Much Ado in the Era of #MeToo

This Friday we will be looking at the culminating scene of Much Ado About Nothing, the wedding scene. For those of you that don’t know, this is when Claudio publicly shames Hero at the altar for her alleged infidelity. Afterwards, Beatrice talks with Benedick and delivers some of her most powerful lines. Beatrice expresses her … Continue reading Much Ado in the Era of #MeToo

The Meaning of Nothing

Much like everything in Shakespeare, the meaning behind his words has multiple layers. The meaning behind the title of Much Ado About Nothing is no exception, especially when you look at the word “nothing”. You wouldn’t think there could be so much meaning behind a word that literally means...well...nothing or no thing or no nonspecific … Continue reading The Meaning of Nothing

Why War with France?

Since the primary focus of Henry V is his campaigns in France, I thought it would be helpful to review exactly why he wants to bother with conquering France in the first place (besides, you know, glory). Henry V decides to restart the war started by his grandfather, Edward III, known as the Hundred Years … Continue reading Why War with France?

Decontructing the Tudor Myth

By usurping Richard III in 1485, Henry Tudor (now Henry VII) brought about the end of the Wars of the Roses, decades of turmoil for the English people. The Tudor Dynasty meant a long period of peace and prosperity for England...at least that is what they wanted us to believe. Unfortunately for the Tudors, Henry’s … Continue reading Decontructing the Tudor Myth

Introduction to Henry IV, Part 1

It will surprise no one to know that Shakespeare took a fair amount of creative liberty when presenting the history of Henry IV's reign. He did this in part to create a more compelling story and in part to satisfy the Tudor propaganda that was extremely relevant to his ability to produce plays. First, he … Continue reading Introduction to Henry IV, Part 1

Portia: Independent and Controlled

Since I touched on the anti-Semitism in my introduction, I thought I would try to take the road less travelled (or at least the road less congested) and discuss Portia. I found Portia to be a striking female character because she exists in this grey area in between being independent and being under the control … Continue reading Portia: Independent and Controlled

The Merchant of Venice Discussion Guide

Introducing students to The Merchant of Venice is tricky, but directly confronting the issues that make it so can lead to several interesting and necessary discussions. What is anti-semitism and how has it appeared throughout history? It is important to take the time to identify the stereotypes and develop and understanding of how those stereotypes … Continue reading The Merchant of Venice Discussion Guide

Richard II and Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I was famously supposed to have compared herself to Richard II. We may find that surprising to think of today because she is remembered as Gloriana, a great Queen. However, late in her reign when Richard II was written, this was not that surprising of a comparison. As the Queen aged, eyes started looking … Continue reading Richard II and Elizabeth I

Female Complexity in Taming of the Shrew

In The Taming of the Shrew, we see two sisters pitted against each other. Bianca is a perfect example of feminine virtue. She is obedient, soft-spoken, and studious. Katherine, however, is the exact opposite. She is outspoken, even rude sometimes, about what she wants and thinks. However, if we look more closely at these two … Continue reading Female Complexity in Taming of the Shrew

Taming of the Shrew: Introduction

Understanding the Many Readings of the Play The Taming of the Shrew can be a drastically polarizing play to those who study and perform Shakespeare. Like most of his plays, it can be interpreted in a wide variety of ways, but the two main readings of Shrew are particularly divisive. Some read it as a … Continue reading Taming of the Shrew: Introduction