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Ch 9: British Plays for 12th Grade

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons to learn about British playwrights and their works. These easy-to-follow lessons are just a portion of our online study guide and video collection.

British Plays for 12th Grade - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Born around 1564, William Shakespeare wrote plays and worked as an actor. He is best known for his work as a playwright, and he wrote a large number of plays that include comedies, histories and tragedies. This chapter studies several of Shakespeare's most popular works and explores the man's life. You can also meet and learn about the plays of Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett. This chapter can help you understand:

  • How Shakespeare handled racial issues in his writing
  • The competition between Ben Jonson and William Shakespeare
  • How restoration comedy got its name
  • Why Oscar Wilde lost all his money and ended up in jail

Video Objective
Introduction to Shakespeare: Life and Works Find out about Shakespeare's life and works in addition to his lasting effect on the English language and literature.
Richard III: Fact and Fiction in Shakespeare's History Plays Learn about the plot and characters of Richard III and how this play fits into the category of 'history play.'
Julius Caesar: Shakespeare's Play vs. History This lesson investigates how this play ties in with the story of Caesar and how we can learn more about history through Shakespeare.
Twelfth Night: Themes, Quotes and Cross-Dressing Characters Meet the characters and hear about the plot of this classic cross-dressing story.
Hamlet: Beyond the Famous Soliloquy Hear famous quotes and an analysis of this play's main themes.
Othello: Racism and Shakespeare This lessons discusses Othello's racial status and his enemy, Iago.
Shakespeare's King Lear: My Three Daughters Find out the importance of blindness in this play in addition to exploring the themes connected to family.
Macbeth: Themes and Quotes from the Scottish Play Learn about this play's story, the theme of ambition and some strange theater superstitions.
Introduction to Christopher Marlowe: Biography and Plays Use this lesson to find out about Marlowe's life and main works in addition to hearing about the mystery surrounding his death.
Introduction to Ben Jonson: Poems, Plays and Shakespeare Learn about Jonson's works and his competitive relationship with Shakespeare.
Restoration Comedy: Theatre of the 1700s This lesson discusses theater of the period, major authors, works and themes.
Introduction to Oscar Wilde: Plays, Novels, and Sexuality Find out about Oscar Wilde's life, writings and trial.
Introduction to Samuel Beckett: Life, Plays, and Novels Learn about Samuel Beckett's major works and about his connection to author James Joyce and other modernist writers.
Waiting for Godot: Plot, Characters, and Style Get to know Samuel Beckett's circular style of dialogue and learn about this play's plot and characters.

14 Lessons in Chapter 9: British Plays for 12th Grade
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Introduction to Shakespeare: Life and Works

1. 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.

Richard III: Fact and Fiction in Shakespeare's History Plays

2. 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.

Julius Caesar: Shakespeare's Play vs. History

3. 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.

Twelfth Night: Themes, Quotes and Cross-Dressing Characters

4. 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.

Hamlet: Beyond the Famous Soliloquy

5. 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.

Othello: Racism and Shakespeare

6. 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.

Shakespeare's King Lear: My Three Daughters

7. 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.

Macbeth: Themes and Quotes from the Scottish Play

8. 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.

Introduction to Christopher Marlowe: Biography and Plays

9. 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!

Introduction to Ben Jonson: Poems, Plays and Shakespeare

10. 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.

Restoration Comedy: Theatre of the 1700s

11. Restoration Comedy: Theatre of the 1700s

Despite their name, Restoration comedies have nothing to do with fixing up a theater. Rather, these were shockingly explicit works that were created after almost two decades of live performances being outlawed in England. Watch our video lesson to learn about this surprising and hilarious time in English theatrical history.

Introduction to Oscar Wilde: Plays, Novels, and Sexuality

12. Introduction to Oscar Wilde: Plays, Novels, and Sexuality

From ''The Picture of Dorian Gray'' to the ''Importance of Being Earnest'', Oscar Wilde left an indelible mark on literature and theater. In this lesson, you'll learn all about the Victorian author.

Introduction to Samuel Beckett: Life, Plays, and Novels

13. Introduction to Samuel Beckett: Life, Plays, and Novels

This video will introduce the late modernist author and playwright Samuel Beckett. A close friend of James Joyce, Beckett's works typically portray a meaningless, absurd existence. This is epitomized in his most famous work, 'Waiting for Godot.'

Waiting for Godot:  Plot, Characters, and Style

14. Waiting for Godot: Plot, Characters, and Style

In this lesson, we'll explore Samuel Beckett's groundbreaking play, Waiting for Godot. We'll look at its main characters, Vladimir and Estragon, and hear an example of their circular, sometimes nonsensical banter. We'll also briefly discuss the play's legacy in modern theater.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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