What Did Shakespeare Study In School?

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What Did Shakespeare Study In School
They studied grammar, from dawn to dusk, six days a week, all the year round. Grammar – Latin grammar. They translated from Latin into English and from English into Latin.
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What does Shakespeare study?

Early life: Birth and childhood – William Shakespeare was probably born on about April 23, 1564, the date that is traditionally given for his birth. He was John and Mary Shakespeare’s oldest surviving child; their first two children, both girls, did not live beyond infancy.

  1. Growing up as the big brother of the family, William had three younger brothers, Gilbert, Richard, and Edmund, and two younger sisters: Anne, who died at seven, and Joan.
  2. Their father, John Shakespeare, was a leatherworker who specialized in the soft white leather used for gloves and similar items.
  3. A prosperous businessman, he married Mary Arden, of the prominent Arden family.

John rose through local offices in Stratford, becoming an alderman and eventually, when William was five, the town bailiff—much like a mayor. Not long after that, however, John Shakespeare stepped back from public life; we don’t know why. Shakespeare, as the son of a leading Stratford citizen, almost certainly attended Stratford’s grammar school. What Did Shakespeare Study In School A horn book in the Folger collection, similar to one that Shakespeare might have learned to read from
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Did Shakespeare have a degree?

Transcript – REID : Hello, and welcome to the first episode of “Let’s Talk Shakespeare”, a podcast brought to you from Stratford-upon-Avon by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. I’m Jennifer Reid and for the next ten weeks I’ll be posing questions about William Shakespeare and his life and talking to lots of different experts about the answer.

  1. So, for our first episode I’m starting right at the beginning of Shakespeare’s life, and I am asking, “Was Shakespeare Educated?” First up we have Professor Stanley Wells, Honorary President of the SBT, to give us a really good summary of where Shakespeare would have been educated as a child.
  2. WELLS : Shakespeare’s education would have started at home.

No doubt his mother told him stories, they may have had books around the house, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t have done. She probably told him some of the legends, the fairy stories and that sort of thing, some of which are actually mentioned or referred to in his plays.

  1. He would then probably have gone to what was known as a petty school, which is probably a domestic arrangement, by which somebody would take in young children to give them the rudiments of their education.
  2. These used a hornbook, which you could hold in your hand and it would have on it the alphabet, probably the Lord’s Prayer and numbers and that would form the beginning of an elementary education for a child.

We do know that there were people in Stratford who took young, pre-school children into their own homes for a payment and gave them their elementary education. Stratford had a great grammar school, it’s now the King Edward’s School and, until a couple of years ago it was still only a boys’ school, as it was in Shakespeare’s time.

In Shakespeare’s time, of course, education was more or less confined to males except at the very highest levels of society. Young girls could get some education, but not at a grammar school level. Stratford Grammar School had some very good masters, Oxford graduates, we know that, we know the names of some of them.

We also know the sort of things that would have been on the curriculum, it would have offered a humanist education, that is to say an education in Latin mostly, the boys would have had to speak Latin as well as to read it, even in the playground they were expected to speak Latin.

Shakespeare has a rather charming picture in As You Like It, of the whining schoolboy with his satchel going to school and, no doubt, that’s based on his own experience. REID : So Shakespeare would have attended the local grammar school in Stratford-upon-Avon and although no records or registers from the school at the time survive, we know that young William would have been entitled to a free place at the grammar school because of his father, John Shakespeare’s, position on the town council at the time.

But what would the school day have been like? Stanley mentioned a few things there, but next we have Dr Elizabeth Dollimore, who’s the Outreach and Primary Learning Manager at the SBT, who can tell us in more detail what a grammar school curriculum would have looked like.

  • DOLLIMORE : A grammar school education was by our standards both dull and comprehensive.
  • A lot of it was about learning by rote, the boys would have first learnt the simple English letters from a hornbook, learning the vowel-consonant combinations and sounds and then, learning to read with the Lord’s Prayer.

You might think that’s a phenomenally difficult thing to do for a first reader, your first reader was probably more along the lines of ‘Rodger Redhat’ than “forgive us our trespasses”, but for Shakespeare it was very familiar. It was only seeing the words represented as written language that he was already very familiar with from the spoken language that he would have heard around him and at church.

Following that, Shakespeare would have been introduced to things like Latin, and eventually, later in his schooling, Greek, other things he would have learnt would have been rhetoric, nobody learns rhetoric in school now, but most of us know what it is from the phrase, “rhetorical question”, a question which requires no direct answer but is put into a speech or conversation in order to persuade someone, to make them pause and think.

So you can see how his knowledge of say, traditional Roman and Greek stories plus rhetoric, the art of persuasion, primed him to be a pretty good playwright. He would’ve learnt some other stuff while he was at school as well, but that would have been the main bulk of the curriculum.

Another interesting fact actually, which not many people would think was true, I said that their school day was dull and, in many ways, it would’ve been by our standards. There was no sense that education was fun or participatory, you basically learnt things by rote and were tested by either an older boy or the master.

However, some schools did do what we would consider now to be drama because that was part of learning Latin, so they would have put on productions of well-known Latin plays. So, it’s possible that Shakespeare did do some drama, as it were, as part of his schooling although I think the focus would’ve been more on speech and language skills than on what we would think of as being acting skills but an interesting idea that he might’ve done that at school.

REID: When I spoke to Professor Michael Dobson, Director of the Shakespeare Institute, also here in Stratford, he had an interesting point to make about how this sort of education would have benefited an aspiring playwright. DOBSON : The main emphasis in Elizabethan grammar schools is on remembering texts and being able to recombine phrases from them in compositions of your own, and indeed, being able to compose Latin orations in imaginary characters sometimes.

I mean something that Elizabethan schoolboys were quite often asked to do would be to write a big speech in Latin imagining you were the dying Cleopatra or some other suffering heroine from Roman mythology. So it’s really ideal training for future playwrights and future boy actors being these eloquent women from the classics.

REID : Stanley mentioned at the beginning that, until just a few years ago, the grammar school in Stratford was not open to female students. So what about the girls? Where were they when all the boys were at school and how were they learning? Back to Elizabeth to tell us more about how girls would have received their education in Shakespeare’s time.

DOLLIMORE : Girls were educated in groups by other local women, so a sort of informal schooling system, but very different. Many girls wouldn’t have learnt penmanship, or writing, which doesn’t mean to say they necessarily couldn’t read. A lot more people could read than write, but because those two skills were taught separately, reading and penmanship (writing), it was quite common for people to be able to read but not write and, of course, being able to read doesn’t leave a historical trace because you can’t tell if somebody 400 years ago could read, but if they could write, then they could make their mark or leave a mark to tell the world.

So, many girls could probably read even if not write. Other than that, girls would have been taught practical skills, home skills; embroidery, sewing, animal husbandry, to a degree, depending on their own background and, often, mathematics, it wasn’t uncommon actually for the women to be in charge of the household accounts.

It’s interesting that in that period of history, people began to be able to read because people were encouraged to read the Bible at home. Previously to that, in the Catholic time, people had pretty much thought that the only person who should interpret the Bible was the priest in Church.

  1. So, given that freedom to interpret and read the Bible at home, and the Bible becoming published in English instead of Latin meant that many more people were able to read and did read, and that skill became much more common within society.
  2. REID : Liz mentioned there girls learning in the home, but, of course, boys would have learnt there to.

We know that Shakespeare lived at home on Henley Street with his parents, Mary and John, and his siblings. So what sort of education would we expect him to have received from his parents there? Dr. Tara Hamling is a senior lecturer in Early Modern history at the University of Birmingham and she’s interesting in education in the home at the time when Shakespeare was growing up.

HAMLING : So I think in thinking about Shakespeare’s education, most people have tended to focus on his schooling, that he almost certainly would have gone to Stratford Grammar School, but I’m interested in his education around school, so, for example, home education, the kind of education that Shakespeare, and people like Shakespeare, would have grown up with.

There’s an awful lot of contemporary advice aimed at middling householders like John Shakespeare in this time, about how they should govern their families, and part of that involves, obviously, educating their children in good Biblical values, learning the Lord’s Prayer, learning the catechism.

So, if John Shakespeare followed this advice, it would have been a very heavily Biblical-inspired education, probably Bible reading and this is something that, as I say, all middling householders were encouraged to do, whether or not people actually did it we don’t know. But John Shakespeare was a fine upstanding citizen of the Stratford community, he would have wanted to be seen to be observing these behaviours, we don’t know exactly his religious orientation.

There’s some discussion about whether he remained faithful to the Roman Catholic faith, despite the Reformation and the move to the Protestant faith but, even if he did remain attached to the old religion, in was in his interests to appear as a good, upstanding Protestant member of the community and fine, upstanding members of the Protestant community were supposed to observe this kind of good Biblical governance for their families.

  1. So we can imagine Shakespeare and his siblings sitting around, reading the Bible, then being quizzed on the Bible, particularly by John Shakespeare but also, by Mary Shakespeare as well.
  2. This is something that both parents had an investment in and that would have obviously kick-started his imagination, got him thinking about stories and the way that narrative works.

The great popular stories from Genesis, for example, thinking of things like Abraham and Isaac and the story of Joseph and his brothers, these sorts of stories no doubt appealed because of their dramatic trajectory, the way they move through the narrative, they’re good plots.

These sorts of stories were also depicted in decorative arts, so you would have been able to see them represented as well in the home, and the home of this sort of social level. So, there’s a kind of informal education that comes alongside the formal education of Bible reading of absorbing these stories from the environment and perhaps, thinking about the way that staging works and plot work because where these stories were represented, they would have been represented in individual scenes that would look very staged, sometimes even depicted with curtains at the side.

It’s interesting to think about how Shakespeare might have started to imagine stories being played out that ultimately, come from the Bible and his childhood education rather than his formal education at grammar school. REID : So if Shakespeare was learning in the home from his parents, does that mean they were educated people too? What do we know about their level of literacy and education? HAMLING : So, when it comes to the education of Shakespeare’s parents there’s a big question mark.

We know that Mary Arden must have been literate and fairly well educated because she was named as executor for her father’s will, so that involves a certain level of education. Mary Arden comes from reasonably high society in Stratford at that time, she has a connection with a very grand family, the Ardens so she almost certainly was educated to a point but, again, we tend to impose our ideas of education onto the past and in this period some people were able to read not write, or write not read, they don’t necessarily go together.

There’s obviously a kind of informal education that allows people to make do and get through without necessarily conforming to expectations of classical education. So, Mary Arden probably could read, probably would have been able to do this kind of instruction that I’ve been talking about.

There’s been a big question mark over John Shakespeare and whether he was literate but, he served as Mayor or bailiff in Stratford-upon-Avon, he had a series of appointments within the civic authority, the corporation, so it’s hard to think that he couldn’t get by in the way that I’ve been talking about.

Whether he had been to grammar school is another question, probably not but again, this kind of expectation that he would have read the Bible out to his family is the kind of thing that you would expect somebody of John Shakespeare’s status, as he became because he was obviously up-and-coming over the course of his life, to be able to do.

So whether his wife helped him with that early on in their relationship who knows but, these people, Mary and John Shakespeare, they are of a certain level of society and there are expectations about certainly the ability to read that comes with that status. Of course, they also represent this transitional time in terms of their social status, they’re moving up in society and then for Mary perhaps, going back down again towards the end of their lives.

But John Shakespeare’s situation mirrors an awful lot of middling level householders, in doing quite well for themselves and then being able to educate their children. It’s transitional, as well, in terms of expectations surrounding literacy and education so it’s very much a period of flux and John and Mary Shakespeare represent that I think in the uncertainty around precisely what their education was or their abilities were chimes with the shifting values and expectations at the time.

REID : So that’s Shakespeare’s school education covered, but what happened next? Well, we know he didn’t go to university but was that unusual for playwrights? Did he stand out from his peers because he didn’t go to uni? Dr Anjna Chouhan is a lecturer in Shakespeare Studies at the SBT and she told me a bit more detail about this.

CHOUHAN : Shakespeare did not attend a university, you needed to be of significant, or at least substantial, wealth to go to university and we know that Shakespeare when he reached the university age after he left grammar school, rather than going off to further his study, he stayed in Stratford and got married and started a family, after which he travelled off and went to London.

Then, by the age of 28, he’s appearing in records in London as a writer of plays, as a playwright. So no, he did not attend university and it wasn’t expected of a playwright to have a higher education in that way. We know that Shakespeare’s contemporary, his exact contemporary, Christopher Marlowe, did have a university education.

Marlowe and Shakespeare were born in exactly the same year and it’s strange to think that they both ended up in the same place, in London, writing plays. Certainly, at the beginning of Shakespeare’s career, Marlowe was a sensation, he was very popular, but to think that he had that university education and Shakespeare didn’t is really extraordinary.

Then there were other playwrights who at least attended, if not completed, a university education. I think that Shakespeare would have been the kind of person who was excited by the possibility of learning more, learning about new places, about different voices, different cultures, different texts. He certainly borrowed lots and lots of plots, stories, characters, names, you name it and he borrowed it! He really appropriated almost anything that he could get his hands on so it’s tempting to think about him as somebody who would’ve liked, in his spare time, to study, to read, to explore and expand his mind, his knowledge, his world and then bring that into his art.

It’s a lovely thought. REID : So, as Anjna pointed out, when we look at Shakespeare’s writing, we can see evidence of both his education and his continued reading all over the place. Michael Dobson gave me a really good explanation and some examples of how we can see evidence of Shakespeare’s reading in his writing.

  1. DOBSON : Yeah, I think Shakespeare made very, very good use of that education.
  2. He doesn’t go on to university, as his friends keep congratulating him on but, he does become an avid reader clearly, a magpie, as per humanist training.
  3. We can tell which books he read, at least from which ones he uses in the plays.

We know his plays were on sale once they got into print in the book stalls of St Paul’s where a lot of his sources were also freely available like the old King Lear play that came out in 1605 and which he promptly rewrote the minute he got hold of it.

  • We can tell he’s got access to a copy of Holinshed’s Chronicles, he’s particularly fond of Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans in Thomas North’s translation, which is itself a translation of a French translation, so, those are favourites.
  • Also Ovid, he’s very, very fond of Publius Ovidius Naso, the great lyrical Roman poet whose great subject is Metamorphoses, things turning into people and visa versa, and change and transition and moving on from one stage to another are among Shakespeare’s great recurrent subjects.

Most of his Latin mythology, his Greek mythology comes straight from Ovid, which, again, was something popular in grammar schools. REID : Michael mentioned Ovid and his Metamorphoses there, and this is a book that’s referenced a great deal throughout Shakespeare’s writing throughout his whole career and, as Stanley Wells told me, it’s quite clearly one of Shakespeare’s favourite books.

WELLS : We know from his writings, we’ve got an idea of what were his favourites. He refers frequently, throughout his life, in his plays to Ovid, the great Roman poet, whose book Metamorphoses, that means change, is a book of legends of Ancient Rome that deals with change in magical transformations partly, forms the basis of Shakespeare’s first poem, ‘Venus and Adonis’ and it goes on popping up in Shakespeare’s writings.

He even brings it on stage a couple of times, in Titus Andronicus, probably his first tragedy, and later in his career, in Cymbeline, the heroine there is reading Ovid at one point. He quotes almost directly from Ovid in his last solo authored play, The Tempest, where Prospero’s great speech, beginning “Ye elves of hills”, is pretty well a translation of Ovid, it’s really a crib from Ovid.

REID : So this idea of Shakespeare lifting parts from other books and rewriting other people’s stories, it sounds a bit off to us today but, the idea of plagiarism wasn’t established when Shakespeare was writing and this sort of practice was completely standard amongst writers. So the last clip I want to play on this podcast is Madeleine Cox, Maddy runs the Reading Room and Public Service here at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and when I had a chat with her she had a lovely way of describing how audiences at the time would have enjoyed references to other works within Shakespeare’s plays.

COX : I think that’s how working here has surprised me, I didn’t realise until I came to work here, quite how much he’d borrowed from other things. I think when we’re doing displays to groups that’s what I really like to share with people because some of the things, like the references in the plays, like with A Hundred Merry Tales and Much Ado About Nothing, it can make them quite hard to understand because you’re not understanding the references, whereas to a person then, they would have been thinking, “Yes he’s talking about that” or, “I recognise that bit” and that would’ve been actually quite a nice thing for them to do.

  1. I think that it would be more a sign of how he’s using his intelligence to kind of reshape things and make references knowing people would get.
  2. It’s always my big thing that I end up talking about Terry Pratchett, but I think it is like in Terry Pratchett where you can read it and you can have a laugh and enjoy the story whether you get all the references or not.

There’s references to Shakespeare in there and many other writers, modern culture, everything, you could read it and just enjoy it as a story and I guess, particularly children reading them would probably have that experience, but then, reading them again, you kind of pick out all these references like, “Oh yeah, oh that’s a nod to that.” So it’s like an extra level of enjoyment for people who have that knowledge.

  1. So I guess that’s how people would’ve felt listening to the plays or reading them at that time, because things like Plutarch and Ovid would have been as familiar to them as Shakespeare is to us now.
  2. And I think in a way that how he’s particularly clever because he’s taking these stories that, some of them in themselves may not be that exciting or popular, and sort of changing little elements of them to make them these amazing plays.

REID : Well, that’s time up for this week’s podcast. Thanks everyone who has been involved; Stanley, Michael, Liz, Anjna, Tara and Maddy and also, a huge thanks to the Friends of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust for making this podcast possible in the first place.
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Why is Shakespeare taught in school?

An April 2015 report entitled The Unkindest Cut by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni states, “A mere 4 of,,52 colleges and universities require English majors to take a course focused on Shakespeare. Those institutions are Harvard, University of California-Berkeley, U.S.

Naval Academy, and Wellesley College.” Later in the article, ACTA writes, “It used to be that we could count on our colleges and universities to introduce students—in Matthew Arnold’s words—to the best that has been thought and said. This is no longer the case.” According to Ryan L. Cole of the National Review, ” Part of the motivation is economic, as departments pander to their customers with courses on children’s literature, cinema, television, Harry Potter, and vampires.

Another part is political, involving academia’s devaluing of Western classics.” Fortunately, most high schools have not followed the examples of our institutions of higher learning. I’m with them! I believe we should regularly be exposing all age students to Shakespeare.

Here’s my countdown of the top 5 reasons why we should never give up on teaching Shakespeare: #5 Brain work. If students can successfully read and understand Shakespeare, they can handle almost anything else. Why should we dumb down our high school students with children’s literature—no matter how well written? Let’s sharpen their brains with literature that will challenge them.

“I have good reason to be content, for thank God I can read and perhaps understand Shakespeare to his depths.” ~John Keats~ #4 Word, words, words. Scholars estimate that Shakespeare invented 1700 of our common words. He changed nouns into verbs, changed verbs into adjectives, connected words never before used together, added prefixes and suffixes, and devised completely new words.

  1. He also coined expressions that have been used so much they are now considered clichés.
  2. He was the man who of all modern, and perhaps ancient poets, had the largest and most comprehensive soul.” ~John Dryden~ #3 Complex characters.
  3. Shakespeare showed a thorough understanding of human nature with the characters he created.

His heroes express the fears and desires of every thoughtful man. His bold heroines give the likes of Katniss Everdeen a run for her money. We learn more about ourselves from the personalities that people his plays. “With this same key Shakespeare unlocked his heart’ once more!” ~Robert Browning~ #2 Rich dense language.

Few other writers match the beauty of Shakespeare’s language or the depth of the truths he expressed. His soliloquies and monologues, even the speeches crafted for comic relief, are some of the most eloquent every written. His command of language provokes our imaginations and inspires our own written expressions.

“The souls most fed with Shakespeare’s flame still sat unconquered in a ring, remembering him like anything.” ~G.K. Chesterton~ #1 Universal appeal. Shakespeare’s themes still resonate today. His plays delve into the issues of love, loss, treachery, honor, tenderness, anger, despair, jealousy, contempt, fear, courage, and wonder.
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Did Shakespeare study Latin and Greek?

What Grammar School Taught Shakespeare About Being a Theater Icon (Guest Post) What Did Shakespeare Study In School Quest post by Cassidy Cash William Shakespeare attended school at King Edward VIs Grammar School in Stratford Upon Avon from the age of 7 until the age of 14. The typical rendition of Shakespeares time in Stratford focuses on the fact that Shakespeare studied Latin and Greek. What Did Shakespeare Study In School King Edward Grammar School All of these writers were also established and successful dramatists. Powerhouse Latin authors like Seneca, Ovid, Cicero, Virgil, the Psalms, Cato, and even Aesops Fables, were teaching students history, culture, art, and mathematics along with language and translation.

  • For William Shakespeare, these authors introduced the man who would become the greatest playwright in history to the greatest theater minds then known to the world.
  • William Shakespeare studied bastions of Roman and Greek theater learning not only their works but also their conventions and staging techniques.

Through massive amounts of recitation, translation, and investigative education which was standard curriculum format for elementary students of his day, William Shakespeare was more than prepared to waltz into London to establish himself professionally having received a professional level of training and education specifically in theater that we see him apply in his own plays.

  • Major conventions from Roman theater include the use of a chorus, adding music to enhance the stage performance, and enrolling the use of a minor character to eavesdrop on a conversation to the benefit of the audience.
  • Dramatists like Plautus developed these specific stage conventions when he adapted Greek plays for Roman audiences.

This same Plautus is the one whose works would have been read, memorized, and translated by a young William Shakespeare at his grammar school years before. In fact, one of Shakespeares most notable conventions–using the prologue to prepare the audience for the coming production, was something employed by another Roman playwright studied as standard curriculum in the 16 th century: Terence.

Terences use of the prologue broke from tradition in Roman theater. Traditionally, the prologue was used to preface the performance, but Terence took it a step further and used the prologue to plead with the audience and make a case for how they should receive the work at hand. Sound familiar? Shakespeare used the prologue to plead with the audience in plays like Romeo and Juliet and Troilus and Cressida.

Seneca cannot be too heavy, no Plautus too light.” For the law of writ and the liberty, these are the only men. Polonius, Hamlet, Act II, Scene II There are 57 references in Shakespeares collected works to the Greeks, and 45 to Latin. Shakespeare writes 13 times about the Greek mythological queen Hecuba, the story which was the foundation for Euripides, a popular ancient Grecian playwrights work of the same name.

  1. Shakespeares play, Macbeth, is eerily similar to Euripidess work called Madea.
  2. As icing on this particular cake, the grammar school would culminate the end of the school each year by having the students perform a play, presumably demonstrative of what they had learned during their studies.
  3. Modern day experts tell us it only takes 10,000 hours to be an expert in something.
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By studying at his grammar school for 12 hours a day, 6 days a week (as students did routinely). By that estimation, Shakespeare would be an expert almost 3 times over in theater, staging, and indeed playwriting, by the time he arrived in London.

Kind of makes you want to read more books, doesnt it?— About the Author

Cassidy Cash is That Shakespeare Girl. Cassidy believes that if you want to successfully master Shakespeares plays, then understanding the history of William Shakespeare the man is essential. She writes for a vibrant community of Shakespeareans at her blog and produces weekly episodes for her YouTube channel, Did Shakespeare.
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What subject is Shakespeare taught in?

Think back to your high school English classes. Did you read Romeo and Juliet as a freshman? What about Hamlet in your senior year? Studying Shakespeare is required in the Common Core English Language Arts standards, but the Bard secured his place on the English curriculum in American classrooms long before the Common Core was established.

As Jonathan Burton explained for the Shakespeare in American Life radio documentary, sections of Shakespeare’s plays appeared in the McGuffey Readers, one of the most common “textbooks” in nineteenth-century America. Shakespeare appears first in the McGuffey Reader, the Fourth Reader, of 1837, and this work has just two passages in it.

One is a section of King John and it’s merely entitled “Prince Arthur” and the name of the play does not even appear. The same can be said of the one excerpt from Julius Caesar that’s also included, which is entitled “Antony’s Oration over Caesar’s Dead Body.” Here it’s important to note that Shakespeare’s name does not appear with these passages, nor does the name of the play.

  1. Today, the Folger Shakespeare Library Editions are the most popular Shakespeare texts used in American high school classrooms.
  2. In 2015 and in 2014, Romeo and Juliet was the top seller, followed by Hamlet, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello, and Julius Caesar.
  3. We asked our Twitter followers about which Shakespeare plays they studied in high school, what they thought of them now, and whether that opinion changed as they got older.

We also asked about Jane Austen, because of our current exhibition, Will & Jane – but we found, unsurprisingly, that far fewer respondents had read Austen in a high school English class. If they had, it was likely Pride and Prejudice, Read some of the tweets we received, and leave your own comment below! R & J, Macbeth, & Hamlet.

  1. Enjoyed Macbeth and Hamlet more because that was an upper level class, where as R&J was 9th grade.
  2. Sarah Wingo (@SgWingo) August 24, 2016 Memorized Hamlet’s instructions to the Player King in HS.
  3. Still know it.
  4. My daughter read my HS copy of P&P.
  5. Maranovak @post.news (@NaraMovak) August 24, 2016 https://twitter.com/Rose_Fairbanks/status/769518584578146304 “Merchant”, “Caesar”, & Scottish play, but really discovered S.

in my 20s via Charles Williams. Also first found JA in my 20s — John W Kennedy (@john_w_kennedy) August 24, 2016 My first Shakespeare experience in HS was Macbeth. I remember thinking it was better than Hill Street Blues. It certainly is. — Rich Sanders (@Askam221Rich) August 29, 2016 Which Shakespeare plays or Austen novels did you read in your high school English class? Tell us in the comments below.
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How much formal education did Shakespeare have?

It may seem strange considering the genius of Shakespeare’s work that he had very little formal education. He probably attended what was called a ‘petty school’ from ages 5-7, where boys were taught the principals of good behavior and the catechism.
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What two subjects did Shakespeare study?

Shakespeare’s Education and Childhood – Shakespeare probably began his education at the age of six or seven at the Stratford grammar school, which is still standing only a short distance from his house on Henley Street. Although we have no record of Shakespeare attending the school, due to the official position held by John Shakespeare it seems likely that he would have decided to educate young William at the school which was under the care of Stratford’s governing body.

The Stratford grammar school had been built some two hundred years before Shakespeare was born and in that time the lessons taught there were, of course, dictated primarily by the beliefs of the reigning monarch. In 1553, due to a charter by King Edward VI, the school became known as the King’s New School of Stratford-upon-Avon.

During the years that Shakespeare attended the school, at least one and possibly three headmasters stepped down because of their devotion to the Catholic religion proscribed by Queen Elizabeth. One of these masters was Simon Hunt (b.1551), who, in 1578, according to tradition, left Stratford to pursue his more spiritual goal of becoming a Jesuit, and relocated to the seminary at Rheims.

Hunt had found his true vocation: when he died in Rome seven years later he had risen to the position of Grand Penitentiary. Like all of the great poets and dramatists of the time, Shakespeare learned his basic reading and writing skills from an ABC, or horn-book. Robert Speaight in his book, Shakespeare: The Man and His Achievement, describes this book as a primer framed in wood and covered with a thin plate of transparent horn.

It included the alphabet in small letters and in capitals, with combinations of the five vowels with b, c, and d, and the Lord’s Prayer in English. The first of these alphabets, which ended with the abbreviation for ‘and’, began with the mark of the cross.

Hence the alphabet was known as ‘Christ cross row’ – the cross-row of Richard III, I, i, 55. A short catechism was often included in the ABC book (the ‘absey book’ of King John, I, i, 196). (10) In The Merry Wives of Windsor, there is a comical scene in which the Welsh headmaster tests his pupil’s knowledge, who is appropriately named William.

There is little doubt that Shakespeare was recalling his own experiences during his early school years. As was the case in all Elizabethan grammar schools, Latin was the primary language of learning. Although Shakespeare likely had some lessons in English, Latin composition and the study of Latin authors like Seneca, Cicero, Ovid, Virgil, and Horace would have been the focus of his literary training.

  1. One can see that Shakespeare absorbed much that was taught in his grammar school, for he had an impressive familiarity with the stories by Latin authors, as is evident when examining his plays and their sources.
  2. Please see the article Shakespeare’s School Days for an extensive list of the books Shakespeare would have read.

Even though scholars, basing their argument on a story told more than a century after the fact, accept that Shakespeare was removed from school around age thirteen because of his father’s financial and social difficulties, there is no reason whatsoever to believe that he had not acquired a firm grasp of both English and Latin and that he had continued his studies elsewhere.

The famous quotation from Nicholas Rowe’s notoriously inaccurate biography of Shakespeare (written in 1709), where he claims that Shakespeare “acquir’d that little Latin he was Master of” and that Shakespeare was prevented by his father’s poor fortune from “further Proficiency in that Language”, should be read with an extremely critical eye.

There are other fragmented and dubious details about Shakespeare’s life growing up in Stratford. He is supposed to have worked for a butcher, in addition to helping run his father’s business. There is a fable that Shakespeare stole a deer from Sir Thomas Lucy at Charlecote, and, instead of serving a prison sentence, fled from Stratford.

Although this surely is a fictitious incident, there exists a few verses of a humorous ballad mocking Lucy that have been connected to Shakespeare. “Edmond Malone records a version of two verses of the Lucy Ballad collected by one of the few great English classical scholars, Joshua Barnes, at Stratford between 1687 and 1690.

Barnes stopped overnight at an inn and heard an old woman singing it. He gave her a new gown for the two stanzas which were all she remembered”:

Sir Thomas was so covetous
To covet so much deer
When horns enough upon his head
Most plainly did appear
Had not his worship one deer left?
What then? He had a wife
Took pains enough to find him horns
Should last him during life. (Levi, 35)

Shakespeare’s daily activities after he left school and before he re-emerged as a professional actor in the late 1580s are impossible to trace. Suggestions that he might have worked as a schoolmaster or lawyer or glover with his father and brother, Gilbert, are all plausible.

  1. So too is the argument that Shakespeare studied intensely to become a master at his literary craft, and honed his acting skills while traveling and visiting playhouses outside of Stratford.
  2. But, it is from this period known as the “lost years”, that we obtain one vital piece of information about Shakespeare: he married a pregnant orphan named Anne Hathaway.

For a fascinating look at what Shakespeare’s daily life would have been like growing up in Stratford, please see the book excerpt Country Life and Character in Elizabethan Enlgand, How to cite this article: Mabillard, Amanda. Shakespeare’s Education and Childhood, Queen Elizabeth: Shakespeare’s Patron King James I of England: Shakespeare’s Patron The Earl of Southampton: Shakespeare’s Patron Going to a Play in Elizabethan London The Shakespeare Sisterhood – A Gallery Worst Diseases in Shakespeare’s London Preface to The First Folio Shakespeare’s Pathos – General Introduction Shakespeare’s Portrayal of Childhood Shakespeare’s Portrayal of Old Age Shakespeare’s Attention to Details Shakespeare’s Portrayals of Sleep Publishing in Elizabethan England What did Shakespeare drink? Ben Jonson and the Decline of the Drama Publishing in Elizabethan England Alchemy and Astrology in Shakespeare’s Day Entertainment in Elizabethan England London’s First Public Playhouse Shakespeare Hits the Big Time View complete answer

Was Shakespeare a school master?

Image caption, William Shakespeare is known to have been sponsored by Henry Wriothesley William Shakespeare may have spent some of his “lost” early years working as a schoolmaster in a Hampshire village. Local historians in Titchfield near Southampton believe the Bard worked as a schoolmaster at a school there for three years between 1589 and 1592.
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How far did Shakespeare go with his education?

Grammar school :: Life and Times : After two years in petty school, Shakespeare would have advanced to the grammar school, where he would have studied It must have been during his time at this school that he learned to look beyond the mechanics of language to the beauty of literature.

He would have studied, who remained a great favourite throughout his life, and he would have read, the most admired writer of Latin comedy. He would also have been introduced to rhetoric and some logic through the writings of and, as well as Latin history, philosophy and perhaps some rudimentary,

Although boys normally attended grammar school until age 15 or 16, Shakespeare may have been forced to leave school as early as 1577, at age 13, because of his father’s, There is no record of Shakespeare attending university.
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Why is studying Shakespeare so important?

The Importance of Studying Shakespeare It is a beautiful, wonderful thing that our literary canon is becoming more diverse and robust–that stories from all over are given voice and presence. In such a rapidly changing literary world, I’m often asked why students should even bother studying classics like Shakespeare at all, given that there are mounds of options and, obviously, everything cannot be covered within those limited high school years.

There are allusions to Shakespeare everywhere within our modern culture.

We’ve kept copious words and phrases invented by Shakespeare (or at least credited to him). In his time, Shakespeare invented close to 2,000 words. Think his audience knew what he was talking about all the time? Probably not, but context certainly helped, and I bet they thrilled over his absurd made-up words.

Shakespeare’s works are part of the foundation of modern literature, and the themes and content are timeless, connecting past to present.

While studying his work gives insight into past culture and society, it also serves as a bridge between our modern time and times far past. His works are still relevant today, addressing themes like love, revenge, social expectation, corruption, transformation, etc.

  • It’s an important reminder that no matter how progressive our society becomes, we are still human.
  • Every last one of us.
  • Throughout all of history.
  • There’s something comforting about that.
  • We can read a text that is hundreds of years old and still connect to it– even while seeing how our society has grown and changed.

Additionally, many of our current beloved book series or movies stem from Shakespearean plays and characters, and I am not just speaking of books written in English. Shakespeare’s influence is global and far-reaching.

Students need to read material that is challenging.

Material that challenges students is an opportunity for immense growth in comprehension AND in self-confidence! Often, classical works deal with thought-provoking situations that inspire students to wrestle with questions that are imperative in figuring out who they are and what they believe as individuals.

Language is ever-evolving, and reading classics encourages word study. Exposure to Shakespeare helps students see the progression of our recognizable language (if you think Shakespeare is tricky, try looking at some Old or Middle English) and gives students more contextual strength.

Classic literature helps improve vocabulary and comprehension of other texts. It also aids in seeing the progression of punctuation, syntax, and structure within the English language. While this may not seem important on the surface, it certainly helps when students are encountered with learning a new language or when analyzing other texts.

There are thousands of resources that make Shakespeare accessible to students who may struggle with it.

Use them! Read the play, sure. But also consider a companion reader/modern translation. See a play (they were meant to be seen after all). Watch a movie. Don’t shy away from something just because it is difficult. In fact, that difficulty is a great reason to tackle it head on.
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Did Shakespeare use Greek mythology?

Introducing Shakespeare and Greek Myths: Theseus and Hippolyta | Folger Shakespeare Library Not much is known with certainty about Shakespeare’s life, opinions, or personal interests, but there are some things we can be fairly confident about—namely, some of his reading material.

Scholars have identified Thomas North’s translation of Plutarch’s The liues of the noble Grecians and Romanes, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and Homer’s Iliad as among the likely sources of Shakespeare’s work. His classical education as a schoolboy would have further exposed him—like much of his audience—to stories of wayward gods, goddesses, nymphs, and heroes that could then be referenced to great poetic effect within the plays.

In many cases, the same myth is told differently in different sources, providing a variety of versions to choose from. In this new “Shakespeare and Greek Myths” series of posts, we take time to explore some of the Greek mythological figures that get a shout-out from Shakespeare’s stage—beginning with Theseus and Hippolyta.

Desmond Bing (Demetrius), Kim Wong (Helena), Betsy Mugavero (Hermia), Adam Wesley Brown (Lysander), Eric Hissom (Theseus), and Caroline Stefanie Clay (Hippolyta) in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Folger Theatre, 2016. Teresa Wood. While many figures from Greek mythology are referenced in Shakespeare’s works, Theseus and Hippolyta are notable for their inclusion as fully formed characters in not one but two of the plays.

Their impending wedding is the driving force behind much of A Midsummer Night’s Dream ‘s plot, and Hippolyta’s sister, Emilia, is a central character in The Two Noble Kinsmen, But who are these royal figures, and what backstories do they bring with them? The son of some combination of King Aegeus, Aethra, princess of Troezen, and the god Poseidon, Theseus was raised by his mother far from his homeland of Athens.

  1. To claim his birthright, he returned to Athens via a dangerous, labor-filled route, defeating six adversaries and beginning his career as a Grecian hero.
  2. Upon arrival, he aroused the ire of Aegeus’s then-wife, Medea—yes, that Medea—who attempted to poison him.
  3. Aegeus recognized Theseus and thwarted Madea’s plan, reuniting father and son.

Theseus, detail from Plutarch. Liues of the noble Grecians and Romanes, London, 1579. All this is quite impressive, but Theseus really came into his own when he defeated the minotaur. SUFFOLK: O, wert thou for myself! But, Suffolk, stay. Thou mayst not wander in that labyrinth.

  1. There Minotaurs and ugly treasons lurk.
  2. Henry VI, Part 1, 5.3.192 A fearsome half-bull-half-man, the minotaur was kept in a labyrinth on Crete, and feasted on the young Athenians sent there each year by Aegeus.
  3. Tired of losing his country’s best and brightest, Theseus volunteered to go fight the minotaur himself, promising that he would swap his ship’s sails from black to white if he returned successful.

With the help of the Cretan princess Ariadne, who supplied him with a string (or, depending on the source, a thread or jewels) to aid his way, Theseus was able to kill the minotaur and find his way back through the maze. In one version, Theseus fled Crete with Ariadne, but then abandoned her on the island of Naxos at the command of the god Dionysus.

  1. In another, he just abandoned her.
  2. In either case, her treatment was a poor thank you for her service.
  3. JULIA: And at that time I made her weep agood, For I did play a lamentable part; Madam, ’twas Ariadne, passioning For Theseus’ perjury and unjust flight, Which I so lively acted with my tears That my poor mistress, movèd therewithal, Wept bitterly; and would I might be dead If I in thought felt not her very sorrow.

—The Two Gentlemen of Verona, 4.4.174 Whether distraught over having to leave Ariadne, or distracted by thoughts of his first meal back at home, Theseus failed to change his sails from black to white. When Aegeus saw the black sails and thought his son had been killed, he responded by throwing himself into the sea, now known as the Aegean Sea.

  1. Ariadne was not the only maiden to lose out badly in her encounter with Theseus.
  2. While heroic in his accomplishments in battle, as a romantic partner he left a lot to be desired.
  3. He moved from woman to woman quickly, even finding time (according to Shakespeare) to dally with the queen of the fairies: OBERON: How canst thou thus for shame, Titania, Glance at my credit with Hippolyta, Knowing I know thy love to Theseus? Didst not thou lead him through the glimmering night From Perigouna, whom he ravishèd, And make him with fair Aegles break his faith, With Ariadne and Antiopa? —A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2.1.76 When the action of Midsummer begins, Theseus seems to have put those days behind him in favor of settling down with Hippolyta, queen of a fearsome group of warrior women known as the Amazons.

SECOND QUEEN: Honored Hippolyta, Most dreaded Amazonian, that hast slain The scythe-tusked boar; that with thy arm, as strong As it is white, wast near to make the male To thy sex captive, but that this thy lord, Born to uphold creation in that honor First nature styled it in, shrunk thee into The bound thou wast o’erflowing, at once subduing Thy force and thy affection —The Two Noble Kinsmen, 1.1.87 Byam Shaw.

Midsummer Night’s Dream, Drawing, ca.1900. Hippolyta’s story has many versions, but central to them all is her role in the 12 Labors of Hercules. Hercules’s ninth task was to procure Hippolyta’s war belt (also referred to as a girdle), which he accomplished. The classical story goes that Hippolyta granted it to him willingly, but it diverges as to whether she survived the encounter or was accidentally killed by her own forces in a battle stirred up by the goddess Hera.

Assuming, as in Shakespeare’s plays, that Hippolyta survived, and she and Theseus got togetherwell, that’s a whole other choose-your-own-adventure. THESEUS: Hippolyta, I wooed thee with my sword And won thy love doing thee injuries, But I will wed thee in another key, With pomp, with triumph, and with reveling.

— A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 1.1.17 Was Theseus with Hercules during his ninth labor, and met Hippolyta then? Did Hercules abduct her on behalf of Theseus? Did Theseus woo or abduct her at another time? Or did Theseus never marry Hippolyta, but married her sister Antiope? Depending on the source you consult, any of these could be possible.

“Thou art an Amazon,” Henry VI, Part 1, 1.2.F.O.C. Darley. Drawing, 1885. What emerges from all these variations is that Theseus married and may have abducted a high-ranking Amazon, that it led to a war between the Amazons and Athenians, that Theseus had a son named Hippolytus, named for either his mother or aunt, and that the Amazons were a force to be reckoned with.

This last point is one that Shakespeare drove home time and time again, with references to the Amazons as fierce females scattered throughout his plays, including Henry VI, Part 1, Henry VI, Part 3, King John, and Timon of Athens, Unlike many in Shakespeare’s original audiences, we may not instantly recognize Theseus and Hippolyta from their mythological histories, but luckily Shakespeare provided us with rich characters who stand on their own.

Sometimes loving, sometimes quarrelsome, they set the tone for their two plays, counterpointing and commenting on the love stories of the A-plot, and adding a rich, subtle layer to these complex texts. ⇉ Related: In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the actors who play Theseus and Hippolyta may also portray Oberon and Titania; check out this post on to see how that can add an element of meta-narrative to the production.

  1. Emma poltrack has a PhD in English and Comparative Literature Studies (with a focus on contemporary Shakespearean performance) from University of Warwick.
  2. She earned her MA in Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-Avon and the Cultural History of Renaissance England at The Shakespeare Institute.
  3. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Find out what’s on, read our latest stories, and learn how you can get involved. : Introducing Shakespeare and Greek Myths: Theseus and Hippolyta | Folger Shakespeare Library
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Did Shakespeare study Greek mythology?

Ovid: Shakespeare’s Main Source for Mythology – The Roman poet Ovid was Shakespeare’s most important source of information on ancient Greek and Roman myths. Ovid’s best-known work, Metamorphoses, was a wellspring of mythological tales that Shakespeare dipped into again and again while writing his plays and poems.

Metamorphoses, a long narrative poem, consists of fifteen books focusing generally on the theme of transformation, or change. It begins with a creation myth in which a preexisting force transforms a chaotic jumble of elements into an orderly universe from which the earth, stars, animals, and human beings evolved.

It ends with commentary in which Ovidthen in his mid-thirtiespraises Augustus Caesar (63 BC-AD 14). Augustus became emperor of Rome in 27 BC, ruling until AD 14, after years of turmoil following the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC. Between the creation myth and the praise for Augustus are stories of humans, gods, goddesses, and monsters.

  • Ovid (pronounced A H vid ) wrote in Classical Latin (as opposed to Vulgar Latin, the language of everyday conversation) for an educated, cosmopolitan audience.
  • Grammar schools in Shakespeare’s time required boys to study the Latin language as well as tales from Metamorphoses,
  • An English translation of the workwritten in lucid rhyming couplets by Arthur Golding (1536-1606)became available to students and the general public in 1567.

Revised editions appeared in 1575, 1587, and later years. Shakespeare consulted this translation often over the years, as did other great writers of his era, including Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) and Edmund Spenser (circa 1552-1599). Other popular works written by Ovid include Heroides ( The Heroines ), Amores ( The Loves ), Ars Amatoria ( The Art of Love ), Remedia Amoris ( The Cure for Love ), Fasti ( The Festivals ), and Tristia ( Sorrows ).

  1. Ovid (in full, Publius Ovidius Naso) was born in 43 BC in Sulmo, Italy, a small town about 90 miles east of Rome.
  2. Today Sulmo is known as Sulmona.) He died in AD 17 or 18 in the Black Sea town of Tomis, which is the present-day Romanian city of Constanța.
  3. Augustus Caesar had exiled Ovid to Tomis in AD 8 for offenses which were not fully explained by Ovid or later historians.

Shakespeare used Ovidian characters and scenes in numerous works, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Titus Andronicus, The Winter’s Tale, Love’s Labor’s Lost, The Tempest, Troilus and Cressida, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Hamlet, and Romeo and Juliet,

  • Shakespeare based his narrative poem Venus and Adonis on an episode in Book 10 of Metamorphoses,
  • His narrative poem The Rape of Lucrece uses information from Ovid’s Fasti,
  • The Gods of Olympus The most important deities in Greek mythology resided in the Thessaly region of Greece on Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in the country at 9,573 feet.

They were as follows: 1. King of the Gods Greek Name: Zeus (pronounced ZOOSE). Roman Name: Jupiter or Jove. Description: King and protector of the gods and humankind. As ruler of the sky, he made rain and thunder and wielded lightning bolts.2. Queen of the Gods Greek Name: Hera (pronounced HEER uh ) Roman Name: Juno.

  1. Description: Protector and overseer of women, marriage, and childbirth.
  2. She was the sister and wife of Zeus.3.
  3. Goddess of Wisdom and War Greek Name: Athena, Pallas Athena, or Pallas.
  4. Roman Name: Minerva.
  5. Description: Goddess of wisdom and war.
  6. She was born fully grown in a suit of armor, issuing from the forehead of Zeus.

The Greeks highly revered her and built many temples in her honor. In the Trojan War, she sometimes intervened in battle on behalf of the Greeks.4. God of War Greek Name: Ares (pronounced AIR eez ). Roman Name: Mars. Description: Son of Zeus and Hera.

  1. In the Trojan War, Ares sometimes intervened in battle on behalf of the Trojans.
  2. The ancient Romans, who called him Mars, highly revered him and held many festivals in his honor.5.
  3. God of the Underworld Greek Name: Hades (pronounced HAY deez ).
  4. Roman Name: Pluto.
  5. Description: Brother of Zeus and ruler of the domain of the dead, known as the House of Hades or simply as Hades.6.

God of the Sea Greek Name: Poseidon (pronounced poh SYE dun ). Roman Name: Neptune. Description. Brother of Zeus, ruler of the seas, and the cause of earthquakes.7. God of Prophecy, Music, Poetry, Medicine, and the Sun Greek Name: Apollo. When spoken of as the sun god, he was known as Phoebus Apollo or Phoebus (pronunciation: FEE bihs).

  1. Roman Name: Apollo.
  2. Description: God of prophecy, music, dance, poetry, medicine, archery, shepherds, and the sun.
  3. He was the son of Zeus and a lesser goddess named Leto (Roman name: Latona).
  4. The Greeks highly revered Apollo and built many temples in his honor.
  5. One such temple at Delphi was the site of a famous oracle, the Pythia, who pronounced prophecies as the mouthpiece of Apollo.

Writers frequently allude to him as the sun god, identifying him as Phoebus Apollo or Phoebus. Phoebus means brightness. As the sun god, he drove a golden chariot across the sky from east to west. Another deity, Helios, was also sometimes identified as the sun god.8.

  1. Goddess of Love and Beauty Greek Name: Aphrodite (pronounced af ruh DIGHT e ).
  2. Roman Name: Venus.
  3. Description: Daughter of Zeus and a lesser goddess, Dione, according to Homer.
  4. Hesiod, however, wrote that she was born from the foam of the sea.
  5. The goddess of love was highly important to both Greeks and Romans.9.

God of Fire and Metalwork Greek Name: Hephaestus (pronounced he FEST ihs or hih FEST ihs ). Roman Name: Vulcan. Description: Son of Zeus and Hera, born lame. As the blacksmith god, Hephaestus crafted armor and jewelry for the gods. He also constructed their palaces on Mount Olympus.

Volcano fires were sometimes identified as his workshops. He was the husband of Aphrodite (Venus), who frequently ignored him in favor of the arms of other gods or mortals.10. Messenger God Greek Name: Hermes (pronounced HER meez). Roman Name: Mercury. Description: Son of Zeus and a lesser goddess named Maia.

As the deliverer of messages for the Olympian gods, he wore a winged hat and winged sandals. He was also the god of science, luck, commerce, and cunning.11. Goddess of the Home and Hearth Greek Name: Hestia (pronounced HEST e uh). Roman Name: Vesta. Description: Goddess of the home and hearth and sister of Zeus.

She was a maiden goddess, vowing never to marry. She was a guardian of family unity and domestic life. In Rome, statues of her could be found in many homes. The city maintained a public hearth, whose fire was tended by young women known as Vestal Virgins.12. Goddess of the Moon and of Hunting and Wild Animals Greek Name: Artemis (pronounced AR tuh mihs).

Roman Name: Diana or Dian; also referred to as Luna. Description: Twin sister of Apollo, She was highly revered in rural areas as both a hunter and protector of wild animals and promoter of the care of forests and waters. She was also viewed as a goddess of chastity.

  1. The Titans: the First Rulers The Olympian gods were the successors of an earlier dynasty of gods known as Titans.
  2. The Titan ruler, Cronus, believing that one of his children might attempt to overthrow him, swallowed each of them after his or her birth.
  3. However, one child, Zeus, was rescued by his mother and hidden on the island of Crete.
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Later, Zeus forced his father to vomit the other children from his stomach. Then, with the help of his siblings, he overthrew Cronus. Zeus and the other gods listed above then became the new rulers of the universe. The Nine Muses Near the throne of Zeus sat lesser goddesses known as Muses, who were nine in number.

They regaled the Olympians with songs of the gods and of earthly heroes and history. These daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory, learned under the tutelage of Apollo. Lesser Olympian Deities Other lesser gods on Olympus included the following: (1) Eros (Cupid), god of love and son of Aphrodite who shot arrows that impregnated humans with love.

(2) Iris, messenger goddess of Zeus and Hera who created rainbows when she flew across the sky. (3) Themis, a companion of Zeus who was the goddess of justice. She holds scales on which she weighs the claims in a suit of law. (4) The Charites, or Graces, goddesses of joy and beauty.

5) Nemesis, the goddess of vengeance and punishment. (6) Aidos, the goddess of conscience. The Trojan War as a Writer’s Source In the works of Shakespeare and other writers, many direct and indirect references to classical mythology derive from accounts of (1) events leading up to the Trojan War, (2) the war itself, and (3) the aftermath of the war.

Gods, goddesses, monsters, and humans all appear in these accounts. The war pitted the Bronze Age city of Troy, a walled community in present-day Turkey, against Greece. Following is a brief summary of key events before, during, and after the war as presented in oral and written stories from ancient Greece and Rome.

  • The most important of these stories are The Iliad and The Odyssey, by Homer, and The Aeneid, by Vergil.
  • The Iliad centers on the Greek hero Achilles, the greatest soldier in classical mythology, during the last year of the war.
  • The Odyssey centers on Odysseus (Roman name: Ulysses) and his perilous voyage home after the war.

The Aeneid focuses on the Trojan hero Aeneas on his perilous voyage to Italy after the war. The Cause of the War In the ancient Mediterranean world, feminine beauty reaches its zenith in Helen, wife of King Menelaus of Greece. Her wondrous face and body are without flaw.

Even the goddess of love, Aphrodite, admires her. When Aphrodite competes with other goddesses in a beauty contestin which a golden apple is to be awarded as the prizeshe bribes the judge, a young Trojan named Paris, promising him the most ravishing woman in the world, Helen, if he will select her, Aphrodite, as the most beautiful goddess.

Paris, of course, chooses Aphrodite. After receiving the coveted golden apple, she tells Paris about Helen; he goes to Greece and absconds with her to Troy. The abduction is an affront to all the Greeks. How dare an upstart Trojan invade their land! How dare he steal the wife of one of their kings! Which Greek family will be next to fall victim to a Trojan machination? Infuriated, King Menelaus and his brother, Agamemnon, assemble a mighty army that includes the finest warriors in the land.

Agamemnon acts as commanding general. The Greeks then cross the sea in one thousand ships to make war against Troy and win back their prideand Helen. The War The war drags on for ten yearsthe Trojans gaining an advantage one day, the Greeks gaining the advantage the next. One day, the Greek warrior Odysseus, king of Ithaca, proposes to his fellow Greeks that they build a gigantic wooden horse.

Inside its hollow belly will be fully armed soldiers. The Greeks will then lead the Trojans to believe that they have left the battlefield and returned home, leaving behind the horse as a gift. The Greeks accept his plan, build the horse, and leave the wooden horse at the gate of Troy with one of their men, Sinon, while rest of the Greek army hides.

Sinon persuades the Trojans that the Greek army has departed but left the horse as a gift in honor of the goddess Athena, who will protect their city. The Trojans believe Sinon, open their main gate, and pull the horse into the city. At nightfall, the Greek soldiers descend from the belly of the horse, open the gate, and surprise the sleeping Trojans.

The Greeks conquer and burn the city. The Aftermath When Odysseus and his men return home on several ships, they encounter many perils at sea and on landincluding a one-eyed giant (a Cyclops), who eats some of his men; a sorceress named Circe, who turns several of his men into pigs; the six-headed monster Scylla, who devours more of the crewmen; and other perils.

Eventually, he makes it home to Ithaca, where he confronts and disposes of squatters on his land seeking to marry his wife, Penelope. Aeneas, a Trojan who escaped his burning city with a cohort of soldiers, also goes on a journey fraught with perils. He eventually lands in Italy and establishes the foundation of the Roman civilization that later rises to greatness.

Allusions and Direct References in Shakespeare Following are the names of mythological beings, places, and things that Shakespeare alludes or directly refers to in his works. In parentheses after each entry is the title of the work in which the allusion or direct reference appears.

  1. If the work is a play, the act, scene, and line number or numbers will also appear in the parentheses.
  2. If the work is a poem, the title and line number or numbers will appear in the parentheses.
  3. Next comes a brief description of the mythological being, place, or thing.
  4. The line numbers of the plays and poems follow those in the 1914 edition of the Oxford Shakespeare,) Shakespeare used allusions and direct references to vivify his language, making it easier for audiences and readers familiar with ancient myths to picture what he was discussing in a passage.

For example, a character in Cymbeline says of a villain named Cloten, “Not Hercules / Could have knocked out his brains, for he had none.” Here, the name Hercules enables audiences and readers to realize that even superhuman strength was useless in any attempt to rid Cloten of his stupidity.

  1. G lossary Absyrtus ( Henry VI Part II, 5.2.62-64): Brother of Medea,
  2. While trying to escape from her father, Medea murdered Absyrtus, sliced up his body, and scattered the pieces on a road.
  3. She hoped that her father would recognize the body parts and stop.
  4. He did stop long enough for Medea to escape.

Acheron ( A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 3.2.379): River in the Underworld (Hades). Achilles ( Henry VI Part II, 5.1.106 ): Greek soldier who was the fiercest and deadliest soldier in the Trojan War, He slew Hector, the greatest of the Trojan warriors. Achilles was said to have only one vulnerable spot on his body, his heel.

A poisoned Trojan arrow found that spot and killed Achilles. Over the centuries, the term Achilles’ heel has come to mean a person’s greatest weakness (physical or mental). Actaeon ( Titus Andronicus, 2.3.65-6 9): In Greek mythology, a hunter who happened upon Artemis when she was bathing. Her beauty enraptured him.

When she noticed him staring, she was deeply offended. She then imposed a penalty on the intruder: he must not speak. If he did so, she would turn him into a stag. When he called out to his hunting companions, she made good on her threat. Actaeon became an antlered stag.

His hunting dogs then attacked him and killed him, unaware that their master had been transformed into a deer. Adonis : Title character of V enus and Adonis, one of Shakespeare’s long narrative poems. Adonis was a handsome teenager who was pursued by the goddess of love, Venus (Aphrodite). Aeacides : ( The Taming of the Shrew, 3.1.46).

Another name for Ajax, Aegle ( A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2.1.83): A mistress of Theseus, Aeneas ( Julius Caesar, 1.2.120): Trojan warrior. After Troy fell to the Greeks at the end of the ten-year war between Greece and Troy, Aeneas escaped the city and sailed to Italy, where he laid the foundation for the Roman civilization.

Aeolus ( Henry VI Part II, 3.2.98): God of the winds. Aeson ( The Merchant of Venice, 5.1.19): Father of Jason, the Greek hero who undertook many perils to retrieve the Golden Fleece. Aeson was the king of Iolcos in Thessaly, Greece. Aesculapius ( The Merry Wives of Windsor, 2.3.19): Roman name for Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine.

Agamemnon ( Henry V, 3.6.6): Commanding general of the Greek armies during the Trojan War. Agenor ( The Taming of the Shrew, 1.1.142): A Phoenician king of Tyre and, according some accounts of Greek myths, the father of Europa, Ajax ( Love’s Labour’s Lost, 4.3.3): Roman name for Aias, a gigantic Greek warrior who fought in the Trojan War,

  • After the death of Achilles, he goes mad with rage after the Greek generals Agamemnon and Menelaus award Achilles’ armor to Odysseus instead of to him.
  • In his madness, he kills sheep in the belief that they are Odysseus, Agamemnon, and Menelaus, then falls on his sword.
  • Ajax is referred to in Henry VI Part II as Ajax Telamonius (5.1.29), because he is the son of an adventurer known as Telamon.

Alcides ( Antony and Cleopatra, 4.10.68): Another name for Hercules, Alecto ( Henry IV Part II, 5.5.2): See Furies, Althaea ( Henry VI Part II, 1.1.224): In Greek mythology, the Queen of Calydon in Aetolia, Greece. Amazons ( King John, 5.2.160): Warrior women who were said to have lived in Scythia, near the Black Sea.

  • Amphion ( The Tempest, 2.1.69-70): Greek who used magic to construct the walls of the city of Thebes.
  • In The Tempest, Shakespeare does not refer to him by name but alludes to his construction feat in these lines: ANTONIO: His word is more than the miraculous harp.
  • SEBASTIAN: He hath raisd the wall, and houses too.

(2.1.69-70) Anchises ( Julius Caesar, 1.2.122): Father of Aeneas, Anna ( The Taming of the Shrew, 1.1.128): Sister and confidante of Dido, Antenor ( Troilus and Cressida, 1.2.120): Trojan commander in the Trojan War, Antiopa or Antiope ( A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2.1.84): Amazon captured by Theseus,

  1. Apollo ( Titus Andronicus, 1.1.74): Click here for more information.
  2. Aquilon ( Troilus and Cressida, 4.5.12): Roman name for Boreas,
  3. Arachne or Ariachne ( Troilus and Cressida, 5.2.178): Young woman whom Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war, turned into a spider.
  4. Arachne (spelled by Shakespeare as Ariachne ) had offended Athena by challenging her to a weaving contest and then making a magnificent tapestry, rivaling the excellence of Athena’s work.

Angry and jealous, Athena destroyed the tapestry. Arachne then hanged herself from a rope. Taking pity on the dead girl, Athena turned the rope into a cobweb and Arachne into a spider. Argus ( Troilus and Cressida, 1.2.2): Giant with one hundred eyes who served as a spy for Hera (Roman name, Juno), queen of the Olympian gods and wife of Zeus (Jupiter).

The messenger god, Hermes (Roman name, Mercury) killed Argus. Hera removed his eyes and placed them on the tail of the peacock. Ariadne ( The Two Gentlemen of Verona, 4.4.129): Daughter of King Minos of Crete. She enabled Theseus to find his way out of the Labyrinth after he killed the minotaur. Arion ( Twelfth Night, 1.2.17-19): Greek musician rescued by a dolphin after sailors stole his money and ordered him to jump overboard.

Ascanius ( Henry VI Part II, 3.2.122): Son of Aeneas, Astraea ( Henry VI Part I, 1.6.6) Goddess of innocence, purity, and justice. In the Renaissance, English writers associated her with Queen Elizabeth I. In Henry VI Part I, the Dauphin of France, Charles, refers to Joan of Arc (called Joan La Pucelle) as Astraea.

  1. Atalanta ( As You Like It, 3.2.109): Beautiful young huntress and swift runner.
  2. She challenges young men to ourtrun her.
  3. The penalty for losing to her is death.
  4. Hippomenes takes up the challenge.
  5. During the race, he drops three golden apples.
  6. Because Atalanta stops to pick them up, she loses the race.
  7. At ( King John, 2.1.66): In Greek mythology, a goddess who causes men to act recklessly and fall to ruin.

Atlas ( Henry VI Part 3, 5.1.40): A Titan forced to bear the earth and the heavens on his back. Atropos ( Henry IV Part 2, 2.4.84): One of the three Fates. Aurora ( Romeo and Juliet, 1.1.121): Roman name for Eos, the Greek goddess of dawn. Bacchanals ( A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 5.1.53): Wild parties in honor of Bacchus, the god of wine; drunken participants in these parties.

Bacchus ( Love’s Labour’s Lost, 4.3.286): Roman name for Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and vegetation and a patron of the arts. Bellona ( Macbeth, 1.2.65): A Roman goddess of war. Boreas ( Troilus and Cressida, 1.3.40): God of the north wind. The god of winds in general was Aeolus, Briareus ( Troilus and Cressida, 1.2.24): Monster with one hundred arms and fifty heads.

Cadmus ( A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 4.1.98): Son of the king of Phoenicia and founder of the Greek city of Thebes. Calchas ( Troilus and Cressida ): Greek seer who supported the plan of Ulysses to construct the Trojan horse, He is a character in Troilus and Cressida, making his first appearance at the beginning of the third scene of Act 3.

Capaneus ( The Two Noble Kinsmen, 1.1.59): Powerful but arrogant warrior who was among those who attacked Thebes when Eteocles, one of the sons of Oedipus, ruled the city. The Greek playwright Aeschylus told the story in Seven Against Thebes, Cedius ( Troilus and Cressida, 5.5.15): A Greek leader in the Trojan War,

centaur ( Titus Andronicus, 5.2.211): Creature with the head, arms, and trunk (torso) of a human and the lower body and legs of a horse. Centaurs were associated with wild and barbarous behavior. They lived in two geographical regions of ancient Greece, Thessaly and Arcadia.

  1. Cerberus : ( Love’s Labour’s Lost, 5.2.598): Fierce, three-headed dog at the gate of the Underworld.
  2. Ceres ( The Tempest, 4.1.71): Roman name for the Greek goddess of agriculture, Demeter.
  3. Charon ( Troilus and Cressida, 3.2.11): Boatman who ferried the dead across the river Styx to the Underworld ( Hades ).

Charybdis ( The Merchant of Venice, 3.5.7): See Scylla and Charybdis, Cimmerian ( Titus Andronicus, 2.3.76): Person residing in a region of everlasting darkness. Circe ( Henry VI Part I, 5.3.39): Sorceress who turns crewmen of the Greek hero Odysseus ( Ulysses ) into pigs.

  • After Odysseus overcomes her magic, she cooperates with him, telling him he must visit the Underworld to confer with a prophet.
  • Cockatrice : Serpent that could kill with the glare of its eyes.
  • Cocytus ( Titus Andronicus, 2.3.242): River in Hades,
  • Colossus ( Julius Caesar, 1.2.144): Gigantic statue of Apollo, built about 280 BC, at the harbor entrance of Rhodes in the Aegean Sea.

It was one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Creon ( The T wo Noble Kinsmen, 1.1.40): King of Thebes after the downfall of Oedipus, Cressida : Title character in Troilus and Cressida, Cupid ( All’s Well That Ends Well, 1.1.94): Roman name for Eros, the god of love.

  • Cyclops ( Hamlet, 2.2.342): Any of several giants with an eye in the middle of his forehead.
  • It was said that these giants forged the thunderbolts wielded by Zeus (Roman name: Jupiter), the king of the gods.
  • Cytherea ( Cymbeline, 2.2.18): Another name for Venus (Aphrodite).
  • Daedalus ( Henry VI Part III, 5.6.20-23): Greek architect who constructed the Labyrinth, an extensive maze, for King Minos of Crete.

The Labyrinth housed the minotaur, a man-eating creature with the body of a man and the head of a bull. After Daedalus helped the Greek hero Theseus escape the labyrinth, Minos became angry and held Daedalus and his son, Icarus, captive. Daedalus made wax wings for himself and his son, and they flew out of the the labyrinth.

However, when his son flew too near the sun, his wings melted and he fell into the sea. Daedalus arrived safely in Sicily. Damon ( Hamlet, 3.2.215): Damon and Pythias were loyal friends. After Pythias was sentenced by Dionysius I of Syracuse to be executed for treason, Damon took his place so that Pythias could put his affairs in order.

When Pythias returned for his execution, Dionysius was so moved by the loyalty of the two friends that he released both of them. Daphne ( Troilus and Cressida, 1.1.74): Beautiful nymph (nature goddess) pursued by Apollo, After she refused his advances and prayed for deliverance, her father, a river god, changed her into a laurel tree.

Dardanian ( The Merchant of Venice, 3.2.62): Adjective used as another word for Trojan, referring to the residents of the city of Troy, Delphi or Delphos ( The Winter’s Tale, 3.2.127): Site of the oracle of Apollo, In a temple, she predicted the future for petitioners. demigod ( Love’s Labour’s Lost, 4.3.32): Person with a human as one parent and a god or goddess as the other parent.

Deucalion ( Corio lanus, 2.1.31): Son of the Titan god Prometheus, who stole fire from heaven and gave it to humankind. Deucalion and his wife were the only survivors of a great flood caused by Zeus, They repopulated earth by throwing stones over their shoulders.

  1. Each stone became a human being.
  2. Dian ( Titus Andronicus, 2.3.65): Another name for Diana, the Roman name for Artemis, the virginal moon goddess and goddess of the hunt.
  3. Diana ( Troilus and Cressida, 5.2.109): Roman name for the Greek goddess Artemis, the virginal moon goddess and goddess of the hunt.

See also Phoebe, Dictynna ( Love’s Labour’s Lost, 4.2.21): Cretan goddess associated with hunters, fishermen, and the sea. Dido ( The Merchant of Venice, 5.1.14): Queen of Carthage, who had a love affair with Aeneas and killed herself after he abandoned her.

  • Diomedes or Diomede ( Henry VI Part III, 4.2.22): One of the most skilled and courageous Greek warriors in the Trojan War,
  • Dis ( The Winter’s Tale, 4.3.138).
  • Another name for Hades (either the god or his domain, the Underworld).
  • Doreus ( Troilus and Cressida, 5.5.12): Greek soldier in the Trojan War.

Echo ( Romeo and Juliet, 2.2.174): Mountain nymph who falls in love with Narcissus, When he rejects her, she pines away until nothing is left of her but her echoing voice, Elysium ( Twelfth Night, 1.2.3): Abode of good people after they die; paradise.

Enceladus ( Titus Andronicus, 4.2.98): One of the giants who rebelled against the gods of Mount Olympus. Minerva (Roman name for Athena, goddess of war and wisdom) hurled a stone that struck him down and killed him. Endymion ( The Merchant of Venice, 5.1.120): Handsome youth loved by the goddess of the moon.

Zeus (Roman name, Jupiter) granted Endymion’s request for eternal sleep. Epistrophus ( Troilus and Cressida, 5.5.15): A Greek leader in the Trojan War, Erebus ( Julius Caesar, 2.1.93): Dark region beneath the earth through which the dead travel to reach the Underworld.

Europa ( Much Ado About Nothing, 5.4.48-52): Phoenician princess. Zeus (Roman name, Jupiter) lusted after her and transformed himself into a white bull to mix in with cattle herds near her home. While in the fields, she stroked the bull, then mounted it. Zeus then carried her off to Crete. There, he revealed his identity and made love to her.

She bore him three children. Fates ( A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 5.1.198): Three goddesses who determined the destinies of humans. Their names were Atropos, Clotho, and Lachesis. Flora ( The Winter’s Tale, 4.4.4): Roman goddess of flowers. Fortuna ( Antony and Cleopatra, 4.8.54-55 ): Roman goddess of fortune, often associated with a spinning wheel symbolizing the cycle of life, with its ups and downs.

Fortuna would spin the wheel at her whim, with the fates of humans in positions around the wheel. If the wheel stopped when a person’s fate was on the bottom of the wheel, he could expect bad luck. Furies ( Richard III, 1.4.59): Roman name for the Erinyes, the three goddesses of vengeance who pursued and punished evildoers.

The Furies whose names were Alecto, Tisiphone, and Megaera lived in the underworld. Ganymede ( As You Like It, 1.3.114): Handsome youth Zeus abducted to be the cupbearer of the Olympian gods. Golden Fleece ( The Merchant of Venice, 1.1.172): See Jason,

  • Gorgon ( Antony and Cleopatra, 2.5.146): In Greek mythology, any of three sisters with snakes growing from their heads instead of hair.
  • So terrifying was their appearance that it turned onlookers into stone.
  • Graces, Three ( Troilus and Cressida, 1.2.143): In Greek and Roman mythology, three minor goddesses of beauty, charm, good cheer, and creativity.

Their names were Aglaea, Euphrosyne, and Thalia. Collectively, the Greeks called them the Charites (spelled with no i preceding the e ) and the Romans called them the Gratiae. They were daughters of Zeus (Jupiter) and Eurynome, a sea nymph. In Troilus and Cressida, the singular “grace” (lower-cased) is used: “Had I a sister were a grace, or a daughter a goddess, he should take his choice.” Harpy ( Much Ado About Nothing, 2.1.114): Monster with the trunk and head of a woman and the wings and claws of a predatory bird.

Hecate ( Hamlet, 3.2.196): A goddess of the moon, earth, and underworld who became associated with witchcraft and magic. Hector ( Love’s Labour’s Lost, 5.2.556): Son of Priam and mightiest Trojan soldier in the Trojan War. He was slain by Achilles, Hecuba ( Coriolanus, 1.3.21): Wife of Priam, king of Troy during the Trojan War.

Helen ( Henry VI Part III, 2.2.150): See The Trojan War: The Cause of the War, Hercules ( Coriolanus, 4.1.21): Roman name of the Greek hero Heracles. He was the son of Zeus and Alcmene, a mortal. Hercules was famous for his his completion of twelve seemingly impossible labors, including slaying a lion and killing a nine-headed monster.

  • Hermes ( Henry V, 3.7.9): Messenger god in Greek mythology.
  • His Roman name was Mercury.
  • Helicons ( Henry 4 Part 2, 5.3.67): Another name for the Nine Muses,
  • Hero ( As You Like It, 4.1.40) : See Leander,
  • Hesperides ( Love’s Labour’s Lost, 4.3.288): In Greek mythology, nymphs who guard a tree that bears golden apples.

The earth goddess Gaea had given the tree to Hera (Roman name: Juno) as a wedding gift when she married Zeus (Roman name: Jupiter), king of the gods. The Greek poet Hesiod said there were three Hesperides: Aegle, Erytheia, and Hespere. The garden in which the tree grew also was known as the Hersperides.

  1. Hydra ( Henry V, 1.1.38): Serpent with nine heads.
  2. Hercules killed it as one of his twelve labors.
  3. Hymen ( Hamlet, 3.2.102): God of marriage.
  4. Hymenaeus ( Titus Andronicus, 1.1.338): Roman name for Hymen, the Greek god of marriage.
  5. Hyperion ( Hamlet, 1.2.144): Father of the Titan sun god, Helios.
  6. Hyrcanian beast ( Hamlet, 2.2.304): Tiger known for being especially fierce.

When Aeneas abandoned Dido, she condemned him as heartless, saying that he was nursed by Hyrcanian tigers. Icarus ( Henry VI Part III, 5.6.20-23): See Daedalus, Ilion ( Love’s Labour’s Lost, 5.2.661): Another name for Troy, Ilium ( Hamlet, 2.2.327): Another name for Troy,

Iris ( The Tempest, 6.2.71): Goddess of the rainbow. In the Trojan War, she was also a messenger goddess. Ixion ( King Lear, 4.7.53-56). A king of Thessaly, Greece, who attempted to seduce Hera (Roman name, Juno), the queen of the Olympian gods and the wife of Zeus (Roman name, Jupiter). Zeus punished him by binding him to a continually turning wheel in the underworld.

In King Lear, Shakespeare does not mention Ixion by name but alludes to his punishment in the following lines. You do me wrong to take me out o’ the grave: Thou art a soul in bliss; but I am bound Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears Do scald like moulten lead.

  1. 4.7.53-56) Janus ( Othello, 1.2.38): Roman god of beginnings and endings and of doorways, arches, gateways, entrances, etc.
  2. He is pictured as having two faces: one on the front of his head and one on the back.
  3. Jason ( The Merchant of Venice, 3.2.232): Greek hero who risks many perils to retrieve the Golden Fleece, a coat of golden wool sheared from a ram called Chrysomallus.

The fleece hangs on a tree in a grove in the far-off land of Colchis, on the Black Sea. Anyone could easily seize and run off with it save for one thing: It is guarded by a dragon that never sleeps. With a crew of hearty adventurers, Jason sails to Colchis, overcoming many perils on the way.

With the help of Medea, a sorceress, he overcomes additional perils and retrieves the fleece. Jove ( Antony and Cleopatra, 1.2.122): Roman name for Zeus, king of the gods. Click here for more information. Juno ( Antony and Cleopatra, 4.13.44): Roman name for Hera, queen of the Olympian gods. Click here for more information.

Jupiter (1.2.45): Roman name for Zeus, king of the Olympian gods. Click here for more information. Laertes ( Titus Andronicus, 1.1.394): Father of Odysseus (Roman name: Ulysses ), the wily Greek who devised the Trojan horse, Laertes’ Son ( Titus Andronicus, 1.1.394): Odysseus ( Ulysses ).

Leander ( As You Like It, 4.1.40): Leander, a youth of Abydos (a town on the Asian side of present-day Turkey), fell in love with Hero, a priestess of Aphrodite, Hero lived in a tower on the European side of Turkey. Every night, Leander would swim across a narrow strait called the Dardanelles to visit her.

However, on one trip he drowned. Hero then plunged to her death from the tower. Leda ( The Taming of the Shrew, 1.2.223): A queen of Sparta and mother of Helen of Troy. ( See The Trojan War: The Cause of the War,) Lethe ( Twelfth Night, 4.1.44): River of forgetfulness in the Underworld.

Its water erases the memory of anyone who drinks it. Lichas or Lychas ( Antony and Cleopatra, 4.10.69): Servant of Hercules. (See also Nessus,) Lucina ( Cymbeline, 5.4.47): In Roman myth, another for Juno (Greek name: Hera) when she was spoken of as the goddess of childbirth. Luna ( Love’s Labour’s Lost, 4.2.23): Another name for Diana, the Roman name for the goddess of the moon.

Her Greek name was Artemis, Lucrece : Title character of Shakespeare’s The Rape of Lucrece, a long narrative poem. Margarelon ( Troilus and Cressida, 5.5.11): Trojan warrior and bastard son of King Priam, Mars ( Troilus and Cressida, 5.3.62): Roman name for Ares, the Greek god of war.

Medea ( The Merchant of Venice, 5.1.18): Sorceress who helps Jason retrieve the Golden Fleece and later marries him. Meleager ( The Two Noble Kinsmen, 3.5.18): Killer of the feared Calydonian boar. When he was born, the Fates decreed that his lifespan would end when a log burning in the family hearth was consumed by the fire.

His mother, Althaea, then put out the fire and hid the log. Years later, after an argument with his mother’s brother, Plexippus, Meleager killed Plexippus. Enraged, his mother returned the log to the hearth and allowed the fire to consume it. Meleager died.

  1. Menelaus ( Henry VI Part III, 1.1.131): A Greek general in the Trojan War,
  2. Mercury ( Troilus and Cressida, 2.2.48): Roman name for Hermes, the Greek messenger god.
  3. Merops ( The Two Gentlemen of Verona, 3.1.146): King of Ethiopa and the father of Phaeton by adoption.
  4. Mi das ( The Merchant of Venice, 3.2.96): King of Phrygia.

Dionysus ( Bachus ) bestowed on him the power to turn to gold everything he touched. Minerva ( The Taming of the Shrew, 1.1.87): Roman name for Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and war. Minos ( Henry VI Part III, 5.6.20-23): See Daedalus, Minotaur ( Henry VI Part I, 5.3.201): See Daedalus,

Myrmidon ( Troilus and Cressida, 1.3.386): Allusion to Achilles, who was a Myrmidon. Myrmidons were warlike people who lived in Thessaly, Greece. They went to war against Troy under the leadership of Achilles. Naiads or Naiades ( The Tempest, 6.1.137): Nymphs (beautiful nature maidens) who lived in lakes, springs, rivers, and fountains.

Narcissus ( Venus and Adonis, 161): Handsome youth who rejected the love of others. Nemesis, the goddess of divine retribution, punished him by leading him to a pool of water. When he saw his image reflected in the water, he fell in love with it. So enthralled with it was he that he never left the pool.

  • Eventually, he pined away and died.
  • Nectar ( The Two Gentlemen of Verona, 2.4.169): The drink of the Olympian gods.
  • Nemean Lion ( Hamlet, 1.4.94): Large, fierce lion killed by Herc ules as one of this twelve labors.
  • Nemesis ( Henry VI Part I, 4.7.83): Goddess of vengeance.
  • Neoptolemus ( Troilus and Cressida, 4.5.163): Son of Achilles,

When the Greeks conquered Troy, he killed the Trojan king, Priam. Neptune ( Antony and Cleopatra, 2.7.131): Roman name for Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea, Nereids or Nereides ( Antony and Cleopatra, 2.2.239): Nymphs (beautiful nature maidens) of the sea who sometimes aided sailors caught in raging storms.

  1. Nessus ( Antony and Cleopatra, 4.10.67): Centaur who attempted to rape Deianeira, the bride of Hercules,
  2. From a distance, Hercules saw what was happening and shot an arrow that fatally wounded Nessus.
  3. Before dying, Nessus asked Deianeira to dip a shirt in his blood.
  4. If Hercules wore the shirt, he would remain ever faithful to Deianeira, Nessus told her.
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She did as he asked and gave the shirt to Lichas, the servant of Hercules. Lichas then gave it to Hercules. When Hercules put it on, the blood burned him, causing excruciating agony, and Hercules killed himself. Nestor ( Henry VI Part III, 3,2,192): In Homer’s Iliad, an elderly Greek who, with his sons, participated in the Trojan War,

He was famous for his oratorical skills. Ninus ( A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 3.1.47): Legendary founder of the Assyrian city of Nineveh. Niobe ( Troilus and Cressida, 5.10.23): Woman who bragged to the goddess Leto that she had six sons and six daughters. Leto had only two children, the god Apollo and the goddess Diana (Artemis).

Because of Niobe’s boastfulness, Apollo killed her sons, Diana killed her daughters, and Jupiter (Zeus) turned her into a mass of stone on Mount Sipylus (in present-day Turkey). The block of stone cried tears ceaselessly as Niobe wept for her dead children.

  1. Odysseus ( Henry VI Part III, 3.2.193): See Ulysses,
  2. Olympus ( Othello, 2.1.188): Mountain abode of the chief Olympian Gods.
  3. Ora cle of Delphi : See Delphi,
  4. Orpheus ( Henry VIII, 3.1.5): Musician of such extraordinary skill that when he sang and played the lyre, even rocks and trees began to dance.

Ossa ( Hamlet, 5.1.169): Mountain in northeastern Greece. A tale tells of two Giants that placed Mount Pelion on Ossa to reach Mount Olympus. Pallas ( Titus Andronicus, 4.1.69): Alternate name for Athena (Roman name, Minerva), the goddess of wisdom and war.

  1. Pandarus ( Twelfth Night, 3.1.51): In Greek mythology, a Lycian who takes part in the Trojan War,
  2. He acts as a go-between in a love affair between Troilus and Cressida,
  3. The English word panderer ( procurer, pimp) is derived from the name Pandarus,
  4. Pandion ( The Passionate Pilgrim, 395): Legendary king of Athens.

Parca ( Henry V, 5.1.9): Any of three goddesses of fate in Roman mythology. Their names were Nona, Decima, and Morta. Paris ( Henry VI Part I, 5.5.106): See Trojan War, Cause, Pegasus ( Troilus and Cressida, 1.3.44): Winged horse of Perseus, slayer of the snake-haired monster Medusa.

  • The horse was born from the blood of the beheaded Medusa.
  • Pelion ( The Merry Wives of Windsor, 2.116): See Ossa,
  • Pelops ( The Two Noble Kinsmen, 4.2.21): Son of Tantalus,
  • Tantalus killed him as served his remains as a meal to the gods.
  • The gods restored Pelops to life.
  • Penelope ( Coriolanus, 1.3.49): Loyal wife of Odysseus ( Ulysses ).

Penthesilea ( Twelfth Night, 2.4.156): In Greek mythology, the queen of the Amazons, Perigouna ( A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2.1.82): Beautiful daughter of a bandit killed by Theseus. After she hid from Theseus, she revealed herself after he guaranteed her safety.

She gave birth to Theseus’s male heir. She is also known by three other names: Perigune, Perigenia and Perigone. Perseus ( Troilus and Cressida, 1.3.44): Hero who beheaded Medusa, one of three sisters whose gaze could turn a human into stone. Each sister’s hair was made of intertwining snakes. Phaethon ( The Two Gentlemen of Verona, 3.1.146): Son of Helios, a Titan god of the sun,

One day, Phaethon attempted to drive his father’s sun chariot across the sky. Unable to control it, the chariot veered toward earth, threatening to set the world on fire. To save the world, Zeus struck and killed Phaeton with a lightning bolt. Philomel ( Titus Andronicus, 2.4.46): Another name for a nightingale.

Philomel is derived from the name Philomela, In Greek mythology. Philomela was a princess of Athens. Her sister, Procne, was married to King Tereus of Thrace. Not satisfied with only one of the sisters, Tereus lusted after Philomela and one day raped her. To prevent her from revealing his crime, he cut out her tongue.

However, Philomel embroidered a tapestry depicting his brutality and showed it to her sister. The two women then plotted against Tereus and ended up serving him his son, Itys, in a stew. When Tereus discovers what they did, he chases them with an axe. The gods then turn Philomela into a nightingale and Procne into a swallow.

  1. Philemon ( Much Ado About Nothing, 2.1.35): In Greek mythology, a peasant who with his wife, Baucis lived in a humble cottage in Phrygia.
  2. Disguised as mortals, Zeus and Hermes visited them and were received with great warmth.
  3. Zeus rewarded them by transforming their cottage into a temple.
  4. Phoebe ( Titus Andronicus, 1.1.329): Another name for Diana (Artemis), the Greek goddess of the hunt; also referred to as Phebe.

Phoebus ( Hamlet, 3.2.102): Apollo as the sun god. Phoenix ( Henry VI Part I, 4.7.99): Bird that lived five hundred years, then died in a fire after the sun ignited an Arabian tree on which the phoenix was perched. The tree was located near Heliopolis, Egypt.

From the ashes, the phoenix rose to new life. Pigmies ( Much Ado About Nothing, 2.1.114): A race of dwarfs in Greek mythology. Pluto ( Coriolanus, 1.4.46): Roman name for Hades, the Greek god of the Underworld. Plutus ( Timon of Athens, 1.1.301): God of wealth. P olydamas ( Troilus and Cressida, 10): Powerful warrior who fought for Troy in the Trojan War,

Priam ( Hamlet, 2.2.303): King of Troy during the Trojan War. Priapus ( Pericles, Prince of Tyre, 4.6.4): God of males’ power to father children. Procne ( Titus Andronicus, 5.2.203): Athenian princess. See Philomel, Promethean fire ( Love’s Labour’s Lost, 4.3.251): In Greek mythology, the Titan god Prometheus was a benefactor of man.

  1. He stole fire from heaven and gave it to humankind.
  2. Prosperpine ( Troilus and Cressida, 2.1.21): Roman name for Persephone, the Greek goddess of the Underworld.
  3. Proteus ( Henry VI Part III, 3.2.96): Minor sea god who could change his shape at will.
  4. Pygmalion ( Measure for Measure, 3.2.29): King of Cyprus.

He fell in love with a statue he sculpted. Venus (Aphrodite) brought it to life as Galatea. Pyramus ( Titus Andronicus, 2.3.237): The lover of Thisbe. Pyramus and Thisbe, both Babylonians, were the subject of a story by the Roman poet Ovid (43 BC-17 AD) in his long poem Metamorphoses,

When Pyramus thinks a lion has killed Thisbe, he kills himself. Thisbe is still alive, however. But when she discovers the body of Pyramus, she also kills herself. Pyrrhus ( Hamlet, 2.2.304): Son of Achilles and one of the soldiers hidden in the Trojan horse, Queen of Troy ( Titus Andronicus, 1.1.141): Hecuba, wife of Priam, king of Troy during the Trojan War.

Rhesus ( Henry VI Part 3, 4.2.23): Thracian king who entered the Trojan War in its tenth year on the side of Troy. Because an oracle said that Troy would defeat the Greeks if the horses of Rhesus drank from the nearby River Xanthus, the Greek warriors Odysseus (Roman name, Ulysses ) and Diomedes stole the horses.

  1. Thrace was a region made up of parts of modern-day Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey.
  2. Saturn ( Cymbeline, 2.5.14): Roman name for Cronus, king of the Titan gods before the Olympians displaced them.
  3. Cronus was a god of agriculture.
  4. Satyr ( Hamlet, 1.2.144): Minor deity that inhabited the forests.
  5. It had horns and pointed ears, the head and trunk of a man, and the legs of a goat.

It was a follower of the god of wine, Dionysus (Roman name: Bacchus), and engaged in merrymaking and lechery. Sagittary ( Troilus and Cressida, 5.5.18): Sagittarius, the name of a centaur that was changed into a constellation of stars. Before becoming a constellation, the centaur was known as Chiron.

He assisted the Trojans in the Trojan War, Scylla and Charybdis ( Merchant of Venice, 3.5.7): On his return home from the Trojan War, the Greek hero Odysseus (Roman name, Ulysses ) the designer of the Trojan Horse had to navigate his boat through a perilous strait. On a rock on one side was a six-headed monster, Scylla; opposite the rock, near the shore on the other side, was a whirlpool created when a sea monster, Charybdis, gulped water.

When the ship passed between the twin perils, Scylla stretched its necks down and devoured six of the crewmen. Over the years, writers have often alluded to Scylla and Charybdis to describe a dilemma. Sibyl or Sibylla ( The Taming of the Shrew, 1.2.59): Legendary prophetess who was extremely old.

Sinon ( Henry VI Part III, 3.2.193): See the fifth paragraph under The Trojan War, Siren ( Comedy of Errors, 3.2.49): Any of a group of sea nymphs on an island that sang a song so beautiful that it seduced sailors to turn their ships toward the island. The ships crashed on rocks. If there were survivors, they listened to the sirens until they starved to death.

On his return home from the Trojan War, Odysseus ( Ulysses ) and his men passed the island without incident. Forewarned of the danger posed by the sirens, Odysseus had ordered his men to plug their ears with wax. He himself listened to the siren song after directing his crew to tie him to a mast so that he would not be tempted to jump overboard and swim to the island.

Stygian ( Troilus and Cressida, 3.2.10): Having to do with the river Styx in the Underworld. Styx ( Titus Andronicus, 1.1.93): River in Hades. Sphinx ( Love’s Labour’s Lost, 4.3.289): Winged monster that was part woman and part lion. Outside Thebes, Greece, she poised herself on a high rock and asked all passersby this riddle: what travels on all fours in the morning, twos at midday, and threes in the evening? She killed and consumed any traveler unable to provide the correct answer.

For a long time, no one could enter or leave the city, because no one knew the answer. One day, she posed the question to a traveler named Oedipus. He gave the correct answer: man. He explained that a man crawls on all fours in infancy, walks on two legs in adulthood and middle age, and travels on threestwo legs and a canein old age.

  • The sphinx then destroyed herself.
  • The grateful people of Thebes made Oedipus their king.
  • Tantalus ( Venus and Adonis, 659): King of Sipylus, Lydia.
  • He was a favorite of the gods until he attempted to deceive them by serving them a “feast” consisting of the remains of his son, Pelops, whom he had killed.

For his offense, they condemned him to eternal punishment in Hades. There, Tantalus thirsted for water that always receded when he tried to drink it and desired fruit on a tree branch that was always out of reach. Tarquin ( Titus Andronicus, 3.1.307): See Lucrece,

Tartar ( Twelfth Night, 2.5.92): Tartarus, which was part of Hades (hell). Telamon ( Antony and Cleopatra, 4.11.4): Another name for Ajax, who was the son of Telamon, king of Salamis. Tellus ( Hamlet, 3.2.103): Roman name for Gaea, the Greek goddess of the earth. Tereus ( Titus Andronicus, 2.4.44): See Philomel,

Theseus ( The Two Gentleman of Verona, 4.4.130): Greek hero who killed the minotaur, a monster with the head of a bull and the body of a man. The minotaur inhabited the Labyrinth, an extensive maze constructed in Crete for its king, Minos, by the architect Daedalus and his son Icarus,

Minos had it built to send young Greek men and women into the Labyrinth to be killed by the minotaur in retribution for the killing of his son by the Greeks. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, he is the King of Athens. Thetis ( Troilus and Cressida, 1.3.41): Sea goddess who was the mother of Achilles, Thisbe ( A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 3.2.22): See Pyramus,

Titan ( Venus and Adonis, 177): An allusion to the Titan sun god Helios in the early literature of the Greeks. The Greeks later identified the sun god as Apollo, an Olympian. Thracian tyrant ( Titus Andronicus, 1.1.143): Polymnestor. After he killed Hecuba ‘s son Polydorus, Hecuba gained revenge by killing his two sons and blinding him.

Triton ( Coriolanus, 3.1.117): Sea god who was the son of Poseidon, He had the head and upper body of a man, with a fish tail for the lower body. He used a conch shell as a trumpet. Troilus : Title character in Troilus and Cressida, Troy ( Richard II, 5.1.14): W alled city of in northwestern Anatolia, a region that is part of modern-day Turkey.

Anatolia is west of Greece (across the Aegean Sea) and north of Egypt (across the Mediterranean Sea). In archeological digs between 1870 and 1890, German-born American archeologist Heinrich Schliemann (1822-1890) appeared to prove that the ancient city of Troy was a fact, not a myth, as many had thought.

However, the story of the Trojan War as passed down to Homer, who wrote about the war in The Iliad was a mixture of fact, legend, and myth. Typhon ( Troilus and Cressida, 1.3.163): Monster with one hundred dragon heads. Ulysses ( Henry VI Part III, 3.2.193): Roman name of Odysseus, king of Ithaca, Greece, and one of the heroes of the Trojan War.

It was Odysseus who designed the gigantic wooden horse that the Greeks presented as a gift to the their enemy, the Trojans, at a gate of their city, Troy. Believing that the Greeks had decided to withdraw from the long and wearisome war, the Trojans pulled the wooden horse inside the walls of Troy.

They viewed the horse as a goodwill offering of the departing Greeks. In fact, it was a weapon of war, concealing Greek soldiers in its belly. At night, these soldiers descended through a trap door and opened the gates of Troy to the rest of the Greek army hiding outside. Surprising the sleeping Trojans, the Greeks easily conquered and burned the city.

Odysseus became the main character of Homer’s great epic, The Odyssey, which recounted the perilous journey of Odysseus and his men while they were returning to Greece from Troy. In world literature, this journey or odyssey has come to symbolize every human being’s journey through life.

unicorn ( Julius Caesar, 2.1.222): Mythological creature resembling a horse with a horn growing from its forehead. References to it occur in the myths of Mesopotamia, China, India, and Greece. Venus ( Much Ado About Nothing, 4.1.54): Roman name for Aphrodite, goddess of love. Venus was a title character in Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis, a long poem.

Vestals ( Pericles, Prince of Tyre, 4.5.4): Vestal virgins. See Goddess of the Home and Hearth, Vulcan ( Hamlet, 3.2.48 ): Roman name for Hephaestus, the god of fire and the forge who made armor in his smithy on Mount Olympus. Mythological Figures With Speaking Roles in Shakespeare’s Works Ancient mythological or legendary figures have speaking roles in the following Shakespeare works: A Midsummer Night’s Dream The Tempest Troilus and Cressida The Two Noble Kinsmen Venus and Adonis The Rape of Lucrece Supplies for Teachers
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Could Shakespeare read Greek?

Shakespeare and classical drama – There is no evidence that Shakespeare could read Greek, and there were no translations of Greek drama available for him. He did, however read Latin drama, both tragedy and comedy, and it is likely that he read some of it in the original.
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What grade do you read Romeo and Juliet?

9th Grade English Curriculum – Romeo and Juliet | Common Core Lessons.
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What is the most taught Shakespeare?

Macbeth is the most widely taught Shakespeare play, TES data reveals

New data from TES Resources reveals that Macbeth tops the list of the 10 most widely taught Shakespeare plays.The research was released by TES ‘ parent company TES Global as it launched a new digital project that aims to transform the teaching of Shakespeare on the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death.The project, run in conjunction with the Royal Shakespeare Company, V&A, British Museum, BFI and Into Film, will bring together more than 400 Shakespeare resources, including many authored by teachers.Teachers have shared nearly 10,000 unique pieces of Shakespeare content through TES Resources since the very first one – a Romeo and Juliet mini-project – was uploaded in May 2006.The data also reveals that the most popular plays, according to the volume of resources created, swapped and sold by teachers, are Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest,Teaching Shakespeare is the second project to have come out of an ongoing, which was launched by Ed Vaizey, minister of culture and the digital economy, together with the Arts Council England, to help put the arts at the heart of the classroom and support the teaching of the core curriculum with a variety of world-class cultural and digital materials.

Mr Vaizey said: “This digital project is a fantastic way for teachers to keep Shakespeare alive in the classroom. As one of our greatest cultural exports he has influenced modern society around the world, and this innovative programme will continue to help inspire students and generations to come.” Teaching Shakespeare can be viewed at Want to keep up with the latest education news and opinion? Follow and like : Macbeth is the most widely taught Shakespeare play, TES data reveals
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What grade do you study Romeo and Juliet?

Ahh.yes Shakespeare, considered to be one of the most creative and inspiring playwrights known to mankind or.is he? For many years, Shakespeare has been known for many famous plays and portrayed as a genius in the Elizabethan era. To most people when the topic of Shakespeare is brought up, the first thing that comes to mind is “Hey isn’t that the guy who wrote Romeo and Juliet?”.

Romeo and Juliet is known worldwide and is taught as a part of the ninth grade curriculum. Shakespeare’s literature should not be included in the ninth grade curriculum because students in it have a hard time understanding the content and most freshmen have little to no interest. Although most teachers seem to love Shakespeare, most students do not.

In the article, “Why do we force students to read Shakespeare?”, According to Rajat Bhageria”Truly,forcing students to do something in which they have so little interest will most probably result students not reading or contemplating-the main goal of English-the books at all” By teaching Shakespeare, schools show more content In the article, “On the Bard’s birthday, is Shakespeare still relevant?” Alexandra Petri suggests “They’re works we enjoy as a species.

Shakespeare offers a roadmap to the human.” (pg.374) This quote gives the suggestion “roadmap to the human”,which signifies that Shakespeare’s characters give connections to the behaviors of humans. Even though it’s agreed upon that the books give insights on the human behavior there is extensive amount of difference.

Resembling what was mentioned before, today’s teen, with certain exceptions, do not jump into the decision of marrying someone on the same week they met. Since the lifestyle of shakespeare’s time compared to today’s style of living are uncommon, adolescents have a new set of problems even though there are similarities with physical
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How did Shakespeare learn to read?

Shakespeare’s Library – Shakespeare was educated at the grammar school in Stratford, where he received an intense training in classical works of literature and rhetoric which he read in the original Latin. The reading and writing skills he learned in his youth served him well throughout his life.
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How many students don t like Shakespeare?

Off-putting language – Most teachers surveyed said that their pupils found the play’s Elizabethan off-putting: 60 per cent of respondents said that Shakespeare’s language was the biggest hurdle their pupils had to overcome when studying the plays. But 43 per cent also said that their pupils were being put off the plays because of a preconceived idea that they would not understand them.

  • But there are so many ways in which Shakespeare’s plays are relevant to the 21st century,” Ms Lobbenberg said.
  • They explore subjects like gender, cross-dressing, sexuality, ethnicity, mental health, colonialism, power and social hierarchy.
  • These are subjects that young people feel very strongly about.” Many of these themes are explored on the British Library’s website, one of many resources celebrating 400 years since Shakespeare’s birth.

The British Library site includes sections on the politics, society and culture that influenced Shakespeare’s writing. But the Bard can rest easy in his grave: while his relevance may be questioned by teenagers, teachers themselves have no such doubts.
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What two subjects did Shakespeare study?

Shakespeare’s Education and Childhood – Shakespeare probably began his education at the age of six or seven at the Stratford grammar school, which is still standing only a short distance from his house on Henley Street. Although we have no record of Shakespeare attending the school, due to the official position held by John Shakespeare it seems likely that he would have decided to educate young William at the school which was under the care of Stratford’s governing body.

  1. The Stratford grammar school had been built some two hundred years before Shakespeare was born and in that time the lessons taught there were, of course, dictated primarily by the beliefs of the reigning monarch.
  2. In 1553, due to a charter by King Edward VI, the school became known as the King’s New School of Stratford-upon-Avon.

During the years that Shakespeare attended the school, at least one and possibly three headmasters stepped down because of their devotion to the Catholic religion proscribed by Queen Elizabeth. One of these masters was Simon Hunt (b.1551), who, in 1578, according to tradition, left Stratford to pursue his more spiritual goal of becoming a Jesuit, and relocated to the seminary at Rheims.

  1. Hunt had found his true vocation: when he died in Rome seven years later he had risen to the position of Grand Penitentiary.
  2. Like all of the great poets and dramatists of the time, Shakespeare learned his basic reading and writing skills from an ABC, or horn-book.
  3. Robert Speaight in his book, Shakespeare: The Man and His Achievement, describes this book as a primer framed in wood and covered with a thin plate of transparent horn.

It included the alphabet in small letters and in capitals, with combinations of the five vowels with b, c, and d, and the Lord’s Prayer in English. The first of these alphabets, which ended with the abbreviation for ‘and’, began with the mark of the cross.

Hence the alphabet was known as ‘Christ cross row’ – the cross-row of Richard III, I, i, 55. A short catechism was often included in the ABC book (the ‘absey book’ of King John, I, i, 196). (10) In The Merry Wives of Windsor, there is a comical scene in which the Welsh headmaster tests his pupil’s knowledge, who is appropriately named William.

There is little doubt that Shakespeare was recalling his own experiences during his early school years. As was the case in all Elizabethan grammar schools, Latin was the primary language of learning. Although Shakespeare likely had some lessons in English, Latin composition and the study of Latin authors like Seneca, Cicero, Ovid, Virgil, and Horace would have been the focus of his literary training.

  1. One can see that Shakespeare absorbed much that was taught in his grammar school, for he had an impressive familiarity with the stories by Latin authors, as is evident when examining his plays and their sources.
  2. Please see the article Shakespeare’s School Days for an extensive list of the books Shakespeare would have read.

Even though scholars, basing their argument on a story told more than a century after the fact, accept that Shakespeare was removed from school around age thirteen because of his father’s financial and social difficulties, there is no reason whatsoever to believe that he had not acquired a firm grasp of both English and Latin and that he had continued his studies elsewhere.

The famous quotation from Nicholas Rowe’s notoriously inaccurate biography of Shakespeare (written in 1709), where he claims that Shakespeare “acquir’d that little Latin he was Master of” and that Shakespeare was prevented by his father’s poor fortune from “further Proficiency in that Language”, should be read with an extremely critical eye.

There are other fragmented and dubious details about Shakespeare’s life growing up in Stratford. He is supposed to have worked for a butcher, in addition to helping run his father’s business. There is a fable that Shakespeare stole a deer from Sir Thomas Lucy at Charlecote, and, instead of serving a prison sentence, fled from Stratford.

Although this surely is a fictitious incident, there exists a few verses of a humorous ballad mocking Lucy that have been connected to Shakespeare. “Edmond Malone records a version of two verses of the Lucy Ballad collected by one of the few great English classical scholars, Joshua Barnes, at Stratford between 1687 and 1690.

Barnes stopped overnight at an inn and heard an old woman singing it. He gave her a new gown for the two stanzas which were all she remembered”:

Sir Thomas was so covetous
To covet so much deer
When horns enough upon his head
Most plainly did appear
Had not his worship one deer left?
What then? He had a wife
Took pains enough to find him horns
Should last him during life. (Levi, 35)

Shakespeare’s daily activities after he left school and before he re-emerged as a professional actor in the late 1580s are impossible to trace. Suggestions that he might have worked as a schoolmaster or lawyer or glover with his father and brother, Gilbert, are all plausible.

So too is the argument that Shakespeare studied intensely to become a master at his literary craft, and honed his acting skills while traveling and visiting playhouses outside of Stratford. But, it is from this period known as the “lost years”, that we obtain one vital piece of information about Shakespeare: he married a pregnant orphan named Anne Hathaway.

For a fascinating look at what Shakespeare’s daily life would have been like growing up in Stratford, please see the book excerpt Country Life and Character in Elizabethan Enlgand, How to cite this article: Mabillard, Amanda. Shakespeare’s Education and Childhood, Queen Elizabeth: Shakespeare’s Patron King James I of England: Shakespeare’s Patron The Earl of Southampton: Shakespeare’s Patron Going to a Play in Elizabethan London The Shakespeare Sisterhood – A Gallery Worst Diseases in Shakespeare’s London Preface to The First Folio Shakespeare’s Pathos – General Introduction Shakespeare’s Portrayal of Childhood Shakespeare’s Portrayal of Old Age Shakespeare’s Attention to Details Shakespeare’s Portrayals of Sleep Publishing in Elizabethan England What did Shakespeare drink? Ben Jonson and the Decline of the Drama Publishing in Elizabethan England Alchemy and Astrology in Shakespeare’s Day Entertainment in Elizabethan England London’s First Public Playhouse Shakespeare Hits the Big Time View complete answer

How did Shakespeare learn to read and write?

Shakespeare’s Library – Shakespeare was educated at the grammar school in Stratford, where he received an intense training in classical works of literature and rhetoric which he read in the original Latin. The reading and writing skills he learned in his youth served him well throughout his life.
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What does Shakespeare say about education?

Posted: Apr 06 2018 With the birthday and death of William Shakespeare on the horizon, there are numerous opportunities to talk about his works in the classroom. Given the extent of the Bard’s work, it’s unsurprising that there are plenty of references to teaching. As a result, we’ve picked out a few of our favourite Shakespeare quotes that relate to learning, in the hope they can encourage discussion and debate over their meaning and the role of teaching A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.” As You Like It “My love is thine to teach.

Teach it but how, and thou shalt see how apt it is to learn. Any hard lesson that may do thee good.” Much Ado About Nothing “I’ll teach you differences.” King Lear “Is not birth, beauty, good shape, discourse, manhood, learning, gentleness, virtue, youth, liberality, and such like, the spice and salt that season a man?” A Midsummer Night’s Dream “If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men’s cottages princes’ palaces.

It is a good divine that follows his own instructions: I can easier teach twenty what were good to be done, than be one of the twenty to follow mine own teaching.” The Merchant of Venice “And when I am forgotten, as I shall be, and asleep in dull cold marble, where no mention of me must be heard of, say, I taught thee.” Henry VIII “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking make it so” Hamlet “Sir, I am too old to learn” A Midsummer Night’s Dream “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves.” Julius Caesar “Fall to them as you find your stomach serves you.

  1. No profit grows where is no pleasureta ‘en.
  2. In brief, sir, study what you most affect.” The Taming of the Shrew “Well, sir, learn to jest in good time; there’s a time for all things.” A Midsummer Night’s Dream As you can see, there are plenty of opportunities to discuss Shakespeare’s views on teaching and learning, and indeed on how it can be tied into other key topics as well.

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Why do actors study Shakespeare?

Simply put, Shakespeare approached drama and comedy with a lexicon and a poetic style that dwarfs that of contemporary plays, films, and TV shows. By studying the rich, poetic, and sometimes thorny language of Shakespeare’s plays, actors train themselves to tackle any passage of poetry and prose, no matter how dense.
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