O' Bedlam has always been one that I hold much affection and wonder for (as can be assumed by the choice of username on my part.) The motif most famously makes an ...
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How do scholars estimate the original number of copies of the Shakespeare First Folio of 1623?

The first collected edition of Shakespeare's plays was printed in 1623, several years after the author's death, and is known is the First Folio. (Later editions are known as the Second Folio, etc., ...
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How close to actual incantations are the witches' spells in Macbeth?

Answers to a recent question about the superstition surrounding Macbeth linked to a Royal Shakespeare Company web page that claimed: According to folklore, Macbeth was cursed from the beginning. A ...
verbose's user avatar
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286 views

Portrayal of Henry Bolingbroke through different Shakespeare plays

King Henry IV of England, also known as Henry Bolingbroke, appears in three Shakespeare plays, with two of them being named after him. In Richard II, he can be seen as the main antagonist of the play, ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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Comparison between Beatrice of Much Ado About Nothing and Offred of The Handmaids tale

Compare and contrast the way Offred in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Beatrice in William Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing view romantic love. Discuss 2 similarities and 2 differences (...
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Silence in Shakespeare's "The Winter's Tale" and "The Tempest"

I'd like to know what silence means in those two plays, especially when performed by Leontes and Antonio. Does it have a particular meaning, is it a sign of redemption or regret? (The Winter's Tale ...
Linda's user avatar
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Do contemporary neo-pagan practices such as Wicca regard the portrayal of witchcraft in Shakespeare and Middleton as reliable sources?

A recent question asks whether the portrayal of witchcraft in Macbeth can be related to actual practices of those professing to be witches during Shakespeare's day. This companion question asks about ...
verbose's user avatar
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210 views

Perception of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet by contemporaries

It is a common trope that high schoolers, and perhaps many more people, view Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet as overdone and somewhat cheesy and shallow, for lack of better words. Would it have been ...
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Does Shakespeare steer the reader's sympathy towards Venus or towards Adonis?

In the narrative poem Venus and Adonis, Shakespeare reuses a story from Ovid's Metamorphoses (which he often used as a source of inspiration), but gives it an original spin: Venus's desire is ...
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Does this passage in King Lear develop the theme of compassion or truth?

This is from Act 5 Scene 3 of King Lear: A plague upon you, murderers, traitors all! I might have saved her. Now she’s gone for ever.— Cordelia, Cordelia, stay a little. Ha? What is ’t thou say’st?—...
Eugenejarl's user avatar