Just to prove the point, click here for the opening scene of Richard III (one of Shakespeare's best villains) and a discussion of the passage.
The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC is worth the trip.
Check out the many links available at the Voice of the Shuttle.
Shakespeare was born at Stratford-upon-Avon in April 23, 1564. Click here to see his birthplace. He died April 23, 1616.
For many years, there has been a debate regarding the authorship of Shakespeare's works. Some believe that indeed, a man named Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare's works. Others credit Francis Bacon. Others give credit a number of authors. The PBS documentary show Frontline tried to solve the mystery. So who wrote Shakespeare? Does it matter? Whoever he was, he was a great writer. He left us with some of the most beautiful poetry ever written. His stories are timeless, and his characters, unforgettable. Whether his name was William Shakespeare or Joe Nobody, he was a genius and his works should be looked at as a wonderful legacy, not potential fodder for some kind of "mystery."
There are many textural problems with Shakespeare's works. What is a textural problem? That means there are problems with the texts (or versions) of a work. We do not have any of Shakespeare's autographs (aka a handwritten copy of a text, written by the author) because they were lost in the fire that destroyed the Globe Theatre. There are several versions of Shakespeare's work--some are called memorial transcriptions, which were probably written by actors (from memory, thus, "memorial"). The others were compiled using scripts. The most famous compilation of Shakespeare's plays is The First Folio printed in 1623. Other versions of a text were called the Quartos. Which is "authoritative?" Well, that depends upon the play! For a discussion about textural problems in A Winter's Tale, click here.
Last but not least, a list of my favorite characters and presentations of the Bard's work.
Malvolio, Twelfth Night. Click here
for an excerpt of a paper about the "gulling" of Malvolio
Shylock, Merchant of Venice. Click here for an excerpt of a paper discussing Shylock's character and Shakespeare's potential anti-Semitism.
Puck, Midsummer Night's Dream
Beatrice and Benedick, Much Ado About Nothing
Hamlet and Horatio, Hamlet
Kenneth Branaugh as Iago, Othello
Kenneth Branaugh as Hamlet, Hamlet
Emma Thompson as Beatrice, Much Ado About Nothing
Kate Winslet as Ophelia, Hamlet
If you haven't had the opportunity to see Kenneth Branaugh's
of Hamlet, it is an absolute must-see. He is, by far, the
best Hamlet I've ever seen. It is clear that he understands the
very well--he portrays Hamlet as the text says he should--he's not
he's mad with grief and mad for revenge on his father's murderer.
Branaugh also does a wonderful job in the verbal contest with
Kate Winslet does a marvelous job as Ophelia, especially when she comes
unhinged upon news of her father's death. The movie is almost 4
long but it is worth every minute!
last updated August 9, 2004.