Passages from Shakespeare are often featured on the AP test. He is also, perhaps, the most quoted author in history. You have already read Romeo & Juliet and Julius Caesar, but it is also important for us to read one of his major works. However, the play we read will vary from year to year. Students will discuss options and choose. What follows is a list of some of Shakespeare's plays and their main plots (or links to summaries) and themes. Please see the list of links to the right for more information. You will be asked to research in advance in order to make an informed decision. If the consensus of the class is "I don't care," then the teacher will choose a favorite.

The Merchant of Venice: The merchant Shylock loans money to Bassanio whose ship sinks and is therefore unable to repay. Shylock demands a pound of flesh, literally, to satisfy the debt. Themes: anti-semitism, alienation, free will.

Macbeth: Macbeth learns he will be king from three witches. He murders his way to the throne of Scotland. Does anyone make it out of this play alive? Themes: unchecked ambition, loyalty.

Hamlet:Themes: honor, decision-making

Othello: Themes: racism, good/evil

The Tempest: Themes: revenge/forgiveness

King Lear: Themes: good/evil,

Henry V: Themes: war







The Complete Works at MIT

A Student's Overview of the history plays

Summaries at Absolute Shakespeare

Mr. William Shakespeare and the Internet

The Folger Shakespeare Library

Internet Shakespeare Editions

Shakespeare's Monologues

Shakespeare Illustrated

The Elizabethan World View

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