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Students will review:
In this chapter, you'll learn the answers to questions including:
- How did fact and fiction come together in William Shakespeare's historical plays?
- What literary themes do we find in Shakespearean comedies and tragedies?
- In which plays do we find some of Shakespeare's most famous quotes?
- How should readers approach and interpret Shakespeare's sonnets?
- What were some of Christopher Marlowe's major plays?
- Besides the Faerie Queen, what else did Christopher Marlowe write?
- How did Ben Johnson's friendship with Shakespeare affect his literary legacy?
1. Shakespeare's Globe Theatre: History & Facts
The Globe Theatre is one of the most popular theatres in the world. There have been a number of plays performed at The Globe Theatre, including many of the plays written by William Shakespeare. Learn more about the theatre, and test your knowledge with a quiz.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. 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!
16. 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.
17. 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.
18. Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors: Summary & Analysis
This lesson is a summary of one of Shakespeare's earliest plays, ''The Comedy of Errors.'' It also includes a brief analysis of the major themes of the work and the style of the play itself.
19. The 3 Apparitions in Macbeth
Anyone familiar with the 'Scottish Play' knows it's full of magic and mayhem, but what about the point where these two meet? Come explore the dark realms of divination in this lesson on the Three Apparitions in Shakespeare's ''Macbeth''!
20. Renaissance Literature: Characteristics & Writers
Renaissance literature was born as the world emerged from the Middle Ages. It was the time of John Milton and Shakespeare. In this lesson, we will learn about the characteristics of the Renaissance period and the writers it produced.
21. A Midsummer Night's Dream: Analysis & Themes
A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare is a tapestry of three stories woven into one. We see a wood full of fairies, a humorous group of actors, and star-crossed lovers, but as in all of Shakespeare's comedies, circumstances turn out all right in the end.
22. Aemilia Lanyer: Biography & Poems
You may already know that Aemelia Lanyer was a 17th century British poet, but did you also know that she was England's first feminist writer? In this lesson, you will learn about the life and times of Aemelia Lanyer and her collection of poems ''Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum''.
23. Characterization of Macbeth
You might be familiar with the protagonist of Shakespeare's 'Scottish Play,' but what do you really know about Macbeth? Get better acquainted with one of literature's most notorious figures in this lesson on the characterization of Macbeth!
24. Christopher Marlowe's Edward II: Summary & Concept
This lesson is a summary of Marlowe's ''Edward II''. It includes a discussion of the play's concept as well as important ideas in the play. The summary includes historical information important to understanding the overall concept of the play.
25. Edmund Spenser's Epithalamion: Definition, Summary & Analysis
It might sound like scientific jargon, but Edmund Spenser's 'Epithalamion' is actually a sort of love poem! Explore this lesson to discover more on the traditions behind this poem, as well as to see it summarized and analyzed.
26. Gulliver's Voyage to Brobdingnag
The satirical work, 'Gulliver's Travels,' takes our main character to many surprising locations. In this lesson, we will follow Gulliver to a place called Brobdingnag and see what adventures await him there.
27. Peter Quince in A Midsummer Night's Dream: Overview
At first glance, Peter Quince is just a minor character in one of the many subplots of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream.' In this lesson, however, we'll take a closer look, investigating Quince's impact on the play's humor and our experience as an audience.
28. Philip Sidney: Poems & Explanation
Sir Philip Sidney was a poet and dramatist from the Renaissance, but he didn't see himself as a writer. In this lesson, we will look at Sidney's life and poems and see how he contributed to Renaissance literature.
29. Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night: Character Analysis & Quotes
This lesson provides a character analysis of Sir Toby Belch from Shakespeare's comedy ''Twelfth Night.'' It provides insight into his personality and motivations throughout the play and includes a list of his most important and memorable lines.
30. Song: To Celia by Ben Jonson: Summary & Analysis
It's probably not a love song you'd sing to your sweetheart today, but 'Song: To Celia' was once a chart-topper! Come explore this antique love song by Ben Jonson, and uncover its even more ancient roots in this lesson.
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Other chapters within the College English Literature: Help and Review course
- Literary Terms and Analysis: Help and Review
- Poetic Types & Styles
- Intro to English Literature: Help and Review
- Old and Middle English Literature: Help and Review
- 17th and 18th Century English Literature: Help and Review
- Romantic Prose in English Literature: Help and Review
- Romantic Poetry in English Literature: Help and Review
- Victorian Literature: Help and Review
- Turn-of-the-Century Literature: Help and Review
- Modernism in English Literature: Help and Review
- Nonfiction in English Literature: Help and Review
- Historical, Social, & Cultural Aspects of Literature