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Shakespeare's Sonnets, or simply The Sonnets, comprise a collection of 154 poems in sonnet form written by William Shakespeare that deal with such themes as love, beauty, politics, and mortality. The poems were probably written over a period of several years. (Summary from wikipedia)
 
William Shakespeare (April 26, 1564 – April 23, 1616) remains widely to be considered the single greatest playwright of all time. He wrote in such a variety of genres - tragedy, comedy, romance, &c - that there is always at least one monologue in each of his plays. Some of these teach a lesson, some simply characterize Shakespeare at his best, some are funny, some sad, but all are very moving. Each monologue will touch everybody differently. Some people will be so moved by a particular monol ...
 
This personal anthology is my choice of speeches from Shakespeare that I enjoy reading (that I would like to have had by heart years ago!) and that seem to me to illustrate his unsurpassed use of language. He was a man who seemed to know everything about human nature and as Orson Welles said ‘he speaks to everyone and we all claim him’. I know that it has been said that ‘it is impossible to be a great Shakespearian actor without an idiosyncratic and extraordinary voice’ and this may be so, b ...
 
Romeo and Juliet is perhaps the most famous of Shakespeare’s plays and is thought to be the most famous love story in Western history. It concerns the fate of two very young lovers who would do anything to be together. The Montagues and the Capulets of Verona, Italy, are in the midst of a long-standing feud when Romeo Montague drops in on a masquerade party at the Capulets’. While there he meets and woos the daughter of the house, Juliet. She likewise returns his passion, and their secret me ...
 
Shakespeare's pastoral comedy was written and first performed around 1599, and presents some of his familiar motifs: a cross-dressing heroine, a wise-cracking fool, brothers usurping their brothers' power, a journey from the court to the country, and various romantic entanglements. (Summary by Elizabeth Klett)CastOrlando: Arielle LipshawAdam/Hymen: Kevin GreenOliver/Le Beau/First Lord/First Page: ToddTouchstone/Dennis/First Lord/Forester: KristingjCharles/Second Lord/Jaques de Boys: Algy Pug ...
 
Two households, both alike in dignity,In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.From forth the fatal loins of these two foesA pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;Whose misadventured piteous overthrowsDo with their death bury their parents' strife.(Summary from the Prologue)Cast:Narrator: Laurie Anne WaldenRomeo: mbJuliet: Beth ThomasNurse: Arielle LipshawFriar Laurence: Denny SayersMercutio: Eden Rea-Hed ...
 
Henry VI, Part 1 is a history play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1591, and set during the lifetime of King Henry VI of England. Whereas 2 Henry VI deals with the King's inability to quell the bickering of his nobles, and the inevitability of armed conflict, and 3 Henry VI deals with the horrors of that conflict, 1 Henry VI deals with the loss of England's French territories and the political machinations leading up to the Wars of the Roses, as the English political ...
 
The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark is a tragedy by William Shakespeare. Set in the Kingdom of Denmark, the play dramatizes the revenge Prince Hamlet exacts on his uncle Claudius for murdering King Hamlet, Claudius's brother and Prince Hamlet's father, and then succeeding to the throne and taking as his wife Gertrude, the old king's widow and Prince Hamlet's mother. The play vividly portrays both true and feigned madness – from overwhelming grief to seething rage – and explores themes o ...
 
The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark is a tragedy by William Shakespeare. Set in the Kingdom of Denmark, the play dramatizes the revenge Prince Hamlet exacts on his uncle Claudius for murdering King Hamlet, Claudius's brother and Prince Hamlet's father, and then succeeding to the throne and taking as his wife Gertrude, the old king's widow and Prince Hamlet's mother. The play vividly portrays both true and feigned madness – from overwhelming grief to seething rage – and explores themes o ...
 
Generally considered one of Shakespeare's problem plays, Measure for Measure examines the ideas of sin and justice. Duke Vincentio turns Vienna's rule over to the corrupt Angelo, who sentences Claudio to death for having impregnated a woman before marriage. His sister Isabella, a novice nun, pleads for her brother's life, only to be told that he will be spared if she agrees to relinquish her virginity to Angelo. (Summary by wildemoose) Cast: Abhorson: John D. Nugent Angelo: Roger Clifton Bar ...
 
The Merry Wives of Windsor is a comedy by William Shakespeare, first published in 1602, though believed to have been written prior to 1597. It features the fat knight Sir John Falstaff, and is Shakespeare's only play to deal exclusively with contemporary Elizabethan era English middle class life. (Summary by Wikipedia)Cast:Anne Page, Mistress Page's daughter: Elizabeth BarrBardolph, sharper attending on Falstaff: AlanDoctor Caius, a French physician: Marty KrisFalstaff: Mark F. SmithFenton, ...
 
Shakespeare was passionately interested in the history of Rome, as is evident from plays like Titus Andronicus, Julius Caesar, and Antony and Cleopatra. His tragedy Coriolanus was probably written around 1605-07, and dramatizes the rise and fall of a great Roman general, Caius Martius (later surnamed Coriolanus because of his military victory at Corioli). This play is unusual in that it provides a strong voice for the ordinary citizens of Rome, who begin the play rioting about the high price ...
 
Despite its optimistic title, Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well has often been considered a "problem play." Ostensibly a comedy, the play also has fairy tale elements, as it focuses on Helena, a virtuous orphan, who loves Bertram, the haughty son of her protectress, the Countess of Rousillon. When Bertram, desperate for adventure, leaves Rousillon to serve in the King's army, Helena pursues him.
 
Cymbeline is one of Shakespeare's late romances, which (like The Tempest and The Winter's Tale) combines comedy and tragedy. Imogen, the daughter of King Cymbeline of Britain, angers her father when she marries Posthumus, a worthy but penniless gentleman. The King banishes Posthumus, who goes to Rome, where he falls prey to the machinations of Iachimo, who tries to convince him that Imogen will be unfaithful. Meanwhile, the Queen (Imogen's stepmother) plots against her stepdaughter by trying ...
 
Troilus and Cressida is Shakespeare's "problem" play about the Trojan War. As the opening Chorus tells us, the play "begins in the middle" of the epic conflict, and counterpoints the drama of battle with the romance of the title characters. Just as Agamemnon and his Greek forces (particularly the smooth-tongued Ulysses) attempt to woo the invincible Achilles to resume fighting on their side, the Trojan go-between Pandarus tries to bring together Troilus, a son of King Priam, with his niece, ...
 
Cymbeline is one of Shakespeare's late romances, which (like The Tempest and The Winter's Tale) combines comedy and tragedy. Imogen, the daughter of King Cymbeline of Britain, angers her father when she marries Posthumus, a worthy but penniless gentleman. The King banishes Posthumus, who goes to Rome, where he falls prey to the machinations of Iachimo, who tries to convince him that Imogen will be unfaithful. Meanwhile, the Queen (Imogen's stepmother) plots against her stepdaughter by trying ...
 
This is truly a delightful compilation of some of the best known and loved passages from William Shakespeare's plays. Most readers would be familiar with all or at least some of them. If you've studied Shakespeare in school or college, plays like The Merchant of Venice and Macbeth were probably assigned texts. However, if you haven't encountered these plays before, Shakespeare Monologues is a great volume to browse through and enjoy at leisure. It's important to know that there is a distinct ...
 
After the turmoil and uncertainty of Henry IV a new era appears to dawn for England with the accession of the eponymous Henry V. In this sunny pageant, the Chorus guides us along Henry's glittering carpet ride of success as the new king completes his transformation from rebellious wastrel to a truly regal potentate. Of course, there is an underlying feeling that the good times won't last, and this is all the more reason to enjoy the Indian summer before the protracted and bitter fall of the ...
 
Antony and Cleopatra is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written sometime between 1603 and 1607. It was first printed in the First Folio of 1623. The plot is based on Thomas North's translation of Plutarch's Life of Marcus Antonius and follows the relationship between Cleopatra and Mark Antony from the time of the Parthian War to Cleopatra's suicide. The major antagonist is Octavius Caesar, one of Antony's fellow triumviri and the future first emperor of Rome. The trag ...
 
Written around the middle of his career, Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeare's great festive comedies. The men are back from the war, and everyone is ready for romance. The dashing young Claudio falls for Hero, the daughter of Leonato, governor of Messina, and his friend Don Pedro helps him secure her affection. These youthful lovers are contrasted with the more experienced (and more cynical) Benedick and Beatrice, who have to be tricked into falling in love. Don Pedro's bastard bro ...
 
Pericles, Prince of Tyre is a Jacobean play written at least in part by William Shakespeare and included in modern editions of his collected works despite questions over its authorship, as it was not included in the First Folio. Modern editors generally agree that Shakespeare is responsible for almost exactly half the play—827 lines—the main portion after scene 9 that follows the story of Pericles and Marina. Modern textual studies indicate that the first two acts of 835 lines detailing the ...
 
Macbeth is a play written by William Shakespeare. It is considered one of his darkest and most powerful tragedies. Set in Scotland, the play dramatizes the corroding psychological and political effects produced when its protagonist, the Scottish lord Macbeth, chooses evil as the way to fulfill his ambition for power. He commits regicide to become king and then furthers his moral descent with a reign of murderous terror to stay in power, eventually plunging the country into civil war. In the ...
 
The Comedy of Errors tells the story of two sets of identical twins that were accidentally separated at birth. Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant, Dromio of Syracuse, arrive in Ephesus, which turns out to be the home of their twin brothers, Antipholus of Ephesus and his servant, Dromio of Ephesus. When the Syracusans encounter the friends and families of their twins, a series of wild mishaps based on mistaken identities lead to wrongful beatings, a near-seduction, the arrest of Antipholu ...
 
Hamlet is commonly regarded as one of the greatest plays ever written. Drawing on Danish chronicles and the Elizabethan vogue for revenge tragedy, Shakespeare created a play that is at once a philosophic treatise, a family drama, and a supernatural thriller. In the wake of his father's death, Prince Hamlet finds that his Uncle Claudius has swiftly taken the throne and married his mother, Queen Gertrude. The ghost of the dead king then appears and charges Claudius with 'murder most foul.' Ham ...
 
This is Shakespeare's dutiful tribute to one of the most imposing and terrifying rulers in European history. The kingdom trembles as the giant monarch storms through his midlife crisis, disposing of the faithful Katharine of Aragon and starting a new life and, the king hopes, a line of succession with the captivating young Anne Bullen. Unlike his predecessors, Henry has no doubt about the security of his tenure on the throne, and dominates the royal court with absolute authority. The extent ...
 
After the turmoil and uncertainty of Henry IV a new era appears to dawn for England with the accession of the eponymous Henry V. In this sunny pageant Chorus guides us along Henry's glittering carpet ride of success as the new king completes his transformation from rebellious wastrel to a truly regal potentate. Of course, there is an underlying feeling that the good times won't last, and this is all the more reason to enjoy the Indian summer before the protracted and bitter fall of the house ...
 
The Comedy of Errors is one of William Shakespeare's earliest plays, believed to have been written between 1592 and 1594. It is his shortest and one of his most farcical comedies, with a major part of the humour coming from slapstick and mistaken identity, in addition to puns and word play. The Comedy of Errors tells the story of two sets of identical twins that were accidentally separated at birth. Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant, Dromio of Syracuse, arrive in Ephesus, which turns ou ...
 
William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice was probably written between 1596 and 1598, and was printed with the comedies in the First Folio of 1623. Bassanio, an impoverished gentleman, uses the credit of his friend, the merchant Antonio, to borrow money from a wealthy Jew, Shylock. Antonio pledges to pay Shylock a pound of flesh if he defaults on the loan, which Bassanio will use to woo a rich heiress, Portia. A subplot concerns the elopement of Shylock's daughter Jessica with a Christian ...
 
Richard III is an early history play probably written and performed around 1592-93. It is the culmination of Shakespeare's earlier three plays about Henry VI, and chronicles the bloody career of Richard, Duke of Gloucester. As the play opens, the Wars of the Roses are over, King Edward IV (Richard's brother) is on the throne, and all is ostensibly well. The problem? Richard wants to be king - and he'll stop at nothing to realize his ambition. (Summary by Elizabeth Klett) Cast: King Edward IV ...
 
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