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William Shakespeare Essay Topics & Paper Examples

Disguise in Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night is one of William Shakespeare’s so-called transvestite comedies that features a female disguising herself as a young man. This concept might be difficult to grasp by today’s audience but during Shakespeare’s time it was not unusual for female roles to be played by young boys. Every character in the play is involved in a situation where they think one person is someone else. These situations lead to turmoil and humor in the play. The many instances of mistaken identity and uncertainty of gender in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night contribute to the theme of confusion in the play. The first character in the play to introduce the theme of confusion is Viola. She is distraught after being separated from her…

Intersections of Race, Class, and Gender in the Tempest

In Shakespeare’s play, ‘The Tempest’, the characters of Prospero and Caliban, represent two different extremes on the social spectrum: the ruler, and the ruled. Their positions on the social hierarchy are largely due to the fact that Caliban responds almost wholly to passions, feelings of pleasure; his senses, while Prospero is ruled more by his intellect and self-discipline; his mind. Within ‘The Tempest’ there are obvious social implications regarding this social hierarchy, with the representations of characters such as Caliban and Prospero. During Shakespeare’s time social classification was much more rigid than today and some members of society were considered superior to other members. Shakespeare attempts to provide an example of this rigid social structure. Shakespeare illustrates how superior men…

The Shakespeare Authorship Conspiracy

William Shakespeare was one of the most popular playwrights in history. With 38 plays, 154 sonnets and many other poems, Shakespeare’s work has been performed around the world more often than any other playwright. One gentleman, Hank Whittemore, created a blog that is strictly related to the notion that William Shakespeare was a pen-name of Edward De Vere who was the Earl of Oxford from 1550 to 1604. To many, this is an outlandish claim and is considered a conspiracy theory. His monthly blog continues to be filled with a narrow history lesson lined with an unpopular opinion. Interesting But Not Creditable Whittemore states, “It’s true that for twenty-three years I’ve been studying the life of Edward de Vere 17th…

Enduring Value – Othello

Shakespeare’s masterpiece Othello has remained relevant beyond its original context not merely because of its universal themes of love and betrayal, but rather, due to its textual integrity, and the enduring value which is enhanced through the exploration of such issues, as marginalisation and the psychology of villainy. Shakespeare’s portrayal of Othello as being an outsider, and being “othered” by the Venetian society due to his different race, reflects traditional Elizabethan values and ethics regarding racial prejudice and inequality. These recurring issues, of social intolerance and racial bias are prevalent concerns in our modern society. Shakespeare’s expresses the nature of villainy through his antagonist, Iago, as he explores issues of betrayal and deceit. These issues, revolving around Othello’s passion, struggle…

Merchant of Venice Spot Analysis

Although the play’s title leads readers to believe its contents to surround Antonio, rather the play surrounds a hated and despised Shylock the Jew. However, as Shakespeare so often does, several scenes are placed almost haphazardly within the conflict and turmoil building amongst the main characters. Often readers question the scenes appropriateness and necessity to the play’s progression, and struggle to create connections to the play’s main conflict and following resolution. The casket scenes regarding the betrothal of the beautiful Portia in The Merchant of Venice play the role of the sources of confusion. Although the game of caskets seemingly represents Shakespeare’s dynamics on love and marriage, the game is really a lesson in human morality, judgment, and tribulations. The…

Much Ado About Nothing- Beatrice and Benedick

The relationship between Beatrice and Benedick develops throughout the early stages of Much Ado about Nothing by William Shakespeare. Past encounters between the two characters ignites a skirmish of wit between the two where they attempt to get inside each other’s head. The wittiness used by Beatrice and Benedick also suggests that there is a deeper meaning behind what they say and that they are deceived by their own foolishness. When we are first introduced to Beatrice and Benedick we learn of the ‘merry war’ between them. This skirmish of wit that occurs invokes past encounters. The two exchange a volley of sly and witty comments. As Beatrice ‘knows [him] of old’ she believes that Benedick is a ‘crow’ and…

Twelfth Night Lit Analysis

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination” – Albert Einstein. This cannot be more true in the case of William Shakespeare. In regards to his play Twelfth Night his creative genius is seen in his ability to create sharp and clever characters through perfectly crafted plots and themes. His aptitude to generate characters that goes against the dictate of society such as Viola and Maria marks him as one of the greatest playwrights of his age. However, his facilities as a writer are made known through his ability to twist and manipulate words and language to his own benefit. Shakespeare’s play on words and witty language serves to entertain his audience in the most complete sense possible….

Sonnet 18

The poem Sonnet 18 was written by William Shakespeare. A poet from the 17th century who was a renowned writer for his works on theater and poems. Sonnet 18 describes the power of love and immortality of the poem and himself as long as men walk the earth. He gives a message of eternal beauty and love through out the poem with his selective word choices. He describes the beauty of the poem as immortal as long as men breathe, due to the beauty of the poem and love of the men. The poem is effective due to his literary techniques of using metaphors of summer and descriptive language of pathos for his comparisons and surroundings. Shakespeare uses many descriptions…

Lesson 8 Key Question

To begin Viewing and critiquing King Lear Act III scene ii, Directed by Richard Ouzounian, written by William Shakespeare, I noticed that overall the production is good, but there are some weaknesses that could be better if a little afford applied and similarly, there are strength that gives the production good features. I watch the scene and I found out that the strengths and weakness of the production are equally analyzable. First I would like to critique the weaknesses in the production: in my point of view, the scene decoration, characters costumes and the severity of storm could be better if a little more afford applied—by blowing up some stuff like leaves, sticks or show the wind whaling wildly and…

A Little Help on Twelfth Night

The following information is based upon my taped lecture on this play. Although this text version is not the same as the taped lecture, it does contain the same information. All references are based on the Signet paperback edition which you should consult in conjunction with this lecture. Twelfth Night was probably written in 1601 and first performed in January of 1602. We know this because the play is mentioned that year in the diary of a young man training to become a lawyer at the Inns of Court in London. We can also tell the approximate date of the play from the references to contemporary events and publications, things like books or new maps. To place the publication in…

Analysis of Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare

In “Sonnet 18” by William Shakespeare and “Death” by John Donne, both poems describe how death is escaped. Both writers suggest that we shouldn’t fear death, because with death comes life. The use of imagery, metaphors, and personification are used to develop these themes of the sonnets. However, each sonnet addresses how they view immortality in different ways. While “Sonnet 18” focuses on immortality by capturing beauty, immortality in “Death” is viewed through a religious perspective. The speaker of the poem “Death” shows fearlessness in the first stanza of the poem. “Death be not proud, though some have called thee/Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so” (1-2). Here death is being personified and confronted about his arrogant ways. The…

William Shakespeare and Elizabeth Browning

William Shakespeare and Elizabeth Browning each wrote a series of sonnets; Shakespeare’s work, using his variation of the sonnet and Browning’s, using the Petrarchan style. In particular, “Sonnet 18” and Sonnet 43,” (both of which are about how much the speakers love their partners) use great language and expression. They each show love in its deepest forms. Shakespeare confirms his love for his lady friend, while Browning illustrates her love for her husband and how it has grown. Both sonnets are similar in their representation of love, but they differ in their tone, imagery, and expression of love. The selected sonnets are written using a different tone and word selection. “Sonnet 18” is Shakespeare comparing his lady to a summer…

William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 129

William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 129 is a classic Shakespearian Sonnet from his distinguished collection published in 1609. The Shakespearean Sonnet is unquestionably the most intellectual and dramatic of poetic forms and, when written well, is a masterpiece not only of poetic talent but intellectual talent as well. Like the majority of sonnets, Sonnet 129 has fourteen lines and is organized into an octave followed by a sestet; or more in depth, three quatrains followed by a heroic couplet. However, there is one thing about this poem that does not follow the traditional cookie cutter model of a Shakespearean Sonnet. The distinctiveness is that this particular sonnet does not have the volta or thematic turn which generally shifts the mood or thematic…

William Shakespeare: as You Like It, a Pastoral Comedy

As You Like It is a pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in 1599 or early 1600 and first published in the First Folio, 1623. The play’s first performance is uncertain, though a performance at Wilton House in 1603 has been suggested as a possibility. As You Like It follows its heroine Rosalind as she flees persecution in her uncle’s court, accompanied by her cousin Celia and Touchstone the court jester, to find safety and eventually love in the Forest of Arden. Historically, critical response has varied, with some critics finding the work of lesser quality than other Shakespearean works and some finding the play a work of great merit. Shakespeare’s themes are often expressed in…

Lamb as an Essayist

Here he was fortunate enough to have for a schoolfellow the afterwards famous Samuel Taylor Coleridge, his senior by rather more than two years, and a close and tender life-long friendship began which had a singularly great influence on the whole of his after career. When the time came for leaving school, where he had learned some Greek and acquired considerable facility in Latin composition, Lamb, after a brief stay at home (spent, as his school holidays had often been, over old English authors in the library of Mr Salt), was condemned to the labours of the desk,—an “unconquerable impediment” in his speech disqualifying him for a school exhibition, and thus depriving him of the only means by which he…

Comparative Analysis Literary Works

Did you know that many books, poems, and other literary works, sometime share some similarities or same point of views on a topic? Well, these similarities can be anything from the same setting, same characters, etc, and sometime they may have similarities in their conflicts. Like in the play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare and in the story, “The Coldest Winter Since 1854” by William Saroyan. Both of these literary works had many similarities but one major similarity is in their conflicts, but what are their major conflicts in both of these works and how are both of these conflicts similar? Well you are just about to find out. In the story, “The Coldest Winter Since 1854” our…

All That Glitters Are Not Gold

All that glitters is not gold is a well-known saying, meaning that not everything that looks precious or true turns out to be so. This can apply to persons, places, or things that promise to be more than they really are. The expression, in various forms, originated in or before the 12th century[1] and may date back to Aesop.[2] Chaucer gave two early versions in English: “But all thing which that schyneth as the gold / Ne is no gold, as I have herd it told,” and “Hyt is not al golde that glareth.” The popular form of the expression is a derivative of a line in William Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice, which employs the word “glisters,” a…

Are Shakespeare’s Sonnets Autobiographical?

Are the Sonnets, wholly or in part, autobiographical, or are they merely “poetical exercises” dealing with imaginary persons and experiences? This is the question to which all others relating to the poems are secondary and subordinate. For myself, I firmly believe that the great majority of the Sonnets, to quote what Wordsworth says of them, “express Shakespeare’s own feelings in his own person;” or, as he says in his sonnet on the sonnet, “with this same key Shakespeare unlocked his heart.” Browning, quoting this, asks: “Did Shakespeare? If so, the less Shakespeare he!” to which Swinburne replies, “No whit the less like Shakespeare, but undoubtedly the less like Browning.” The theory that the Sonnets are mere exercises of fancy, “the…

Good Vs. Evil Divine Justice in King Lear

The play King Lear displays betrayal, deceit and . These three components are all familiar in classic Shakespearean tragedies. King Lear features betrayal by various characters in the play. These characters devastate and, in some instances, end the lives of other characters in the play. However, the characters that betray and deceive are eventually destroyed by their many lies and evil actions. With their self-devastation, a sort of divine justice is served. Divine justice is served when the wrong doings of a man or woman catches up to them and they are dealt a penalty for their sins. This sort of justice cannot be given by a court or social order. Only fate can deal such a hand. In King…

What Macbeth Says About Good and Evil

It is in human nature to want to do bad things, but when you start down a path how easy is it to be lead astray? Sometimes we can let things like pride and greed get in the way of our beliefs and values. Wrongful influence can lead people down some very dark roads and eventually destroy the lives of people they love and even themselves. In William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” these elements of good and evil surface and lead to some very curious circumstances that not only show that “good” people can be corrupted but that once you start down a dark road it is very hard to find your way out of it. How easily can a “good” mind…

Sonnet 116 : Literary Analysis

Let me not to the marriage of true minds Admit impediments. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove. Oh no! It is an ever fixed mark That looks on tempests and is never shaken. It is the star to every wandering bark, Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken. Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks Within his bending sickle’s compass come. Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, But bears it out even to the edge of doom. If this be error and upon me proved, I never writ, nor no man ever loved. Sonnet 116 was all about True Love. Shakespeare makes his…

William Shakespeare and Julius Caesar

William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564. Records show that Shakespeare was baptized three days after he was born, on April 26, 1564. He grew up in a town called Stratford upon Avon. During his lifetime, Shakespeare had three jobs. He was a playwright, a businessman, and an actor. Shakespeare not only wrote plays, but also sonnets. His most famous sonnet would be “Sonnet 18”. Some of his greatest plays are The Tragedy of Julius Caesar and The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare was known for stealing the ideas for his plays from other playwrights during his time. But, somehow he wrote magnificent plays and became the greatest playwright of all time. Shakespeare was also a businessman, just…

Twelfth Night

My internal assessment is a review of the sixteenth century comedy, “Twelfth Night or What You Will” by William Shakespeare. Shakespeare is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, genres he raised to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of the 16th century. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances. The title, “Twelfth Night”, refers to the celebration of Epiphany, the twelfth night after Christmas characterized by an atmosphere of fun and festivity. With the sub-title, “What you Will”, Shakespeare indulges the audience in this festival mood, allowing the freedom for an open interpretation of his play….

Opening Scenes of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night

Throughout the beginning scenes of Twelfth Night Shakespeare uses dramatic comedy as a main way to create humour to the audience. The shock factor creates a comical atmosphere to the beginning of the play, and the form in which Shakespeare introduces the character’s expresses effectively each character’s over exaggerated personality creating dramatic comedy. As twelfth night is a comedy but is all about mistaken identity and love Shakespeare had to reveal the comedy in discreet ways to make the humour natural and the only way this could be produced was through dramatic forms creating the comedy through over exaggeration. Orsino’s introduction throughout Act 1, Scene 1 creates a comical effect at the beginning of the play through the hyperbole of…

Uncontrollable Jealousy

Jealousy is a lethal weapon if used in the wrong hands. Jealousy is the feeling of resentment against someone’s success or advantages. In the texts, “Othello” and “How to Get into Medical School, Part l and Part ll”, the authors William Shakespeare and Vincent Lam decide to use the theme of jealousy to develop an appealing plot for the reader. The story of Fitzgerald in “How to Get into Medical School, Part l and Part ll” has the theme of jealousy written all over. The first glimpse of Fitzgerald’s envious thoughts occurs when Ming tells Fitzgerald that she gets accepted to medical school while Fitzgerald replies with a mocking “Well, congratulations, Doctor Ming…” (page 16). Later on, Fitzgerald’s jealous mind…

“Othello: The Moor of Venice” by William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare’s “Othello: The Moor of Venice,” is full of deception, jealousy, and guilt. The title character, Othello, newly married to Desdemona and respected despite his differences for his strength of character and his valiant efforts on behalf of the Venetian state. Othello’s character changes drastically when his servant Iago, fueled by hatred for Othello, manipulates Othello’s thoughts to create the impression that Desdemona is unfaithful with friend and fellow soldier Michael Cassio. Othello’s actions become defined by his jealousy, which contrasts so notably from the Othello presented at the beginning of the play, that the jealousy becomes a character in itself. When the play begins, the reader is introduced to Iago and Roderigo, who knowing of Othello’s nuptials to…

A Raisin in the Sun vs. Julius Caesar

In William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun themes, symbols, and characters can be compared. Both A Raisin in the Sun and Julius Caesar were written for the stage; therefore their characters become more obvious and more thoroughly portrayed than in a book, for example. Even though, these works were written by far different authors and in different centuries their similarities and differences are evident. In both A Raisin in the Sun and Julius Caesar themes, symbols, and character development are consistent. Comparing character development in Julius Caesar and A Raisin in the Sun is beneficial in learning more about each and every character. One of the major characters in A Raisin in the Sun…

Distinct Characterization in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar works convincingly for audiences today not only because of its truth historically, but because of its truth of character, historically.  As with the rest of the English bard’s canon, it is the character driven aspect of the writing that continually reminds you of the play’s purpose.  Because the characters are so fantastically dissimilar, in behavior and language, the play comes alive.  In Julius Caesar, two aspects come alive most: the world of aristocracy in the Roman Empire, and most especially the distinct characters themselves that populate this play’s vision of that aristocracy. Primarily the world of Roman aristocrats is presented by the representation of the complete world of governance through three aspects.  They complete the…

Shakespeare Merchant of Venice

In Act 2 Scene 9 of The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare, we were presented with the Prince of Aragon and Portia. Now, the second man is trying to attempt to guess the right casket. Unfortunately, along with the Prince of Morocco, Portia doesn’t want to be with this man either. Portia goes through the same routine by leading the Prince of Aragon to the casket and letting him choose between the three caskets. Aragon feels confident with his choice. He choses the silver casket very easily. He figures that just like the phrase on the casket says, he shall get what he deserves. Something or many things that he has done throughout his life must have provoked this…

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was born in Startford-on-Avon, in the country of Warwick. The third child and first son, William was christened on 26th April, 1564 in the parish chruch. His father, John Shakespeare, was a prosperous businessman. William got his education in a good grammer school. His father’s business failed due to neglect so William could not attend the University. At the age of eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway, the daughter of an old family friend and they had three children. The date of his arrival in London is not known but he was said to have been arrived there around 1592. A theatre company, ‘Lord Chamberlain’s Men’, refounded in 1594, developed into London’s leading company. Shakespeare became an important…