Ms. Beth Thomas
English I

Shakespeare wrote plays and poems. His plays were comedies, histories and tragedies. His 17 comedies include A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Merry Wives of Windsor. Among his 10 history plays are Henry V and Richard III. The most famous among his 10 tragedies are Hamlet, Othello, and King Lear. Shakespeare’s best-known poems are The Sonnets, first published in 1609.

The experience of visiting a theater and watching a play was very different in Shakespeare's time. You were not expected to be still and silent throughout the performance like you are today. Rather, it was the modern equivalent of going to see a popular band.

Major Differences:

  • The audience would eat, drink and talk throughout the performance
  • Theaters were open air and used natural light
  • Plays were performed in the afternoon in the daylight
  • Women never performed and the female characters were often played by boys
  • Plays used very little scenery, instead using language to set the scene

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