Magazine topic: 
Books
Total votes: 18

Happy Shakespeare Day!

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by : 
EllenBlogger

The 23rd April is World Book Day, but did you know that it is also Shakespeare Day? Everybody has heard of Shakespeare, but do you know how many plays he wrote? Have you heard of any of his poetry?

Shakespeare’s plays fit into three categories: tragedies, comedies and histories. Perhaps his most famous play is the tragic story of Romeo and Juliet, which deals with two young lovers who are forbidden to marry by their parents. Other tragedies include Hamlet, a play about a vengeful ghost, Othello, about an army general who is manipulated into killing his wife, and Macbeth. If you’ve seen Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, you’ll recognise ‘hubble bubble boil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble’ which is sung in the Great Hall after the Sorting Ceremony. These words come from the Witches in Macbeth!

Shakespeare’s comedies include Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night. Twelfth Night is a play about confusing identities. Two twins are shipwrecked and the sister, Viola, dresses up as her brother, Sebastian, who she thinks is dead. It’s hilarious, because the brother reappears without Viola realising and there’s a big love triangle going on: Viola is in love with the Duke, who is in love with Olivia, who falls in love with Sebastian, except she doesn’t realise that Sebastian is actually Viola dressed up! Everybody falls in love with the wrong person, but it is all made right in the end.

The history plays, such as Antony and Cleopatra, Richard III and Henry V are based on the lives of real historical people. Antony and Cleopatra is a story about a doomed romance in ancient Egypt. Cleopatra becomes Antony’s mistress and Antony becomes so obsessed with her that he loses his military might. Cleopatra commits suicide by letting a snake bite her after Egypt's army has been defeated by Octavius and Antony kills himself too.

Shakespeare’s plays can be very heavy going sometimes. Some of the themes they deal with are heavy and complex, so they almost always contain a lighter subplot with characters who aren’t closely linked to the characters in the main plot. They are often used in tragedies to lighten the mood of the play and to keep the audience interested in the main plot.

Discussion

Have you seen or read any of Shakespeare’s plays? Which is your favourite? Which of the plays Ellen mentions are you interested in?

Comments

poppymoore's picture
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poppymoore 14 May, 2017 - 14:52

Shakespeare is a part of my school studies .
And Macbeth is my favourite. But I have a lot of problem with his language.

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hadia's picture
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hadia 16 May, 2017 - 11:29

Yes. The English is chronic. But you start loving it once you read and understand it. His works are unique and matchless. ;)

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catastrophe's picture
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catastrophe 6 May, 2017 - 14:24

I like Shakespere, but a big problem is that his language is quite old, and I'm not able to understand them. So I have to read the adapted ones. By the way, I'd like to post articles, too. When would such a feature be avalible?:((

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JoEditor's picture
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JoEditor 8 May, 2017 - 13:56

Hi catastrophe,
At the moment we don't have the space and the resources for our users to write articles. We have a very small team working on the website and right now it's not possible. We would love to be able to do this but I'm afraid it's not going to happen in the near future.
With best wishes, Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team)  

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milianawiliam's picture
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milianawiliam 27 April, 2017 - 14:25

I have read Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream. I love A Midsummer Night's Dream most. It's magical.

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EllenBlogger's picture
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EllenBlogger 30 April, 2017 - 21:07

Hi Miliana!

I totally agree, I love a Midsummer Night's Dream too - it truly is magical and absolutely hilarious - I think this play shows Shakespeare at his absolute best! I also love the film, as the music is beautiful and it really brings the play to life! 

I like The Tempest too - I acted out the part of Caliban, when I was at school, which was great fun!

I'm about to start reading Hamlet for my degree - I've heard really good things about it! 

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hadia's picture
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hadia 25 April, 2017 - 13:31

You mentioned quite some plays. I am interested to read that one of Antony and Cleopatra. Just as my vacation come in my hand. :P

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EllenBlogger's picture
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EllenBlogger 30 April, 2017 - 21:09

Yes, but Shakespeare wrote so many plays! It's hard to pick a favourite one! Have you read any of his sonnets? My favourite one is Sonnet 116 - Let me not to the marriage of true minds. It's all about how he knows he is totally in love. It's beautiful and reminds me of how I feel about my boyfriend!

How is your reading of Anthony and Cleopatra going? Do you find it difficult? 

Ellen

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catastrophe's picture
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catastrophe 11 May, 2017 - 06:54

Hi! Thanks for posting such a useful article! I was doing a project on Shakespeare and this was quite useful! My fav is Midsummers night dream because it is really funny. We even enacted one of his plays in school! And true, it's a great sonnet.

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Ken's picture
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Ken 12 May, 2017 - 03:23

Me either, catastrophe!
Yeah, it's really funny but it actually happens.
(≧∇≦)ヾ(⌒(ノシ >ω<)ノシ

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catastrophe's picture
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catastrophe 15 May, 2017 - 16:28

I think it's the favorite of soo many people. And it's strange how people of those times manage to create such beautiful plays. When we tried to do the same, we ended yup being the laughing stock of our class! Finally we enacted the Macbeth. We didn't choose Romeo and Juliet because we though it would be awkward to do that in front of the school! :bbb

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Ken's picture
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Ken 3 May, 2017 - 05:57

Thanks for letting us know your favourite work of Shakespeare.
What a charming, down-to-earth and honest sonnet it is! I'm mesmerized by the power of love that you believe in!
(♡ >ω< ♡)

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hadia's picture
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hadia 2 May, 2017 - 11:55

Hi Ellen.
Sadly. I haven't read much of his Sonnets. But I'd do soon. Actually, my final exams are starting from next week. So, I am not allowed to read other things than my textbooks. After they are over, I'd definitely read them.;)
Well, wish me luck. B)

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