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shakespeare.com FAQs

To find the answers to these Frequently Asked Questions, click on the question below to bring you to its answer. To locate terms of interest to you, use Edit - Find (on This Page...) in your browser menu.

The FAQs were written by frequent Shakespeare Queries and Replies respondents Dave Johnson, Harry Connors and David Wallace; Prospero applauds them on their efforts. They may be used - fairly, in accordance with all applicable copyright laws - but if copied or quoted should be cited as "shakespeare.com FAQs". Some answers were written by each author, so the "I" in one answer may not be the same as the "I" in another answer.

All website addresses in these FAQs were functioning as of August 8, 2002.

  1. What editions of the plays do you recommend?
  2. What books will help me understand Shakespeare's plays, their language, and their historical background?
  3. Who wrote the great plays and sonnets?
  4. What do we know about Shakespeare’s life?
  5. When was Shakespeare born?
  6. Where was Shakespeare born?
  7. Who were Shakespeare’s parents?
  8. Did Shakespeare have any brothers and sisters?
  9. Did Shakespeare go to school? What did he study?
  10. Did Shakespeare get married?
  11. Did Shakespeare have any more children?
  12. What happened after the twins were born?
  13. Was he a success?
  14. What were Shakespeare's theater-related activities?
  15. How did Shakespeare die?
  16. What is the bit about the "second-best bed?"
  17. Where is Shakespeare buried?
  18. Was Shakespeare straight or gay?
  19. What is Shakespeare's impact on the modern world?
  20. With what theaters and acting companies was Shakespeare primarily involved?
  21.  What was the Globe theater and its audience like?
  22. What was Blackfriar's theater and its audience like?
  23. How were sound, lightning, and other theatrical effects achieved in Elizabethan theater?
  24. Describe Elizabethan theatrical sets and costumes.
  25. How long was a play performance?
  26. Are there any stories and legends about Shakespeare and his theater?
  27. "Tragedy" - what is it?
  28. "Comedy" - what is it?
  29. What is "iambic pentameter"?  What is "blank verse"?
  30. When does Shakespeare use verse and when does he use prose?
  31. What are Folios and Quartos?
  32. "Sonnets": how can I enjoy and understand them?
  33. Othello: what is his race and color?  Does it matter?
  34. Desdemona: is her weakness partly responsible for her death?
  35. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth: who is more guilty of the murders?
  36. Who was the third murderer in the killing of Banquo?
  37. Macbeth: what is its relationship to Scottish history?
  38. What is the relationship between Macbeth and events in Shakespeare’s time?
  39. Hamlet: was the Prince sane or mad?
  40. Hamlet: what is the meaning of his "To be or not to be" soliloquy?
  41. A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Romeo And Juliet": How are these plays related?
  42. Where can I find and how do I select a monologue for an audition or class recitation?
  43. Can you give me any tips on how to audition for a Shakespeare role?
  44. Where can I find information about the Elizabethan Age (English Renaissance) - its food, clothing, music and customs?
  45. Should I cite the FAQs

Copyright © 2002 Dana Spradley, Publisher, for shakespeare.com