About This Chapter
NES ELA: The Renaissance in English Literature - Chapter Summary
Brush up on English Renaissance literature for the NES ELA exam with these lessons and quizzes. You'll find lessons on the life and works of William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson and Edmund Spenser. By the end of the chapter, you'll have covered the following:
- Major authors and works of Renaissance literature
- Life and works of Shakespeare
- Richard III and Julius Caesar
- Macbeth, Hamlet and Othello
- King Lear and Twelfth Night
- A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest
- Romeo and Juliet
- Shakespeare's sonnets
- Plays of Christopher Marlowe
- Edmund Spenser's sonnets and The Faerie Queen
- Poems and plays of Ben Jonson
Chapter topics are broken down into short video lessons that concisely explain each of these author's works in less than ten minutes. Use the written transcripts to follow along or for review purposes. Test what you've learned and gauge what you still need to work on with lesson quizzes and a chapter exam.
NES ELA: The Renaissance in English Literature Objectives
The NES ELA exam is part of the certification process for English teachers in some states. The test includes 150 multiple-choice questions on reading, literature and communications, and it takes three hours to complete.
These chapter resources will help you with questions on English Renaissance literature in the Analyzing and Interpreting Literature subarea of the exam, worth about 23% of the total test score. In this portion of the exam, you'll be asked about the stylistic, formal and thematic characteristics of various literary genres, periods and movements, as well as how historical, political and social factors influence literature.
1. Introduction to Renaissance Literature: Characterizing Authors and Works
Chances are, you've heard of the term 'Renaissance' before, but do you know what it means? Watch this video to learn about how this artistic movement forever altered England and the way we look at literature.
2. Introduction to Shakespeare: Life and Works
This video provides a crash course introduction to William Shakespeare's life, plays, and poetry. From 'Two Gentlemen of Verona' to 'The Tempest', we'll give you a timeline of his works and quick descriptions of what you need to know to identify them.
3. Richard III: Fact and Fiction in Shakespeare's History Plays
We'll tease apart the real and the invented in Shakespeare's Richard III and discuss Shakespeare's particular brand of historical fiction. We'll also go over the plot and characters, as well as some famous quotes from the work.
4. Romeo and Juliet: Shakespeare's Famous Star-Crossed Lovers
Great tragedies resonate throughout time. In this lesson, we'll go over the role of fate in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. We'll explore the story of his star-crossed lovers and explain some of his most famous quotes.
5. Julius Caesar: Shakespeare's Play vs. History
In this lesson, we'll examine Shakespeare's take on the life of Julius Caesar, which spawned such famous quotes as 'Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!' and 'Et tu, Brute!' We'll also take a look at Brutus and Cassius, the conspirators who plotted Caesar's demise, as well as Mark Antony and Octavius, who remained loyal.
6. A Midsummer Night's Dream: Summary, Quotes and Characters
In this lesson, you'll learn about how love goes awry when magic interferes with the crazy exploits of a group of young Athenians, some fairies and some amateur actors in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
7. Twelfth Night: Themes, Quotes and Cross-Dressing Characters
In this lesson, we'll outline the interplay between love and deception in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. We'll go over plot, characters, and figure out what Shakespeare's cross-dressing heroine Viola means in the context of love.
8. Hamlet: Beyond the Famous Soliloquy
To be or not to be? In this lesson, that really is the question. Watch this video to learn all about Hamlet, one of Shakespeare's great tragedies. We'll explore its plot, characters and the meaning of that famous phrase.
9. Othello: Racism and Shakespeare
In this video, we'll give an overview of the plot of Shakespeare's 'Othello.' We'll discuss the motivations of his wicked ensign, Iago, and address the racial issues brought to light by Shakespeare's writing.
10. Shakespeare's King Lear: My Three Daughters
In this video, we'll discuss the importance of blindness, both literal and metaphorical, in Shakespeare's King Lear. We'll give an overview of the plot, characters, and explore the familial relationships central to the famous tragedy.
11. Macbeth: Themes and Quotes from the Scottish Play
In this lesson, we'll follow how ambition shapes the events of Shakespeare's Scottish play, 'Macbeth'. We'll explore the plot, characters and supernatural elements that are characteristic of this play.
12. The Tempest: Colonialism and Magic in Shakespeare
In Shakespeare's 'The Tempest,' a group of Italian nobility is shipwrecked on the island of Prospero, an exiled magician. In this lesson you'll learn how Prospero seeks to regain his right to the title Duke of Milan.
13. Shakespeare's Sonnets: Reading and Interpreting the Major Poems
In this video we'll learn about Shakespeare's sonnets, which contain some of his most famous poetry. Shakespeare addresses both a Fair Youth, speculated to be a young earl and patron, and a Dark Lady, whom he describes in frank and unromantic terms. We'll discuss the meter and rhyme scheme of the typical Shakespearean sonnet, as well as the structure of the overall work.
14. Introduction to Christopher Marlowe: Biography and Plays
English playwright Christopher Marlowe was a contemporary of Shakespeare with a short but potent body of work to his name. Learn all about his plays - and his fascinating character - from our video lesson!
15. Introduction to Edmund Spenser: The Faerie Queene and Sonnets
Edmund Spenser is one of the key figures in the English Renaissance, and he made his name mostly by writing about dragons and knights. Pretty cool, right? Watch this video to learn about this important author and his biggest work, The Faerie Queene.
16. Introduction to Ben Jonson: Poems, Plays and Shakespeare
To a great deal of people, for a great deal of time, English playwright and poet Ben Jonson was known merely as a rival (and inferior) to William Shakespeare. But there's more to the story than that! Watch our video lesson to get the skinny on Jonson's life and work.
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Other chapters within the NES English Language Art (301) Test Practice & Study Guide course
- About the NES Test
- NES ELA: Structure, Analysis & Word Meanings
- NES ELA: Strategies for Acquiring New Vocabulary
- NES ELA: Influences on the English Language
- NES ELA: Figures of Speech & Meaning
- NES ELA: Reading & Comprehension Strategies
- NES ELA: Organization of Written Works
- NES ELA: Climax & Plot in Written Works
- NES ELA: Themes in Written Works
- NES ELA: Points of View in Literature
- NES ELA: Strategies for Reading Informational Texts
- NES ELA: Strategies for Reading Persuasive Texts
- NES ELA: Strategies for Reading Technical & Functional Texts
- NES ELA: Genres in Literature
- NES ELA: Analyzing & Interpreting Nonfiction
- NES ELA: Analyzing & Interpreting Literary Fiction
- NES ELA: Types of Literary Fiction
- NES ELA: Analyzing & Interpreting Literary Drama
- NES ELA: Analyzing & Interpreting Poetry
- NES ELA: Analyzing & Interpreting Prose
- NES ELA: Literature in Old English & Middle English
- NES ELA: English Literature in the 17th & 18th Century
- NES ELA: Romantic Prose in English Literature
- NES ELA: The Romantic Poetry Movement
- NES ELA: Victorian Literature
- NES ELA: Turn-of-the-Century Literature
- NES ELA: Modernist Authors in English Literature
- NES ELA: Nonfiction in English Literature
- NES ELA: The Oral Tradition
- NES ELA: Noun & Verb Usage in the English Language
- NES ELA: Phrases & Clauses in English
- NES ELA: Types of Sentences in English
- NES ELA: Modifiers in the English Language
- NES ELA: Grammar Conventions
- NES ELA: Comma Rules
- NES ELA: Spelling Rules
- NES ELA: Precision & Clarity in Writing
- NES ELA: Effective Composition Writing
- NES ELA: The Writing Process
- NES ELA: Research Writing
- NES ELA: Narrative Writing Strategies
- NES ELA: Expository Writing Strategies
- NES ELA: Persuasive Writing Strategies
- NES ELA: Analytical Writing Strategies
- NES ELA: Effective Listening Strategies
- NES ELA: Public Speaking Strategies
- NES ELA: Viewing & Presenting Images