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Shakespeare in American Communities is a national theater touring 
initiative made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts in 
cooperation with Arts Midwest. Performances will reach more than 
1,500 communities across all 50 states, bringing professional theater 
productions of Shakespeare and related educational activities to 
Americans throughout the country. Through the added component of 
Shakespeare for a New Generation, a special emphasis is placed on 
reaching students with limited access to the arts. 



The National Endowment for the Arts exists to foster, preserve, and 
promote excellence in the arts, to bring art to all Americans, and to 
provide leadership in arts education. Serving a nation in which artistic 
excellence is celebrated, supported, and available to all, the Arts 
Endowment is the largest annual funder of the arts in the United States. 

A^ I ■■ Arts Midwest, a nonprofit regional arts organization headquartered in 
f \/T£^ Minneapolis, connects the arts to audiences throughout Illinois. Indiana 
midwest i owa Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and 

I nless otherwise indicated, all images arc from the Folger Shakespeare Library, 
Washington, DC. home to the world's largest Shakespeare collection. To learn 
more, visit 



Introduction: To the Teacher 1 

The Elizabethan Age 2 

Elizabethan Society and Class Structure, 2 
Religion in the Elizabethan Age, 3 
Education in the Elizabethan Age, 4 

Elizabethan Theater 6 

The Life of William Shakespeare (1564-1616) 9 

Shakespeare's Plays 11 

Iambic Pentameter, 1 1 

Shakespeare in America 13 

Bon owing from the Bard, 15 

Resources 16 

Lesson Plans 17 

Modernizing Monologues, 1 7 

Stealing Lore Letters, 18 

The Scene outside the Globe, 19 

NCTE English Language Arts Standards 28 


The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to provide you 
with these special classroom materials for Shakespeare in American 
Communities. We believe that these print, audio, and video resources 
will greatly enrich the education of your students. Whether listening 
to James Earl Jones bring Shakespeare's poetry to life on our CD 
or using our lesson plans to rewrite one of the Bards famous 
monologues in their own words, your students will find ample 
opportunities to expand their knowledge, creativity, and command 
of language. 

Shakespeare in American Communities is the largest tour of 
Shakespeare in our nations history Since September 2003, the 
initiative has engaged 60 theater companies to bring new Shakespeare 
productions and special in-school programs to more than 1 ,500 
communities as well as military bases across all 50 states. The 
National Endowment for the Arts created this program in conjunction 
with Arts Midwest to revive Americas rich history of theatrical touring 
and bring great theater to a new generation of American students. 

Shakespeare in American Communities is the most ambitious project 
in the history of the National Endowment for the Arts. But this 
project cannot succeed without your support and involvement. 
What happens in your classroom is just as important as what 
happens on the stage. 

One great teacher can change a students life. At the Arts 
Endowment, our great hope is to help dedicated teachers like 
you accomplish this magic. 

Dana Gioia 

£^U^ Mgte\6L 

Chairman, National Endowment for the Arts 



Shakespeare lived during a remarkable 
period of English history, a time of 
relative political stability that followed 
and preceded eras of extensive upheaval. 
Elizabeth I became the Queen of England in 
1558, six years before Shakespeare's birth. 
During her 45-year reign, London became a 
cultural and commercial center, learning 
and literature thrived, and England 
developed into one of the major powers 
in Europe. 

When Queen Elizabeth ascended to 
the throne, there were violent clashes 
throughout Europe between Protestant 
and Catholic leaders and their followers. 
Though Elizabeth honored many of the 
Protestant edicts of her late father, King 
Henry VIII, she made significant 
concessions to Catholic sympathizers, 
which kept them from attempting rebellion. 
But when compromise was not possible, 
she was an exacting and determined leader 
who did not shy away from conflict. With 
the naval defeat of the Spanish Armada in 
1588, England was firmly established as a 
leading military and commercial power in 
the Western world. Elizabeth supported 
and later knighted Sir Francis Drake, the 
first sailor to circumnavigate the globe. She 
also funded Sir Walter Raleigh's exploration 
of the New World, which brought new 
wealth to her country in the form of 
tobacco and gold from Latin America. 

Queen Elizabeth also recognized the 
importance of the arts to the life and legacy 

of her nation. She was fond of the theater, 
and many of England's greatest playwrights 
were active during her reign, including 
Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, and 
William Shakespeare. With her permission, 

Elizabethan Society and 
Class Structure 

Elizabethan society was based on a system of 
precedence (one's ranking in society) and one's 
preferment status (the king or queen's view of 
one's standing). While the nobility remained powerful, 
the real growth in society developed within the 
merchant class, and upward class mobility became 
possible for many people. 

In Elizabethan England, there were "new" nobles 
and "old" nobles. Most of the new nobles were 
Protestant. Most of the old nobles were Roman 
Catholic. It may be tempting to view the nobility as the 
idle rich, but this was certainly not the case. The high 
offices granted by the Queen brought great financial 
burdens. The honorific titles were unpaid, and when 
foreign dignitaries visited England, they were housed 
and entertained at the expense of the nobility. The 
highest and most expensive "honor" was that of 
housing the Queen and her household as she went on 
public tours and visits throughout the country. Many 
families simply could not afford this "honor" and, at 
the risk of their preferment status, had to turn it down. 



professional theaters were built in England 
for the first time, attracting 15,000 theater- 
goers per week in London, a city of 150,000 
to 250,000. In addition to Shakespeare's 
masterpieces of the stage, Marlowe's Doctor 
Faustus, Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queen, 
and Sir Philip Sidney's Defence ofPoesie 
were all written during this golden age in 
the literary arts. The Shakespearean sonnet, 
Spenserian stanza, and dramatic blank 
verse also came into practice during the 

Upon the death of Elizabeth, King 
James I rose to power in England. A writer 
himself, he displayed a great love of 
learning, particularly theater. At the king's 
invitation, Shakespeare's theater company, 
Lord Chamberlain's Men, became known as 
the King's Men, and they produced new 
works under his patronage. King James also 
commissioned the translation of the Bible 
from Latin into English so that it might be 
more readily available to those who had not 

King James I and the 

King James Bible, right. 

studied the language of the educated 
class. Completed in 1611 by a team of 
scholars and monks, the King James 
Version of the Bible has become the best- 
selling and arguably the most-influential 
book in the world. 

Religion in the Elizabethan Age 

Religion was central to the society for which Shakespeare wrote. Queen Elizabeth made attendance at Church of 
England services mandatory, even though many church-goers had to travel long distances. People who did not attend 
— for any reason except illness — were punished with fines. (Shakespeare's father and sister were reported as absent, 
though his father's debts probably were the cause of his inability to attend church.) 

While it was not a crime to be Catholic in Elizabethan England, there was no legal way for Catholics to practice their 
faith. It was illegal to hold or to attend a mass. Powerful people, however, were less likely to be punished than others. 
Many of the upper classes were exempt from the new oaths of allegiance to the Church of England, and often wealthy 
Catholic families secretly maintained private chaplains. Elizabethan policy allowed freedom of belief as long as English 
subjects did not openly flout the law or encourage sedition. 


Unfortunately, King James surrounded 
himself with untrustworthy advisors, and 
his extravagant lifestyle strained the royal 
finances and the patience of the Puritan- 
controlled Parliament. When James died in 
1628, his son Charles I ascended to the 
throne, and tensions between Parliament 
and the Crown increased. King Charles I 
eventually lost a bloody civil war to the 
Puritans, who executed the King (his son 
Charles II fled to France). For a dozen 
years, the Puritans enacted many reforms 
which included closing the theaters. The 
Commonwealth lasted until Charles II 
returned from France, claimed the throne, 
and installed the Restoration. King Charles 
II also reopened the theaters, but England's 
theatrical highpoint had passed. 

Education in the Elizabethan Age 

Boys were educated to be useful members of 
society. Teaching techniques relied heavily on 
memorization and recitation. The language of literacy 
throughout Europe was Latin, and students were 
expected to be proficient in it. Boys started grammar 
school at the age of six or seven. Their typical school 
day ran from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Classroom 
discipline was strict, and often involved corporeal 
punishment. In the lower grades, boys studied 
Latin grammar and vocabulary. In the upper grades, 
they read the poetry and prose of writers such as 
Ovid, Martial, and Catullus. Most boys began an 
apprenticeship in a trade following grammar 
school. Sons of the nobility attended the university 
or the Inns of Court. 

Formal schooling was not encouraged for girls 
unless they were the children of nobility. For those 
who were educated, schooling focused primarily on 
chastity and the skills of housewifery. Young girls 
from wealthy families were often placed in the 
households of acquaintances where they would 
learn to read, write, keep accounts, manage a 
household and estate, and make salves. They were 
also trained in leisure skills such as singing and 

While no one would argue that Elizabethan 
England presented the greatest of opportunities for 
universal education, literacy significantly increased 
throughout the sixteenth century. By 1 600. at least 
one-third of the male population could read, and 
Puritans pushed for significantly increased funding 
of grammar schools. 



Even in an era when popular 
entertainment included public 
executions and cock-fighting, theater 
became central to Elizabethan social life. As 
drama shifted from a religious to a secular 
function in society, playwrights and poets 
were among the leading artists of the day. 
Toward the end of the sixteenth century, the 
popularity of plays written by scholars such 
as Christopher Marlowe, Robert Greene, 
John Lyly and Thomas Lodge led to 
the building of theaters and to the 
development of companies of actors, 
both professional and amateur. These 
companies of players traveled throughout 
England, generally performing in London 
in the winter and spring, and navigating 
notoriously neglected roads throughout 
the English countryside during the 
summers when plague ravaged the city. 
Professional companies were also retained 
for the private entertainment of English 

In spite of its popularity, the Elizabethan 
theater attracted criticism, censorship, and 
scorn from some sectors of English society. 
The plays were often coarse and boisterous, 
and playwrights and actors belonged to a 
bohemian class. Puritan leaders and officers 
of the Church of England considered actors 
to be of questionable character, and they 
criticized playwrights for using the stage to 
disseminate their irreverent opinions. 
They also feared the overcrowded theater 
spaces might lead to the spread of disease. 

At times throughout the sixteenth 
century, Parliament censored plays for 
profanity, heresy, or politics. But Queen 
Elizabeth and later King James offered 
protections that ultimately allowed the 
theater to survive. To appease Puritan 
concerns, the Queen established rules 
prohibiting the construction of theaters and 
theatrical performances within the London 
city limits. The rules were loosely enforced, 
however, and playhouses such as the 
Curtain, the Globe, the Rose, and the Swan 
were constructed just outside of London, 
within easy reach of the theater-going 
public. These public playhouses paved 
the way for the eventual emergence of 
professional companies as stable business 

Among the actors who performed in 
the Elizabethan theater, Richard Burbage is 
perhaps the best known. Burbage was the 
leading actor in Shakespeare's company, the 
Lord Chamberlain's Men, and he is credited 
with portraying a range of dramatic leads 
including Richard III, Hamlet, Lear, and 
Othello. An actor himself, Shakespeare 
played roles in his own plays, usually as 
older male characters. Acting was not 
considered an appropriate profession for 
women in the Elizabethan era, and even 
into the seventeenth century acting 
companies consisted of men with young 
boys playing the female roles. Instead of 
clothing reflecting the station of their 
characters, Elizabethan actors wore lavish 


The Globe Theatre, London. Detail from a map of London, 1616. 


costumes consistent with upperclass dress. 
In contrast, stage scenery was minimal, 
perhaps consisting solely of painted panels 
placed upstage. 

Elizabethan theaters were makeshift, 
dirty, and loud, but nevertheless they 
attracted audiences as large as 3,000 from all 
social classes. Performances were usually 
given in the afternoons, lasting two to three 
hours. As in both ancient and contemporary 
theaters, each section of the theater bore a 
different price of admission, with the lowest 
prices in the pit below stage level where 
patrons stood to watch the play. Most 
performance spaces were 
arranged u in-the-round," 
giving spectators the 
opportunity to watch 
both the play and the 
behavior of other 
spectators. Etiquette 
did not prohibit the 
audiences from freely 


of ihcfeucrall Comedies, Hiftories, and 1 




Louts Lab. 

IMC. 145 

The Men ! 165 

As you Like it. 


j 04 

expressing their distaste or satisfaction for 
the action on stage. 

The rich theatrical flowering begun 
by Shakespeare and his contemporaries 
continued into the seventeenth century, 
well beyond the reign of Queen Elizabeth. 
In 1642, however, with the country on the 
verge of a civil war, the Puritan Parliament 
closed the theaters and forbade stage plays 
in an edict that argued that theater 
distracted the fragmented nation from its 
efforts to "appease and avert the wrath of 
God." When King Charles II took the 
English throne in 1660, the theaters were 

reopened, and the arts 
were again celebrated. 
His reign became 
known as the 
Restoration, but the 
greatest period 
of England theater had 
already run its course. 

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The Tabic of Contents from the 
First Folio, J 62.3. 



Within the class system of 
Elizabethan England, William 
Shakespeare did not seem 
destined for greatness. He was not born into 
a family of nobility or significant wealth. He 
did not continue his formal education at 
university, nor did he come under the 
mentorship of a senior artist, nor did he 
marry into wealth or prestige. His talent as 
an actor seems to have been modest, since 
he is not known for starring roles. His 
success as a playwright depended in part 
upon royal patronage. Yet in spite of these 
limitations, Shakespeare is now the 
most performed and read playwright 
in the world. 

Born to John Shakespeare, a glove- 
maker and tradesman, and Maty 
Arden, the daughter of an affluent 
farmer, William Shakespeare was 
baptized on April 26, 1564, in 
Stratford-upon-Avon. At that time, 
infants were baptized three days 
after their birth, thus scholars believe 
that Shakespeare was born on April 23, 
the same day on which he died at age 
52. One of eight children, young 
William grew up in this small town 
one hundred miles northwest of London, 
far from the cultural and courtly center 
of England. 

Shakespeare attended the local 
grammar school, Kings New School, 
where the curriculum would have stressed 
a classical education of Greek mythology, 

An 183-1 exterior view oj Shakespeare's birthplace in 

Roman comedy, ancient history, rhetoric, 
grammar, Latin, and possibly Greek. 
Unlike his fellow playwright 
Christopher Marlowe, he did not 
attend university Rather, in 1582 
at age 18, he married Anne 
Hathaway, a woman eight years 
his senior and three months 
pregnant. Their first child. 
Susanna, was born in 
1583, and twins. Hamnet 
and Judith, came in 
1585. In the seven years 

following their birth, the 
historical record concerning 
Shakespeare is incomplete, 
contradictor), and unreliable: 
scholars refer to this period as his 
./ "lost years." 

In a 1592 pamphlet by Robert 
Greene. Shakespeare reappears as an 
"upstart crow" Happing his poetic wings 


in London. Evidently, it did not take him 
long to land on the stage. Between 1590 
and 1592, Shakespeare's Henry VI series, 
Richard III, and The Comedy oj Errors were 
performed. When the theaters were closed 
in 1593 because of the plague, the 
playwright wrote two narrative poems, 
Venus and Adonis and The Rape ofLucrece, 
and probably began writing his richly 
textured sonnets. One hundred and fifty- 
four of his sonnets have survived, ensuring 
his reputation as a gifted poet. 

Having established himself as an actor 
and playwright, in 1594 Shakespeare 
became a shareholder in the Lord 
Chamberlains Men, one of the most 
popular acting companies in London. He 
remained a member of this company for 
the rest of his career, often playing before 
the court of Queen Elizabeth. With his 
newfound success, Shakespeare purchased 
the second largest home in 
Stratford in 1597, though he 
continued to live in London. 
Two years later, he joined 
others from the Lord 
Chamberlain's Men in 
establishing the polygonal 
Globe Theatre on the 
outskirts of London. When 
King James came to the 
throne in 1603, he issued a 
royal license to Shakespeare 
and his fellow players, 
organizing them as the King's 
Men. During King James's 






L .\ T> *£ ■- 
Printtdby IiiicLggarJ, and Ei. Blount. i<Si; 

reign, Shakespeare wrote many of his most 
accomplished plays about courtly power, 
including King Lear, Macbeth, and Antony 
and Cleopatra. In 1609, Shakespeare's 
sonnets were published, though he did not 
live to see the First Folio of his plays 
published in 1623. 

In 1616, with his health declining, 
Shakespeare revised his will. Since his only 
son Hamnet had died in 1596, Shakespeare 
left the bulk of his estate to his two 
daughters, with monetary gifts set aside 
for his sister, theater partners, friends, 
and the poor of Stratford. A fascinating 
detail of his will is that he bequeathed the 
family's "second best bed" to his wife Anne. 
He died a month after rewriting his will. 
To the world, he left a lasting legacy in the 
form of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, and two 
narrative poems. 

When William Shakespeare died on 
April 23, 1616, in his 
birthplace of Stratford-upon- 
Avon, he was recognized as 
one of the greatest English 
playwrights of his era. In the 
four centuries since, he has 
come to be seen as not only a 
great English playwright, but 
the greatest playwright in the 
English language. Reflecting 
upon the achievement of his 
peer and sometimes rival, Ben 
Jonson wrote of Shakespeare, 
"He was not of an age, but for 
all time." 

I irst Folio, 1623. 



During his lifetime, many of 
Shakespeare's 38 plays were 
published in what are known as 
Quarto editions, often without the play- 
wrights permission. Many were flawed 
versions, including or deleting entire 
passages. The first collected edition of his 
plays, the First Folio, was published after 
his death by two members of his acting 
company, John Heminges and Henry 
Condell. Since then the works of Shake- 
speare have been studied, translated, and 
enjoyed the world over as masterpieces of 
the English language. 

Establishing the chronology of 
Shakespeare's plays is a difficult task. 

It is impossible to know the exact order of 
succession because there is no record of the 
first production date of any of his works. 
Although dating is conjectural, scholars 
have decided upon a specific play 
chronology based upon the following 
sources of infonnation: 1) historical events 
and allusions to those events in the plays; 
2) the records of performances of the plays 
— taken from such places as the diaries of 
contemporaries; 3) the publication dates of 
sources; and 4) the dates that 
the plays appear in print 
(the production of a play 
immediately followed its 

Iambic Pentameter 


' ( 9 , 

Shakespeare composed much of his plays in the form of poetry, often in a meter called iambic 

pentameter. Even today, iambic pentameter is the most common meter used in English-language 

poetry. A regular line of the meter contains roughly ten syllables, with heavier stresses falling on 

every other syllable. An iamb is a metrical unit, or a "foot" of meter, made up of one unstressed 

syllable followed by one stressed syllable ("alive," "forget," "a dog"). Pentameter refers to the number of iambs in the 

line {penta is the Greek word for five, as in a pentagon). So there are five iambs in a line of iambic pentameter. Blank 

verse is unrhymed iambic pentameter. 

Here are two examples from Romeo and Juliet. ('-' means unstressed and 7 means stressed) 

- I - I - I - I - / 
My grave is like to be my uvecfcling bed. 

- I - I - I - I - I 
But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? 


conceited TWdie 
Komeo and /ul, cr 





Chronology of 




Henry VI, Part II 



Henry VI, Part III 



Henry VI, Part I 



Richard III 



The Comedy of Errors 



Titus Andronicus 



The Taming of the Shrew 



Two Gentlemen of Verona 



Love's Labour's Lost 



Romeo and Juliet 



Richard II 



A Midsummer Night's Dream 



King John 



The Merchant of Venice 



Henry IV, Part I 



Henry IV, Part II 



Much Ado About Nothing 



Henry V 



Julius Caesar 



As You Like It 



Twelfth Night 






The Merry Wives of Windsor 



Troilus and Cressida 



All's Well That Ends Well 



Measure for Measure 






King Lear 






Antony and Cleopatra 






Timon of Athens 









The Winter's Tale 



The Tempest 



Henry VIII 



The Two Noble Kinsmen* 


*The Two Noble Kinsmen is listed as one of Shakespeare's plays because most scholars believe it to be a 
collaborative work of Shakespeare and John Fletcher, who was a prominent actor and Shakespeare's 
close friend. Fletcher succeeded Shakespeare as the foremost dramatist for the King's Men. 



When the English colonists 
sailed for the New World, 
they brought only their most 
precious and essential possessions with 
them, including the works of William 
Shakespeare. The earliest known staging 
of his plays in the colonies was in 1750. 
By the time of the American Revolution, 
more than a dozen of his plays had been 
performed hundreds of times in thriving 
New England port cities and nascent towns 
and villages hewn from the wilderness. 
The young nation, brought together under 
a unique Constitution and collective will, 
found common ground in a love of 

In his famous travelogue Democracy 
in America, the French writer Alexis de 
Tocqueville remarked on the popularity of 
Shakespeare across the new nation in the 
1830s: 'There is hardly a pioneers hut that 
does not contain a few odd volumes of 
Shakespeare. I remember that I read the 
feudal drama of Hemy V for the first time 
in a log cabin." One such log cabin 
belonged to the family of Abraham Lincoln, 
a frontiersman whose formative reading 
consisted mainly of the King James Bible, 
Blackstones lectures on English law, and 
Shakespeare. Like so many American 
presidents, Lincoln had a lifelong fondness 
for the Bard. "There is, assuredly, no other 
country on earth in which Shakespeare 
and the Bible are held in such general 
high esteem," wrote the German journalist 

Edwin Booth, an American actor in the mid-18i 
wore this costume in Richard III. 

Karl Knortz in the 1880s. 

Throughout the nineteenth century 
Shakespeare was the most popular 
playwright in .America. His plays were 
produced in large and opulent theaters and 
on makeshift stages in saloons, churches, 
and hotels. From big cities on the Last 
Coast to mining camps in the West, his 
plays were performed prominently and 
frequently In fact, Shakespearean actors 
from England came to America because the 
job prospects with touring troupes were 
plentiful and exciting. Shakespeare was so 


integrated into American culture by the 
nineteenth century that Mark Twain had his 
young hero Huckleberry Finn travel along 
the Mississippi River by raft with a pair of 
rogues who tried to pass themselves off as 
Shakespearean actors to earn money in 
riverbank towns. 

Shakespeare productions attracted a 
broad audience across socioeconomic and 
ethnic lines. Audiences articulated their 
knowledge of and reactions to the plays by 
hissing, whistling, stamping, clapping, and 
reciting passages along with the actors. The 
plays were often accompanied by music, 
acrobatics, dance, magic shows, minstrel 
shows, and stand-up comedy during breaks 
between acts. Shakespeare's most famous 
lines and scenes — "To be or not to be" — 
were parodied through short skits, brief 
references, and satirical songs inserted 
into other modes of entertainment, 
demonstrating how well performers and 
audiences alike knew his work. 

Shakespearean allusions and quotations 
were a regular feature of nineteenth-century 
newspapers. In schools, his plays were 
taught as rhetoric. Students would 
memorize passages of his plays and recite 
them aloud. While audiences admired the 
playwright's gift for language, they found his 
themes to be representative of their own 
trials and tribulations. His characters coped 
with love, hate, jealousy, ambition, and 
mortality just as his audience members did 
in their own lives. 

Shakespeare's plays were 

performed by well-known film 

actors in the twentieth century. Here. 

Paul Robeson as Othello. 

Only in the twentieth century did the 
nature of Shakespeare's relationship to the 
American public change. He was still the 
most widely known, respected, and quoted 
dramatist, but his work gradually came to 
be seen as part of high culture rather than 
popular culture. His plays became more a 
form of education than entertainment, more 
the possession of an elite crowd than the 
property of all Americans. The accessible 
dramatist whom audiences once identified 
with and even parodied now became the 
sacred dramatist to whom everyday people 
could hardly relate. 

There are many reasons for this 
change of reputation, among them an 
increasing separation of audiences, actors, 
and acting styles. Specialized theaters 
evolved that catered to distinct interests 
such as avant-garde theater, theater of the 
absurd, musical theater, and others. Radio, 
film, and television executives chose to 


feature fewer Shakespeare plays because 
they were perceived as unprofitable. 
Simultaneously the oratorical mode of 
entertainment and education that was 
prevalent throughout the nineteenth 
century and which helped make 
Shakespeare popular did not survive. 
And the American language moved rapidly 
away from the rich Elizabethan style of 
Shakespeare, making his words alien to 
a people who once so effortlessly 
understood their power. 

Still, for more than four centuries, 
Shakespeare has played a defining role in 
American culture. Today he remains 
Americas most widely produced 
playwright — performed in theaters, on 
film, in schools, at festivals, and read in 
millions of homes across the country The 
nature of Shakespeare's relationship to the 
American people will continue to change 
and develop, but the relationship itself 
will undoubtedly remain strong well 
into the future. 

Borrowing from the Bard 

These books, films, and musical scores are among 
hundreds that use phrases from Shakespeare for 
their titles — even though their content does not 
overtly drawn upon Shakespeare's work. 

Pomp and Circumstance (1901) — This 
famous musical score by Sir Edward Elgar is 
often played at graduations. The title comes from a 
line by Othello. 

The Sound and the Fury (1 929) — William 
Faulkner's tragic novel about a post-Civil War family 
helped to establish him as one of America's greatest 
writers. The title is taken from Macbeth 's speech 
following his wife's death. 

Brave New World (1932) — This futuristic novel by 
Aldous Huxley tells about a Utopian community gone 
wrong. The title comes from Miranda in The Tempest. 

North by Northwest (1 959) — In this classic film 
directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Cary Grant, 
an advertising executive is mistaken for a spy and 
pursued across the country. This title is also a famous 
phrase of Hamlet's. 

Winter of Our Discontent (1 961 ) — This haunting 
novel about an overstressed American family 
contributed significantly to John Steinbeck winning 
the Nobel Prize in literature. The title comes from the 
opening speech by Richard, Duke of Gloucester, in 
Richard III. 

What Dreams May Come (1998) — Robin Williams 
searches heaven and hell for his wife in this dramatic 
film. The title comes from Hamlet's famous "To be or 
not to be" soliloquy. 

Band of Brothers (2001 ) — In this Emmy Award- 
winning film directed by Tom Hanks, an Army rifle 
company parachutes into France on D-Day. The title 
is taken from the King's famous "St. Cnspian's Day" 
speech in Henry V. 




Historical information, fun trivia, study guides, 
and more about Shakespeare 

The Shakespeare Resource Center 

A resource for all things related to Shakespeare 

A list of Shakespeare webquests and classroom 
lesson plans 

The Folger Shakespeare Library 

Website for the worlds largest collection of 

Shakespeare's printed works 
A site about Shakespeare and the Globe Theatre 

Mr. William Shakespeare and the Internet 

A guide to finding Shakespeare on the Internet 

The Complete Works oj William Shakespeare 
Full-text versions of Shakespeare's plays 

A guide to Shakespeare's life and times 


Asimov, Isaac. Asimov's Guide to Shakespeare. 
Doubleday 1978. 

Bloom, Harold. Shakespeare: The Invention ojthe 
Human. Riverhead Books, 1998. 

Epstein, Norrie. The Friendly Shakespeare. Penguin 
Books, 1993. 

Gibson, Rex. Discovering Shakespeare's Language. 
Cambridge Univ. Press, 1999. 

Gibson, Rex. Teaching Shakespeare (Cambridge School 
Shakespeare Series). Cambridge University Press, 

Levine, Lawrence W. Highbrow/Lowbrow: The 
Emergence oj Cultural Hierarchy in America. 
Harvard University Press, 1990. 

Linklater, Kristin. Freeing Shakespeare's Voice. 
Theatre Communications Group, 1992. 

Kermode, Frank. Shakespeare's Language. Allen 
Lane, The Penguin Press, 2000. 

McQuain, Jeffrey, and Stanley Malless. Coined by 
Shakespeare: Words & Meanings First Penned by 
the Bard. Merriam Webster, 1998. 

O'Brien, Peggy, ed. Shakespeare Set Free. Atria 
Books, 1993. 

Pritchard, R. E. Shakespeare's England. Sutton 
Publishing Limited, 1999. 

Papp, Joseph and Elizabeth Kirkland. Shakespeare 
Alive. Bantam Books, 1988. 


Shakespeare: A Day at the Globe. Guidance 
Associates Video, 1990. 

Shakespeare: Soul oj an Age. Warner Home 
Video, 1962. 

Standard Deviants on Shakespeare. Cerebellum 
Corporation, 2002. 

That Fellow Shakespeare. Meriwether Publishing 
Ltd.: Contemporary Drama Service, 1988. 

William Shakespeare: A Life oj Drama. A&E 
Television Networks, 1996. 


The Complete Arkangel Shakespeare. The Audio 
Partners, 2003. Based on The Complete Pelican 
Shakespeare, Shakespeare's 38 plays, complete and 
unabridged, are reproduced on 98 CDs with original 
scores for each play. Bringing together 400 British 
actors, this collection was created by Shakespeare 
scholar Tom Treadwell, film producer Bill Shepherd, 
BBC director Clive Brill, and composer Dominique 
Le Gendre. 



Modernizing Monologues 

Brief Description 


After listening to and discussing selected monologues from the 
Shakespeare CD, students will write their own versions of the 
monologues, modernizing the diction and the situation, but 
preserving the structure, themes, and emotions. After an overnight 
revision, students will share their results in class. 

A stereo, the Shakespeare in American Communities CD, and 
photocopies of the selected monologues from the Recitation 
Contest booklet. 

Class Periods 


NCTE Standards Covered 


Activity Description 

On a stereo, the teacher will play three monologues from the 

Shakespeare CD, leading a brief class discussion between each 

selection. Through close reading of the text, students should 

attempt to understand the situation, the intentions, and the 

emotions of the character speaking. (The clues are in the 

language.) Allow five to ten minutes of discussion for each 


Each student will now choose a monologue to rewrite. The 

new version should be written in verse and should preserve the 

circumstances of the original, although the diction and the details 

provided should be made modern. Students may wish to consult 

page 11 in the Teachers Guide to learn how to write iambic 


Allow the rest of the class period for students to work individually 

on writing their monologues. 

Students should revise and finish their monologues overnight. 

At the beginning o\ the second class, ask for volunteers to read 

their results aloud. 


Students will use listening skills. 

Students will analyze a text through close reading and discussion 

Students will emulate great writing. 

Students will work on public-speaking skills through reading aloud 



Stealing Love Letters 

Brief Description 


Class Periods 

Students will listen to the sections of the Shakespeare CD regarding 
the sonnet form and the recited selections. After the teacher leads a 
discussion about the form, the class will analyze the performed 
sonnets. Then the students will select a sonnet to transform into a 
love letter in prose. In the next class meeting, students will present 
their work. 

A stereo, the Shakespeare in American Communities CD, and photo- 
copies of the selected sonnets from the Recitation Contest booklet. 


NCTE Standards Covered 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 1 1 

Activity Description 

The teacher will play the sections of the Shakespeare CD 
regarding the sonnet, and will lead a class discussion about 
the sonnet form and the individual selections. Through close 
reading of the text, students should attempt to understand how 
the images are used and how the themes and language work 
together toward a certain effect. Allow five minutes of discussion 
for each selection. 

Each student will now choose a sonnet to transform into a love 
letter. Written in prose, the letter can be addressed to a boyfriend 
or girlfriend, a parent, a relative, or even a pet. The new version 
should include as many images and themes from the original 
sonnet as possible, though the diction and the situation may be 
made contemporary. Allow the rest of the class period for students 
to work individually on writing their love letters. 
Students should revise and finish their love letters overnight. 
At the beginning of the second class, ask for volunteers to 
read their love letters aloud. Upon hearing students read, other 
students should try to guess which of Shakespeare's sonnets 
was rewritten. 


Students will use listening skills. 

Students will learn about the structure of an important poetic form. 

Students will analyze a text through close reading and discussion. 

Students will write creatively. 

Students will work on public-speaking skills through reading aloud. 



The Scene outside the Globe 

Brief Description 


Using the Teachers Guide, students will learn about the 
Elizabethan age. Then they will create characters and use structured 
improvisations to display their understanding and exercise their 
performance skills. 

Provided "biographies" of historical and fictional characters from 
Elizabethan England that can be photocopied, cut into sections, and 
distributed to students. 

Class periods 

NCTE Standards Covered 

Activity Description 


• The students will read pages 2-8 from the Teachers Guide to learn 
about Elizabethan England. The teacher should answer questions 
about the reading material before beginning the performance 
component of the activity. 

• Each student will receive a sheet with a "biography" of a person 
from Shakespeares world. Allow students several minutes to 
read their descriptions, keeping them secret from other students. 
Each card has a line of dialogue for the students to use in the 
improvisation, but they should feel free to create additional 

• While the students are reviewing their biographies, the teacher 
should write on the blackboard the complete list of characters to 
give students a general idea of who they are interacting with in 
their scene. 

• The teacher will divide the class in half, making one group of 
students the actors and the other the audience. The teacher will 
tell the actors that their scene will take place on the street outside 
the Globe Theatre during the Elizabethan age. After giving them 
a moment to imagine their places in this society, the scene w ill 
begin. Without identifying themselves by name, the actors should 
try to convey who they are through their mannerisms, speech. 
and actions. 

• The audience will watch for status conflicts between characters 
and determine each characters role within the society The 
audience should write down — don't shout out! — the character 
each student is playing. continued 



The Scene outside the Globe (continued) 

Activity Description 


• After five minutes, switch groups and resume the improvisation. 

• Repeat the activity, allowing students to experience different roles. 

• Discuss the activity with students. 

Students will learn about the social structure of Elizabethan England 

through their reading. 
Students will demonstrate their understanding of the reading 

material through improvisation. 
Students will strengthen their performance and public-speaking 


Cast of Characters 

Queen Elizabeth I 

Earl of Derby 

Earl of Essex 

Sir Francis Drake 

The Master of Revels 

Boy Apprentice Actor 

Traveling Actor 

Secret Puritan 

Secret Catholic Priest 

Glover Maker 





School Boy 





Wet Nurse 



The Scene outside the Globe (continued) 

Queen Elizabeth I You are the Queen of England and one of the most powerful leaders 

England has ever known. You are called "the Virgin Queen" by some 
because you've never married. You will not marry because you fear a 
husband would take power from you. YouVe had to prove yourself as 
a woman in this leadership role. As a leader, you've outdone most of 
the males who have preceded you. Your navy defeated the Spanish 
Armada years ago, making your country one of the most powerful in 
England. You are a patron of Mr. Shakespeare's company and enjoy 
his work a great deal. Sometimes Shakespeare writes a play especially 
for you, such as The Merry Wives oj Windsor. You often invite their 
company to Court but you also sometimes attend performances at 
The Globe. Your line is: "I pardon you." 

Earl of Derby You are the Earl of Derby. Of noble birth, and therefore owner of a 

title, lands, and significant wealth, you have many servants to attend 
you. Your wife stays at home and tends to the children while you 
hunt, fence, gamble, and trade. You live a life of freedom and pleasure. 
You are in London to visit the Queen. While in London, you \isit the 
marketplaces and perhaps purchase some new horses and armor. You 
also attend the latest popular play at The Globe by the young William 
Shakespeare. You dress in fine silks from France, small buckled shoes, 
and large feathered hats. You bathe once a month whether you need it 
or not. Your line is: "Excuse me, but isn't that my carriage?" 

Earl of Essex You are a nobleman, of noble birth and title, and one of Queen 

Elizabeth's favorites. You have been friends with the Queen since you 
were children. Some gossip that you have had a romantic relationship 
with the Queen. Nevertheless, you are plotting her overthrow You arc 
gathering the support of other nobles before attempting a coup and 
riot on the streets of London. You are one ol the wealthiest men in 
England and have many servants to attend \ our every need. You 
attend The Globe and sometimes have been known to hue 
Shakespeare's company to play "politically incorrect" plays, including 
Richard II, to stir up trouble with the people and the Crow n Your 
line is: "Have you seen the Queen?" 



The Scene outside the Globe (continued) 

Sir Francis Drake 

You are a navigator and one of the greatest English sea captains of 
all time. You are revered as a hero in the fight against the Spanish 
Armada and despised as an upstart by the old nobility. You epitomize 
the self-made Elizabethan privateer. You love the hunt for treasure 
(especially Spanish treasure) and are daring and visionary in 
exploration. You and your crew are the first Englishmen to 
circumnavigate the globe, claiming a portion of California for Queen 
Elizabeth along the way Your devastating naval raids earned you the 
fear and the grudging respect of the Spaniards, who call you El 
Draque, u The Dragon." Your line is: "The Armada is destroyed!" 

The Master of Revels 

You are the Master of Revels in London, controlling and censoring 
London plays. It is your responsibility to insure that everything on 
stage is suitable and unthreatening to Crown, that the theaters are 
clean, and that the health of the public is secured. You often shut 
theaters down, because of health dangers like the plague or because 
the acting companies are presenting plays which are perhaps 
treasonable or slanderous to the Crown. You have complete control, 
under the Queen, to help a theater thrive or to destroy it. Your line is: 
"This theater is now closed!" 

Boy Apprentice Actor 

You are a young apprentice in Shakespeare's company. You left home 
at an early age and joined a traveling troupe, which quickly led you to 
London. Barely 15 years old, you've been playing on the stage for 
almost five years now and have played Juliet, Viola, and Cordelia, 
amongst others, to great acclaim. You're hoping, after your voice 
changes, to grow into male roles and stay on with the company Few 
apprentices, however, grow into male roles and stay with the 
company because there are so few positions available. You feel your 
voice start to change and fear that you'll soon be out of work. Your 
line is: "I think I can play Juliet one more time!" 



The Scene outside the Globe (continued) 

Traveling Actor 

You are a traveling actor. In a company of actors, musicians, and 
jugglers, you travel from town to town, from estate to estate, scraping 
together just enough food and money to live. You depend on the 
patronage of your sponsor, the Earl of Leicester, to protect you from 
being thrown in jail as a vagabond. You mostly perform old-fashioned 
morality plays in small household theaters, barns, outside in the 
woods, or on the lawns of nobleman's estates. You mostly live on the 
road, sleeping and eating either in the company's wagon or outside. 
When your company occasionally stops in London, you always see 
the latest play at The Globe. You wish you could enter a resident 
company of actors like The Lord Chamberlain's Men and stay in 
London. Your line is: "To be, or not to be — that is the question." 

Secret Puritan 

You are of the newly fonned Puritan faith. You believe in living 
simply, working hard, and worshipping God with a basic wooden 
cross. Because your faith is persecuted and frowned upon by the 
Crown, you must pretend to be a member of the Church of England, 
attending at least once a month, but you worship as a Puritan in a 
secret location. If caught, you will be persecuted as a religious heretic 
and as a traitor. You loathe the theater, as a place where people lie 
and indulge in vulgarities. You never go to The Globe and are 
organizing a movement to have the theaters closed permanently 
You stand outside the theater, usually, and heckle those who are 
going in to see the shows. Your line is: "Boo! The theater is rank, 
full of sin, and hath the plague upon it!" 

Secret Catholic Priest 

You live secretly as a Catholic priest. Until 1558. when Queen 
Elizabeth ascended to the throne, you worked happily as a member ol 
a monastery. Once Elizabeth abolished the Catholic Church from 
England, your monastery was shut down and your lellow priests 
imprisoned or convened. You barel) escaped conversion b) being 
taken in by a friendly noblewoman who secretly is still a practicing 
Catholic. You live on her estate and maintain a small church m the 
back of her garden where she worships with you several tunes a week 
You constantly (ear for your life and that members of Elizabeth's c ourl 
will find you and destroy your church. You have never been to the 
theater. Your line is: '1 am not her priest 1 am ( leari) her gardener' 



The Scene outside the Globe (continued) 

Glove Maker 

You are a London glover, making gloves, purses, and belts from 
various types of animal skin. Your hands are stained and stink from 
the dye you use. Your daughter and wife have both recently died from 
the plague, and you fear that if you stay in London, you will die soon 
too. You drink too much ale and are always tired with an upset 
stomach. Your business has dropped off recently and you're thinking 
of moving to the country. You come to The Globe in the afternoons to 
gamble and see the latest play. Your favorites are the comedies, such 
as The Comedy of Errors and Twelfth Night. Your line is: "You look like 
you could use some new gloves." 


You are a carpenter from just outside London. You are a member of 
a craft guild, the workers' union of your time. You apprenticed for 
years before becoming a full carpenter, and you do not respect those 
who do not work for a living. You do not consider the theater a 
"profession" or a "craft" and are angry that those whose "play" can 
make a decent living. You dislike the theater and only attend to mock 
it and throw vegetables at the actors. You are in London to attend a 
guild meeting and to find out if there will be any new taxes levied by 
the Crown this year. Your line is: "I could build that theater better 


You own a small shop in London that sells leather goods such as 
horse whips, purses, belts, and book covers. You rarely can take an 
afternoon off to go to the Globe. But when you can, you greatly enjoy 
it. You also enjoy all the business in your shop generated by the 
nearby theater. Before and after shows, your shop fills with people 
from outside London seeking bargains on leather goods before 
leaving town. You try to see every new play, at the cheap price of a 
penny. Sometimes you stand in the cheaper gallery, but usually you 
gain a seat on one of the lower levels. Your line is: "I can't see over all 
these ruffians." 



The Scene outside the Globe (continued) 


You are a peasant. Living just outside London on the lands of the Earl 
of Essex, you work hard tending the Earls chickens and gaming hens. 
You sleep and eat in a shack, which only has dirt floors and a leaky 
roof. You have no family and little social life. You eat stale bread and 
ale, leftovers from the Earls dinners. You come into London even- few 
months to try and find better work. But, being without any trade 
skills, you never find better employment. Lately you've begun to feel 
ill and you fear you have the plague. When the Earl gives you a scrap 
of money, you come to The Globe to see the latest play. You never 
bathe, have never touched soap, and have various small bugs living in 
your hair. Your teeth will soon all be rotten. Your line is: "Do you 
have any bread to spare?" 


You are a London beggar, homeless and living on the filth}' streets 
of London. You beg each day and, if you're lucky, get a scrap of stale 
bread from off the streets. The streets are filled with human waste, 
garbage, and dead animals thrown into the ditches. Your skin is 
covered in boils; you almost always have a fever; and, with winter 
coming, you fear this might be your last year alive. You sleep in a 
ditch by the river with other homeless people. You rarely get into the 
theater because you have no money. Sometimes, though, you manage 
to sneak in. You always crouch down on the floor amongst the other 
groundlings, trying not to get noticed. Your line is: "A penny? I can't 
afford a penny!" 

School Boy 

You ran to school this morning and barely made it on time for the 
6:00 a.m. bell. After prayers, you work till about 9:00 a.m. when you 
are permitted breakfast, then you work till 1 1 :00 a.m. Lunch is from 
1 1:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The school day ends at 5:30 p.m. Yesterda) 
you were caught talking to your friend Thomas during your lesson, 
and your knuckles were rapped with a stick in front of the whole class. 
Only boys go to your school. Your sister's education is accomplished at 
home. Noble children receive then education at home, from private 
tutors. You study Latin, rhetoric, reading, writing, and arithmetic. As a 
young boy you will read lots of plays \\ ritten b) Greeks and Romans, 
and today you and your classmates are reading Senecas Medea to 
improve your Latin. Your line is: Tve learned m\ Ovid d\u\ I'm read) 
to go home!" 



The Scene outside the Globe (continued) 

Tutor You spend the day keeping the young Earl of Derby on schedule. 

From 7-7:30 a.m. you oversee his dancing instruction. You then usher 
your young lord to the schoolroom to begin his French lesson. You 
work from 8 to 10:30 a.m. covering Latin, writing, drawing, and 
French. At 10:30 a.m. you join the household in prayers, recreation, 
and dinner. This is the second household for which you have taught. 
The last family with which you worked had only one son. This family 
has three, meaning you will have a stable job for years to come if you 
do well with the eldest. At 1:00 p.m. you usher all three boys back to 
the schoolroom. The lord has his Cosmography class as well as more 
Latin and writing, and you begin arithmetic and letters with the two 
younger sons. At 4:30 p.m. your day is almost finished as you bring 
your young student downstairs for evening prayers and supper. After 
a long day educating young children you curl up at the fire with a 
copy of Aristotle. Your line is: "If you don't learn your Ovid, you will 
not play tomorrow!" 

Baker You are one of the three bakers in Lord Derby's household. In the 

kitchen you work under the Head Baker and Head Cook. There are 
two girls who keep the fire and run errands with whom you like to 
flirt. As Lord Derby's servant you must follow some strict rules. You 
must not be absent from morning or evening meals or prayers or you 
will be fined two pence each time. Every time you swear, you are 
fined a penny. If you ever provoke a fight or strike a man you would 
be liable to dismissal. Last week you were fined a sixpence for 
wearing a dirty shirt on Sunday. Since servants are paid on the 
traditional Quarter Days (so called because they divide the year into 
quarters), you will be paid next week. Curiously, each of these falls 
on or about an equinox or solstice, so you will be able to buy your 
sweetheart a present for May Day. Your line is: "If my bread does not 
rise, I am in for another beating." 



The Scene outside the Globe (continued) 


You believe everything in the world is composed of four elements: 
Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. In the human body, the humours (choler, 
blood, phlegm, and black bile) are the natural bodily fluids that 
correspond to the elements and have various natures. When the 
humours are all in balance in a person, he or she is completely 
healthy. If they get out of balance, illness results. Today you had to 
bleed a patient to restore her balance. Bleeding is performed with a 
lancet and a bowl. You prefer leeching because there is less blood to 
clean up, but leeches are only used for other operations. You bled the 
arm of a woman because she was feeling much too sluggish and 
needed phlegm drained. After pouring the blood into the streets, you 
wipe off your lance and go to your next patients home where you 
bleed his foot with the same lance. Your line is: "Just let me bleed 
you a bit more, then you'll be fine!" 


You are the Earl of Hertford's personal apothecary and work with his 
surgeon and physician. Medicines prescribed by physicians are made 
up by you, the apothecary Since apothecaries belong to the Grocers 
Company, you had to serve an apprenticeship before you became the 
Earls personal apothecary. While traveling with your lord you serve 
his entire household. You frequently make willow bark tea for her 
ladyships frequent headaches. Tomorrow you plan to go to a local 
woman who sells dried and fresh herbs in town. The woman is 
rumored to be a witch, but you are in desperate need of nightshade 
and dandelion weed. Your line is: "Careful. This potion is deadly." 

Wet Nurse 

You are a young mother working for the Earl of Derby You help the 
Head Nurse raise his lordship's four children. Currendy you are 
nursing their youngest daughter, a four-month-old baby Your own 
child was weaned a year ago and is being raised at home by 5 our 
elder sister. It is your job to nurse and care lor the infant, and you 
spend your entire day in the nursery While the three older children 
are at lessons with the tutor, you and the 1 lead Nurse like to sil and 
gossip about Lord Derby and Lady Derby Lady Derby hasn't been 
home for two months. Your line is: 'I feel like these children are m\ 

very own 




1 . Students read a wide range of print and non-print texts 
to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of 
the cultures of the United States and the world; to 
acquire new information; to respond to the needs and 
demands of society and the workplace; and for personal 
fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, 
classic and contemporary works. 

2. Students read a wide range of literature from many 
periods in many genres to build an understanding of the 
many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) 
of human experience. 

3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to 
comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. 
They draw on their prior experience, their interactions 
with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word 
meaning and of other texts, their word identification 
strategies, and their understanding of textual features 
(e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, 
context, graphics). 

4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual 
language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to 
communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and 
for different purposes. 

5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they 
write and use different writing process elements 
appropriately to communicate with different audiences 
for a variety of purposes. 

6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, 
language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), 
media techniques, figurative language, and genre to 
create, critique, and discuss print and non-print texts.. 

7. Students conduct research on issues and interests by 
generating ideas and questions, and by posing 
problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data 
from a variety of sources (e.g., print and non-print texts, 
artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in 
ways that suit their purpose and audience. 

8. Students use a variety of technological and information 
resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, 
video) to gather and synthesize information and to 
create and communicate knowledge. 

9. Students develop an understanding of and respect for 
diversity in language use, patterns, and dialects across 
cultures, ethnic groups, geographic regions, and social 

10. Students whose first language is not English make use 
of their first language to develop competency in the 
English language arts and to develop understanding of 
content across the curriculum. 

1 1 . Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, 
creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy 

12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to 
accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, 
enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of