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Shakespeare: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
What Is a Sonnet?
The sonnet is a poem written in a strict poetic form that was very popular during Shakespeare’s lifetime. Here we identify the characteristics of a sonnet.
What Makes Shakespeare’s Tragedies Tragic?
The Shakespeare tragedies share a number of common features, as this introduction to the Shakespeare tragedies reveals.
How Ambition Causes Macbeth’s Downfall
In 'Macbeth', ambition is presented as a dangerous quality. It causes the downfall of both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and triggers a series of deaths in 'Macbeth'. Ambition is the driving force of the play as this analysis reveals.
5 Most Romantic Shakespeare Sonnets
The Shakespeare sonnets are considered by many to be the most romantic poems ever written. We pick out the top 5 Shakespeare sonnets to get you into a romantic mood.
What We Really Know About Shakespeare's Life
This Shakespeare biography reveals the life and times of William Shakespeare. Amazingly, historians know very little about his life. This Shakespeare biography looks at the surviving evidence and paints a picture of the world’s most famous playwright.
How the Renaissance Affected Shakespeare
The renaissance was in full swing during Shakespeare's time and the Bard was a product of the huge cultural shifts occurring at the time.
How Shakespeare Uses Meter
Iambic pentameter is the meter that Shakespeare nearly always used when writing in verse. This guide tells you everything you need to know about iambic pentameter. Read on.
How Fate Controls “Romeo and Juliet”
Are Romeo and Juliet fated to fall in love and die from the very start? Discover how fate permeates the events and speeches of 'Romeo and Juliet'.
4 Ways to Identify a Shakespeare Comedy
What are the common characteristics of a Shakespeare comedy? Our guide shows you how to identify a Shakespeare comedy.
Why 'Romeo and Juliet' Is Such an Iconic Love...
'Romeo and Juliet' has become forever associated with love. But Shakespeare's treatment of this theme is complex and multifaceted.
Study Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18
A study guide to Shakespeare's love poem, 'Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day?' including study questions.
Shakespeare's Top 3 Love Sonnets
Looking for Shakespeare sonnet examples? We bring you a collection of Shakespeare’s most renowned sonnets as examples.
A Complete List of Shakespeare’s Plays
A complete, chronological list of Shakespeare plays. This list of Shakespeare plays brings together all 38 plays in the order in which they were first performed.
What Happens in "The Tempest"?
This ‘The Tempest’ summary captures the essence of Shakespeare’s most magical play. ‘The Tempest’ summary is an ideal study .
Top 10 Shakespeare Love Quotes
Discover the top 10 Shakespeare love quotes with the world's most romantic poet and dramatist. Shakespeare is responsible for 'Romeo and Juliet' and Sonnet 18, the greatest love story and poetry ever written.
Macbeth Character Analysis
Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's most intense and attractive villains. However, as this Macbeth character analysis reveals, he is a complex and multi-faceted character.
What Happens in "Hamlet"?
This condensed version of 'Hamlet' captures the essence of Shakespeare’s longest play.
What to Know About Shakespeare’s Sonnets
The Shakespearian Sonnet has had a long and confusing history. We ask to whom they were dedicated, how they have been misprinted over the years, and question whether Shakespeare even want them published in the first place?
How to Identify a Shakespeare History Play
The Shakespeare histories share a number of common features, as this introduction to the Shakespeare histories reveals.
How to Know if It's a Tragedy, Comedy, or History
Three lists of the plays by William Shakespeare- one for his tragedies, a second for his comedies, and a third for his histories.
Introducing Prose
Shakespeare moved between verse and prose in his writing to give his characters more depth and vary the overall rhythmic structure of his plays. His treatment of prose is as skillful as his verse.
What to Know About Romeo from 'Romeo and Juliet'
Romeo and Juliet are literature's most famous lovers. Read our character profile of Romeo here.
Everything You Need to Know About Iambic...
This collection of iambic pentameter examples from Shakespeare’s plays reveals how much the Bard used Iambic Pentameter. Examples are drawn from a range of plays.
How to Understand Iago in “Othello”
This Iago analysis provides detailed study notes for the character of Iago. Analysis and commentary for Shakespeare's 'Othello'.
Yes, You Can Understand Shakespearean English
Shakespeare Words - Shakespeare’s words and phrases are easier to understand than one might think. This month our
Why Guilt Is So Important in “Macbeth&rdq...
An analysis of guilt in Shakespeare's tragedy. It softens Macbeth's callousness and, though unconscious for Lady Macbeth, makes her life unbearable.
Famous Shakespeare Quotes
Discover the top 10 famous Shakespeare quotes from the world's greatest poet and dramatist. Famous Shakespeare quotes come from great plays like 'Hamlet' and 'Romeo and Juliet'.
16 Surprisingly Common Phrases Invented by...
You have probably quoted Shakespeare thousands of times without realizing it. His writing lives on in our everyday language - testament to his powerful influence over the English language.
A Closer Look at the Montague-Capulet Feud in...
The Montague-Capulet feud dominates 'Romeo and Juliet' and helps drive the plot to its tragic ending. But, who's who in the Montague-Capulet feud? This article lists the play's characters by family.
7 Types of Female Characters You'll See in...
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Understand Caliban’s Character in...
Prospero is one of Shakespeare's most memorable and magical characters, yet it is sometimes difficult for an audience to identify with him, as this Prospero character analysis reveals.
What Was Shakespeare’s Theater Like?
Exploring the context of Shakespeare's theater and the theater experience in Shakespeare's lifetime gives you a fuller understanding of his plays. Shakespeare wasn't writing for today's literary audience; he was writing for the masses, many of whom couldn't read or write. Dicover the theater experience in Shakespeare's lifetime
Oberon and Titania – Character Analysis
Oberon and Titania from 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' are central characters. This character analysis will help you understand these complex characters.
How Shakespeare Uses Revenge in “Hamlet&r...
Why doesn’t Hamlet take revenge? Discover how the theme of revenge in ‘Hamlet’ drives the narrative of the play.
Sonnet 116 Study Guide
Find out why Sonnet 116 is one of Shakespeare's most famous and popular poems. Our study guide to Sonnet 116 provides translations and a sonnet analysis.
What Happens in “Much Ado About...
A plot summary and scene-by-scene breakdown of Much Ado About Nothing.
What Types of Plays Did Shakespeare Write?
What Types of Plays Did Shakespeare Write? The answer is revealed here along with other essential facts about Shakespeare's plays.
Plays by Shakespeare
What are the top 5 plays by Shakespeare? Find out in our top picks list and see if your favorite plays by Shakespeare are included.
How to Read Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29
Our study guide to Shakespeare's Sonnet 29 provides translations and a sonnet analysis. Find out why Sonnet 29 is considered one of Shakespeare’s greatest poems but is also described as 'fluff' by others.
Portia from 'The Merchant of Venice' -...
Discover Portia from 'The Merchant of Venice' is one of Shakespeare’s most loved characters.
The Controversy of Shakespeare’s Death
Discover the facts surrounding Shakespeare's death in 1616. Where did Shakespeare die and what could have caused Shakespeare’s death?
'Much Ado About Nothing' - Study Guide
In our Much Ado About Nothing Study Guide, you'll find everything you need to understand this Shakespearean classic.
What to Know About Juliet from 'Romeo and Juliet'
Romeo and Juliet are literature's most famous lovers. Read our character profile of Juliet here.
Shakespearean Verse
Unlike modern plays, Shakespeare and his contemporaries wrote plays in verse. This is a poetic framework that gives characters a structured speech pattern and enhances their authority.
'Macbeth' Summary
What happens in 'Macbeth'? The story of Shakespeare's most intense tragedy is condensed into this summary, from the three witches to the final battle.
What to Know About Prospero in “The...
Prospero is one of Shakespeare's most memorable and magical characters, yet it is sometimes difficult for an audience to identify with him, as this Prospero character analysis reveals.
What to Know About Lady Macbeth’s Character
This Lady Macbeth character analysis introduces one of Shakespeare’s best female villains and asks if her presentation is misogynistic.
Character Analysis – Puck, 'A Midsummer...
A character analysis of Puck, A Midsummer Night's Dream's most magical character. Discover Shakespeare's most mischievous sprite in our in-depth character analysis.
Capulet
The House of Capulet in Romeo and Juliet is one of “fair Verona’s” two feuding families, the other being the House of Montague.
5 Reasons Shakespeare Is Still Popular
Why has Shakespeare been popular for over 400 years? We look at the secret to his success.
Why the Women of Shakespeare's Play Are...
Discover how Shakespeare presented women in his plays and what this says about the Bard's view of women and their status in Elizabethan and Jacobean society.
What Are the Major Themes in 'Much Ado About...
An analysis of the major themes in Much Ado About Nothing.
How to Study Shakespeare's Sonnet 73
Our study guide to Shakespeare's Sonnet 73 provides translations and a sonnet analysis. In Sonnet 73, the poet is concerned with his own mortality.
Shakespeare's “Shall I Compare Thee to a...
Read the complete text to Sonnet 18
Hamlet Character Analysis
This Hamlet character analysis reveals Shakespeare’s most complex character. Explore Hamlet’s emotional turmoil in our Hamlet Character Analysis.
What Are the Themes of “Othello”?
What are the main themes in 'Othello'? We examine the top 'Othello' themes, including race, jealousy and duplicity.
Shakespeare Authorship Controversy
The Shakespeare authorship controversy has been raging for years. We bring the key facts and historical evidence behind the Shakespeare authorship controversy.
Understand the Characters in “Much Ado...
Who's who in 'Much Ado'? Read our character profiles here.
Shakespeare Soliloquy
This month our columnist shows you how to develop the perfect Shakespeare soliloquy.
Fair Youth Sonnets
What are the Fair Youth Sonnets? The first 126 of Shakespeare’s sonnets are addressed to the fair youth with whom the poet has a deep and loving friendship.
Do You Know What Year Shakespeare Wrote 'Romeo...
What Year Did Shakespeare Write ‘Romeo and Juliet’? Discover the answer on the Shakespeare pages of About.com alongside your other essential Shakespeare questions.
What’s the Significance of the Witches in...
The 'Macbeth' witches are essential to the plot of 'Macbeth' because their prophesies drive Macbeth’s thirst for power and enable Lady Macbeth to pursue her own ambitions.
Montague
The House of Montague in 'Romeo and Juliet' is one of
Read the Full Text of 3 Shakespeare Sonnets
We bring you the complete texts of the three most popular sonnets by William Shakespeare together with commentary on what makes them such popular sonnets.
How to Read Shakespeare Aloud
Shakespeare made reading his plays aloud as easy as possible. Everything an actor needs is right there in the dialogue – you just need to know what you’re looking for
Desdemona and Othello
The relationship between Desdemona and Othello is central to Shakespeare’s 'Othello'. This character analysis explores Desdemona and Othello.
How to Study Shakespeare's Sonnet 1
Find out why Sonnet 1 is the first of Shakespeare's 17 poems that explore the issue of procreation in our study guide to Shakespeare's Sonnet 1. Expect to find analysis and translations.
What Tragedies Did Shakespeare Write?
What Tragedies Did Shakespeare Write? Discover the answer on the Shakespeare pages of About.com alongside your other essential Shakespeare questions.
'Macbeth' Quiz - How well do you know 'Macbeth'?
'Macbeth' Quiz - How well do you know 'Macbeth'? Sorry, but this quiz requires that you have javascript
How Power Relationships Explain “The...
In 'The Tempest', power and control are dominant themes. Many of the characters are locked into a power struggle for their freedom and for control of the island.
Magic in 'The Tempest'
A look at the magic in Shakespeare's play, from Prospero's books to Caliban's uncertain humanity to the storm that provides the title.
Death in 'Hamlet'
Discover how the theme of death permeates ‘Hamlet’ from the very start.
Introducing Shakespeare's Dark Lady Sonnets
The Dark Lady Sonnets are the second sequence in Shakespeare's sonnets in which a
A Breakdown of “Romeo and Juliet,”...
A scene-by-scene breakdown for the greatest love story ever told.
'King Lear' Themes
This guide explores justice, madness, compassion, appearance vs. reality, nature and blindness in the Bard's great tragedy.
'Romeo and Juliet' Study Guide
Our 'Romeo and Juliet' study guide and Summary is the best place to kick-start your study of Shakespeare's best loved play. Find out why 'Romeo and Juliet' has been so enduring.
King Lear Overview
Our King Lear overview translates the entire plotline into simple modern-day English. Need to know the plot to Shakespeare’s King Lear? Look no further.
Performing Shakespeare
Ben Crystal is the author of 'Shakespeare on Toast', a new book that dispels the myth that Shakespeare is difficult. Here, he shares his thoughts about performing Shakespeare and reveals his top tips for first-time actors.
Helena and Demetrius – Character Analysis
Discover the lovers from 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' with our character analysis of Helena and Demetrius.
Sonnet Summary for Shakespeare's Poems
Shakespeare's sequence of 154 sonnets revolves around the poet's relationship with his two muses - a young man and an older lady.
How to Analyze Othello’s Character
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Shakespeare Plays
Shakespeare Plays - Our collection of study guides to Shakespeare Plays are designed to accompany your own reading. They are an ideal way to introduce newcomers and immerse more experienced readers deeper into Shakespeare Plays.
Top 5 Shakespeare Characters
Shakespeare characters – Who's made it into our top 5 list of Shakespeare characters? Find out with our essential guide to the best Shakespeare characters.
Did Shakespeare Write 38 or 39 Plays?
How Many Plays Did Shakespeare Write Altogether? Discover the answer on About.com along with answers to other essential Shakespeare questions.
An Introduction to Shakespeare Sonnets
Introducing the Shakespeare sonnets – what makes this collection of 154 Shakespeare sonnets the most important poetry ever written? Find out with our Shakespeare sonnets guide.
Top 3 Shylock Quotes and Speeches
We bring you the best Shylock quotes and speeches that made him the most memorable character from The Merchant of Venice.
'Hamlet' Study Guide
Your ultimate 'Hamlet' study guide to Shakespeare's longest play. Find out why 'Hamlet' has stood the test of time and is considered to be one of the best plays ever written in our 'Hamlet' study guide.
Shakespeare Authorship Debate
A look at the debate and the numerous theories surrounding the authorship of the plays attributed to Shakespeare.
Love in Shakespeare
Love in Shakespeare is a recurrent theme. The treatment of love in Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets is
What Was William Shakespeare's First Play?
What Was William Shakespeare's First Play? Discover the answer on the Shakespeare pages of About.com alongside your other essential Shakespeare questions.
Who Was Edward de Vere?
Edward de Vere has become the strongest candidate in the Shakespeare authorship debate. Discover the case in support of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, and reach your own conclusion in the Shakespeare authorship debate.
Shakespeare
Think you know the Bard? Here are 5 facts about Shakespeare to get you thinking. How many did you know?
Shakespeare Sources
The stories told in Shakespeare’s plays are not original. We reveal the main Shakespeare sources used to write the plays.
'As You Like It' – Summary
Shakespeare's 'As You Like It' has a complex plot. Unpick it with our 'As You Like It' summary and understand the events of the play.
Did Shakespeare Write The Sonnets?
Did Shakespeare write the sonnets? Hidden ciphers in the dedication that prefaces Shakespeare's sonnets suggest that the poems were not penned by the Bard at all. Jonathan Bond, author of 'The De Vere Code', reveals all.
'The Tempest' Analysis
Study 'The Tempest' with our 'The Tempest' analysis. This 'The Tempest' analysis discusses Shakespeare’s presentation of morality and fairness in the play.
Sonnet 29
The complete text to Shakespeare's sonnet 29 - When, In Disgrace With Fortune And Men's Eyes.
Is Sonnet 18 the Most Romantic Valentine’...
The most romantic Valentine’s Day poem ever written is surely Shakespeare's Sonnet 18: Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?
King Lear Character Analysis
A King Lear Character Analysis that outlines the essential study points for your King Lear Character Analysis.
How Many Shakespeare Sonnets Are There?
How Many Shakespeare Sonnets Are There? Discover the answer on About.com along with answers to other essential Shakespeare questions.
‘Hamlet’ Act 1 Scene Guide
‘Hamlet’ Act 1 scene guide - This ‘Hamlet’ Act 1 scene breakdown guides you through Act 1 of Shakespeare’s longest play.
'Macbeth' Study Guide
Our 'Macbeth' study guide is the ultimate guide to Shakespeare's shortest play. Find out why 'Macbeth' is Shakespeare’s most widely studied play in our 'Macbeth' study guide.
What We Know About Shakespeare's Birth
Find out when and where Shakespeare was born – and what happened to the house in which he was born.
Quotes from Shakespeare Plays
Shakespeare's comedies offer some of the most memorable quotes from Shakespeare plays. Here, we delve into every one of the Bard's comedies and pick the most famous quotes from Shakespeare Plays. Enjoy!
Can You Name Shakespeare's First Play?
What Was Shakespeare's First Play? Discover the answer on the Shakespeare pages of About.com alongside your other essential Shakespeare questions.
How Many Sonnets Did Shakespeare Write?
How Many Sonnets Did Shakespeare Write? Discover the answer on About.com along with answers to other essential Shakespeare questions.
5 Things You Might Not Know About the Globe...
This remarkable building was built as an open-air theater that could contain 3,000 spectators. Shakespeare was a shareholder.
'The Taming of The Shrew' Themes
Our study guide to 'The Taming of The Shrew' gudes you through the themes in 'The Taming of The Shrew'.
Emilia from Othello
Our character analysis of Emilia from 'Othello' clearly explains everything you need to know about this strong character from Shakespeare's 'Othello'.
Sonnet 73
The complete text to Shakespeare's sonnet 73 - That Time Of Year Thou Mayst In Me Behold.
Shakespeare Interpretation
This month our columnist shows you how to develop your Shakespeare Interpretation Skills.
'Othello' - Scene by Scene Summary
This 'Othello' scene by scene summary is the perfect study guide to Shakespeare's play. Each scene is clearly summarised in plain English to aid study.
Ariel
Need to know about Ariel in 'The Tempest'? Our characters analysis of Ariel in 'The Tempest' reveals all about Shakespeare’s most magical spirit.
A Tour of Shakespeare’s Birthplace in...
Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon has become a place of pilgrimage for the literary minded since the 18th century. Today, the house in Henley Street has been preserved by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and is open to the public.
'Romeo and Juliet' Characters
Analysis and commentary on all the main 'Romeo and Juliet' characters including Romeo, Juliet and other 'Romeo and Juliet' characters.
What Was The First Play Shakespeare Wrote?
What Was The First Play Shakespeare Wrote? Discover the answer on the Shakespeare pages of About.com alongside your other essential Shakespeare questions.
Who Was Shakespeare’s Wife?
Who was Anne Hathaway? Read our biography for Anne Hathaway, William Shakespeare's wife.
About Shakespeare Plays
The ultimate guide to Shakespeare’s plays - Everything you need to know about Shakespeare plays in one place.
How to Behave at a Shakespeare Audition
Auditioning for a Shakespeare play? Read our tips on how to behave at an audition, what to wear, and how to land the part.
Hermia and her Father – Character Analysis
Hermia and her Father from 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' are central characters. This character analysis will help you unpick the relationship between these complex characters.
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
A brief history of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London from 1598 to the present day. Discover Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.
Was Shakespeare Catholic?
Was Shakespeare Catholic? Although there is no conclusive proof, there is strong circumstantial evidence to suggest that he was a practicing Roman Catholic. We explore Shakespeare's Catholic Roots.
'Hamlet' Scene Breakdown
This 'Hamlet' Scene-by-Scene Breakdown guides you through Shakespeare’s longest play
Facts About Shakespeare's 'The Tempest'
Discover the top facts you should know about Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' in our concise guide tot he key elements that made Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' so enduring.
Shakespeare Lesson Plans
Free Shakespeare lesson plans. Our free collection of Shakespeare lesson plans and workshop ideas has been designed for teachers looking to breathe new life into Shakespeare’s plays. Our Shakespeare lesson plans are written by our resident expert.
Love in 'As You Like It'
Shakespeare presents us with many different types of love in 'As You Like It'. We explain each type of love in 'As You Like It' clearly and concisely.
First Shakespeare Lesson
It’s essential for teachers to make their first Shakespeare lesson practical, accessible and fun. This month our “Teaching Shakespeare Columnist” shows you how to introduce the Bard in your first Shakespeare Lesson.
Shakespeare for Beginners
Are you a Shakespeare newbie? Discover the Bard for the first time with our Shakespeare for Beginners FAQ.
Other Characters in 'Romeo and Juliet'
A guide to the other characters in 'Romeo and Juliet' including profiles for Friar Lawrence, Mercutio, Paris, The Prince, Friar John and Rosaline.
Understand the Themes of “Hamlet”
A list with links for further study of revenge, death, uncertainty, sexuality and the state of Denmark in Shakespeare's tragedy.
Shakespeare Lost Years
The gaps in Shakespeare’s biography have become known as the Shakespeare lost years. Our guide explores the main theories surrounding the Bard’s activities and whereabouts during the Shakespeare lost years.
Polonius Monologues: "Ay, springes to catch...
Polonius from Hamlet is a fun part to play and offers a strong alternative to the more obvious Hamlet audition monologues.
Cordelia from King Lear: Character Profile
Cordelia from 'King Lear'. In this character profile, we take a close look at Cordelia from 'King Lear'.
Benedick: “This can be no trick”
Benedick is one of Much Ado About Nothing’s most lively and interesting characters making him an ideal candidate for audition.
Shakespeare Language Guide
Shakespeare was using the everyday language of his time. Our Shakespeare language guide helps you get to grips with his use of language and explains the techniques and conventions he used. Discover the Bard with our Shakespeare language guide.
'Macbeth' Themes
Read about all of the main 'Macbeth' themes with our concise 'Macbeth' theme guide. The 'Macbeth' themes covered include ambition and guilt.
How Many Plays Did Shakespeare Really Write?
William Shakespeare - How Many Plays? Discover the answer on About.com along with answers to other essential Shakespeare questions.
Shakespeare Quotations Quiz - Test Your...
Know Your Shakespeare Quotations? Sorry, but this quiz requires that you have javascript turned on. Please
Sonnet 3 - Study Guide
Study guide, translation and analysis for Shakespeare's Sonnet 3.
Shakespeare Facts for Kids
Need help with your Shakespeare homework? Here are our Shakespeare Facts for Kids.
How Many Plays Has William Shakespeare Written?
How Many Plays Has William Shakespeare Written? Discover the answer on About.com along with answers to other essential Shakespeare questions.
'The Tempest' Act 1
Our summary for 'The Tempest' Act 1 is the perfect study guide to the opening act of Shakespeare's most magical play. 'The Tempest' Act 1 Summary and Analysis.
'Romeo and Juliet' Theme
This 'Romeo and Juliet' theme analysis reveals how love and fate are treated in 'Romeo and Juliet'. Theme analysis can help you study Shakespeare’s classic love story in more depth.
Lysander from 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'...
Lysander is one of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream's' most likable characters, as this Lysander character analysis shows.
Was Shakespeare Homosexual?
One question has sparked controversy for years: was Shakespeare homosexual? This article looks at the facts and asks if Shakespeare was homosexual.
‘Hamlet’ Act 3 Scene Guide
‘Hamlet’ Act 3 scene guide - This ‘Hamlet’ Act 3 scene breakdown guides you through Act 3 of Shakespeare’s longest play.
Other Themes in 'Hamlet'
Find out why the state of Denmark, sexuality, incest and uncertainty are all important themes in 'Hamlet'.
Theseus and Hippolyta – Character Analysis
Theseus and Hippolyta are the rulers in Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. Discover more with our Theseus and Hippolyta character analysis.
Who Was Shakespeare?
Who was Shakespeare? Without doubt he was the greatest poet and dramatist the Western world has ever seen. However, this simple question has a complex answer! In asking “who was Shakespeare?” we discover the Bard’s eventful life, the reasons for his popularity and reveal the authorship controversy: Exactly who was Shakespeare?
"All The World's a Stage"
“All the world’s a stage”: Our analysis reveals what this phrase says about performance, change and gender in Shakespeare's As You Like It.

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