How to Enjoy the Works of William Shakespeare

Two Methods:Getting StartedShakespeare Cheat Sheet

William Shakespeare is considered to be one of the world's greatest playwrights. However, with today's modern language, Shakespeare's works can be difficult to understand and annoying to read. Here are just a few tips on how to enjoy his brilliant works.

Getting Started

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    Know that in order to enjoy reading a play, you must have a certain mindset. Creativity, to imagine the characters saying the lines as you read them, the willingness to read, and the enthusiasm to work through the tough language.
  2. Image titled Enjoy the Works of William Shakespeare Step 2
    Start by understanding the basic premise of whichever play you are planning on reading. Romeo and Juliet? Hamlet? Are you going to read the original text or translation into modern English? Make these decisions to decide on the best approach for reading.
    • If you are planning on reading the translation, then jump right in! The stories are great, and as long as you have some reading skills, you should be able to understand the play just fine. One suggestion is to make a character map for some of the more complex plays, such as Macbeth. For those plays, just go online and find a tree to help you understand how everybody fits within the story.
    • If you are planning on reading the original English, some prep work might be required. Some books have side by side text, so that if you do not understand one phrase or so you should be able to look it up. Others, for really dedicated people, have simply the old English. For these, do some research onto the meanings of old English words, know the plot line and the characters, and know your history. Shakespeare often mixed history within his plays.
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    Try to have fun with it. it can sound especially goofy when read out loud, so if you have children, or are a teacher planning on reading it with children, have some fun. make tongue twisters out of his wording, or have a contest for who can memorize a long passage. act it out with somebody if you are not afraid.
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    Do your research on Shakespeare's insults. He was well known for having the best in the business, so if you are planning on reading this with teenagers, do a course on insulting fellow class members with Shakespeare era insults.

Shakespeare Cheat Sheet

Sample Shakespeare Terms


  • ALWAYS remember that Shakespeare's plays were made for theatre, so reading them just is not the same as watching them. If possible, Go to see the play before, during or after your reading of it, and, if possible, multiple times. Doing this will allow you to see the play and enhance your understanding of it. If you want, bring your book along and follow the play in the book. Notice differences and similarities, how they interpret some scenes versus how you interpret them. all of this is about enjoying the master work by play write William Shakespeare.

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Categories: Studying Literature