About This Chapter
Literature of the English Renaissance - Chapter Summary
This chapter reviews Literature of the English Renaissance. There are discussions covering colonialism found in The Tempest, racism in Othello, and much more surrounding the life and works of Shakespeare. You'll look at the poems and plays of other writers as well. After completing the chapter, you should be prepared to:
- Characterize authors and works from the English Renaissance
- Discuss the life and works of Shakespeare, through plays such as Romeo and Juliet
- Explore the differences between Shakespeare's Julius Caesar play versus actual history
- Describe characters from A Midsummer Night's Dream and Twelfth Night
- Examine themes of Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth
- Explore colonialism and magic found in The Tempest
- Read and interpret major poems in Shakespeare's sonnets
- Recognize works by Christopher Marlowe, Edmund Spenser, and Ben Jonson
These brief and engaging video lessons provide a helpful refresher on English literature during the Renaissance period. The video timelines let you easily navigate to specific topics so that you can watch only the topics you need to review. Each lesson includes a short multiple-choice quiz to test your knowledge. You can submit questions to instructors if you get stuck on a topic.
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 AP English Literature: Help and Review course
- AP English - Literary Analysis Intro: Help and Review
- AP English - Interpreting Literature: Help and Review
- Influences on the English Language
- Rhetorical Devices in AP English: Help and Review
- Genres in Literature
- Types of Fiction
- Types of Nonfiction
- Analytical Writing Strategies
- Strategies for Reading Technical & Functional Texts
- AP English - Prose: Help and Review
- AP English - Types of Poetry: Help and Review
- Literature in Old English & Middle English
- Romantic Prose in British Literature
- English Literature in the 17th & 18th Century
- The Romantic Poetry Movement in English Literature
- Literature of the Turn of the Century
- Modernist Authors in English Literature
- Nonfiction Selections in English Literature
- The Oral Tradition
- AP English - American Literary Periods and Movements: Help and Review
- AP English - Examples of American Literary Analysis: Help and Review
- AP English - English Literary Periods and Movements: Help and Review
- AP English - Examples of English Literary Analysis: Help and Review
- Grammar Review in AP English: Help and Review
- AP English - Essay Basics - Types of Essay: Help and Review
- Essay Writing Conventions for AP English: Help & Review
- Beginning the Writing Process in AP English: Help and Review
- Writing & Structuring an Essay in AP English: Help and Review
- Writing Revision and Skill Development in AP English: Help and Review
- Reading Comprehension for Test-Taking
- About the AP English Literature Test
- Literary Movements & Genres