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Shakespeare's Life and Times

The Life and Times of Shakespeare

  
 
 

Overview

To better understand the work of William Shakespeare, it is useful to know something about the times in which he lived. What was it like in Elizabethan England? How were his works reflective of society at this time?
 
This project was initially created to the study of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Nights Dream, but serves in giving an overview for any Shakespeare unit.  Assignment will vary in scope and format depending on your teacher.

Check with your English teacher for details pertaining to your class project. Options may include one or more of the following: Poster Format / Written Assignment / Oral Presentation / Role Play etc.

You will be required to take notes and keep a record of all the resources you have consulted for a complete bibliography. 

You can view the bibliography style guide or follow the step-by-step lessons for each type of resource.

List of Topics

  • SHAKESPEARE'S LIFE: a biographical sketch of Shakespeare - the man, his family, his life
  • SHAKESPEARE'S THEATRE: The Globe - construction, use, the actors, etc.
  • THE CHARACTERS from A Midsummer Night's Dream: and their mythological counterparts
    Hippolyta, Theseus and the Amazons
    Diana, Cupid, Venus and the fairies
  • FASHION / COSTUME: comparison between men's and women's clothing during the Elizabethan era, as well as the differences in the social hierarchy
  • THE ROLE OF WOMEN: compare / contrast the life of women in Elizabethan times versus present day society and a look at the relationship between the sexes
  • QUEEN ELIZABETH I: a biography and a look at her contributions to the politics and social structure of the times
  • KING JAMES VI: a biography and a look at his contributions to the political and social structure of the times

Other possible topics ...

  • Shakespeare's Era: a look at the cultural aspects of Shakespeare's England - the entertainment scene, etc.
  • Elizabethan Music: the travelling musician, the bard and his role in society
  • The Romantic Comedy: the genre, what it is, and examples form Shakespeare's works
  • Magic and Healing: a look at the theories / beliefs and opinions on witches and sorcery
  • Customs and Manners of the Time: social etiquette, rites and rituals, daily life
  • Health and Medicine: hygiene, medical practices, discoveries made at this time
  • Weapons and Warfare
  • Life in London: What was it like? business / entertainment / the streets & markets
  • Politics and Government during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I or King James VI
  • Inventions and Industry: Advances and discoveries in technology
  • Travel and Transportation
  • Education: Who was educated? What opportunities existed?

 
 

  Resources in the REFERENCE Collection

  • William Shakespeare: His life, His Work, His Influence [REF 822.3 SHA] - a 3 volume set of with a comprehensive look at life during Shakespeare's life. Each volume complete with full index
  • The Encyclopedia of World Biography [REF 920.003 ENC]

Search VSB Library  the online catalogue for additional resources on your topic.

POSSIBLE SUBJECT HEADINGS TO SEARCH:​
  • SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM - BIOGRAPHY [921s]
  • SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM - CHARACTERS [822.3s]
  • SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM - CRITICISM AND INTERPRETATON
  • SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM - SONGS AND MUSIC
  • COSTUME - HISTORY [391s]
  • ELIZABETH I
  • ENGLAND - HISTORY [942.07]
  • ENGLAND- SOCIAL LIFE AND CUSTOMS
  • JAMES VI
  • MAGIC [133s]
  • MEDICINE [609 - 610]
  • MUSIC - HISTORY [780s]
  • MYTHOLOGY [291 -292s]
  • THEATRE - HISTORY [790s]
  • WOMEN - HISTORY [305.4]
  • WOMEN - SOCIAL LIFE AND CUSTOMS
    and more ...
USEFUL INTERNET SITES  
 
ELIZABETHAN LIFE
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