A Crash Course in Shakespeare
Start writing a post

Are you someone who has struggled with the works of William Shakespeare? Do you have a final exam or final essay on the Bard's works?

If you answered yes to either of those questions, you are in luck. I have been approached by several people throughout the course of the spring semester with questions about Shakespeare and his works, so I have decided to compile the following list of ten Shakespeare plays that are most commonly taught and give you a crash course on them. Each play will be explained in three sentences or less.


1. A Midsummer Night's Dream

A crazy love rectangle tale where Hermia loves Lysander, Lysander loves Hermia, Demetrius loves Hermia, and Helena loves Demetrius. Puck, a fairy, messes around with love potion to pair Hermia and Lysander together and Helena and Demetrius together. Also, Oberon, king of fairies, decides to get revenge on his wife by turning a guy named Bottom's head into that of a donkey, then giving his wife love potion to make her "enamored with an ass."

2. Romeo and Juliet

Hormonal teenagers from rival families decide it's a good idea to get married after just a few days of knowing each other. They get a friar involved to help them run away. Juliet takes drugs from the friar, seems dead, so Romeo kills himself right as Juliet wakes — horrible timing — and then Juliet kills herself too. Lovely.


3. Othello

Big bad Venetian general Othello doesn't promote his right-hand man Iago, so Iago gets butt hurt and decides he will ruin Othello's entire life. Going off of Othello's insecurity, Iago manipulates and lies to make Othello jealous and think his wife, Desdemona, is cheating. In the end, Othello smothers Desdemona with a pillow for cheating. Welp.

4. Hamlet

Hamlet's dad just "died" and his mom married his uncle (Whoomp, there it is). Hamlet also sees a ghost of his dad, who said he was murdered by the uncle and tells Hamlet to avenge his murder. Hamlet then treats everyone — including his girl toy, Ophelia — like crap, kills some people, has some people killed and finally kills his uncle. Go Ham.

5. Twelfth Night

So, there's a shipwreck and Viola ends up in Illyria, without her twin brother. She dresses up as a dude and works for the Duke to woo another girl — BUT WAIT! Viola likes the Duke, so it takes her brother, Sebastian, showing up alive to make everything end up the way it's supposed to, but Viola still is dressed as a boy when the Duke decides to marry her (awk).

6. Henry IV, Part I

So King Henry is pissed at his son, Prince Hal, for drinking and gambling all the time and for being friends with a fat knight named Falstaff. BUT WAIT! Prince Hal is strategic, because, since he looks like crap right now, his redemption will be STELLAR! So in the end, he kills his archenemy, Hotspur, and emerges victorious in shining armor.

7. Macbeth

Macbeth is a Scottish lord that wants to be king so the best way to go about doing that, of course, is to go talk to some witches. This prompts Lady Macbeth, Macbeth's evil wife, to manipulate Macbeth into killing everyone. PLOT TWIST! Macbeth's enemy beheads him in the end and holds the head onstage. Epic.


8. The Tempest

Basically, Prospero is a banished former-Duke-turned wizard. He and his daughter, Miranda, live on some island with some slaves, Ariel and Caliban, and then Miranda falls in love with a dude after Prospero makes his ship crash on the island. Prospero sees how much crap he's put everyone through, so he gives up magic for good.


9. As You Like It

Rosalind is a badass that is banished from court and runs into the woods with her best gal friend, Celia. Rosalind dresses as a boy (seriously, Billy Shakes, what is with this cross-dressing?) and starts to fall in love with a guy named Orlando. Orlando pins poems on all of the trees until he finds Rosalind and boom! Happily ever after.


10. The Taming of the Shrew

Kate the shrew is a girl that talks too much and is wanted by nobody, until Petruchio comes along and is like "I WILL BE THE ONE TO TAME YOU!" So basically, they banter throughout the entire play after getting married, and after Petruchio starves Kate and deprives her of sleep, he basically bribes her to have her not talk as much as she used to, and they actually fall in love.



In all seriousness, William Shakespeare was pretty wicked in his writing. He dominated his time and even now, some 400 years later, he still dominates the English language. While this was only a crash course in Shakespeare, I cannot recommend to everyone enough, that if given the opportunity to study Shakespeare, take it.

These are only ten of Shakespeare's most popular plays. There are so many more to explore and discover. The journey has only just begun.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

Leaving My Backpack In The Library

Views about society and the stranger sitting right across from me

28566
https://unsplash.com/photos/O0T1SIgHAfM

As a college student, my backpack is an extension of myself in many ways. It contains my notes, pens, and computer vital for my success in college. It contains the snacks and water bottle I need to survive long days on campus. It also contains the "in-case" items that help put my mind at rest if I forgot something from home: extra hair ties, masks, and that backup-backup snack. With so much in my backpack important to me and my life on campus, it is no wonder that I can get apprehensive about it when it is not with me or in my line of sight. And that makes me wonder.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

5 Cool Gadgets To Make Your Car Smart

Don't let this stop you from making your car smart. You can change the one you have using smart gadgets that transform your car into a smart car.

95192

Cars are no longer just a mode of transport, where you only worry about the engine and how beautiful its interior is. These days, everyone wants to make their cars smarter, those with advanced technology systems. It makes sense for several reasons. It can make your vehicle more efficient and safer when you need to drive.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The Inevitable Truth of Loss

You're going to be okay.

120104

As we humans face loss and grief on a daily basis, it's challenging to see the good in all the change. Here's a better perspective on how we can deal with this inevitable feeling and why it could help us grow.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

'Venom: Let There Be Carnage' Film Review

Tom Hardy and Woody Harrelson lead a tigher, more fun sequel to 2018's 'Venom'

100457
Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment – YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FmWuCgJmxo

When Sony announced that Venom would be getting a stand-alone movie, outside of the Tom Holland MCU Spider-Man films, and intended to start its own separate shared universe of films, the reactions were generally not that kind. Even if Tom Hardy was going to take on the role, why would you take Venom, so intrinsically connected to Spider-Man's comic book roots, and remove all of that for cheap action spectacle?

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

'The Addams Family 2' Film Review

The sequel to the 2019 reboot is an enjoyable, but unremarkable start to the Halloween movie season

63906
Photo Credit: MGM – YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kd82bSBDE84

There's a reason why the Addams Family have become icons of the American cartoon pantheon (although having one of the catchiest theme songs in television history doesn't hinder them).

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments