William Shakespeare Discussion Topics

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Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

What does William Shakespeare consider the proper relationship between rulers and subjects in society?

In his sonnet sequence, Shakespeare writes repeatedly about poets and poetry. What does he see as the role for poetry in society?

What would Shakespeare consider to be the ideal relationship between parents and children?

How does Shakespeare make use of history in creating the plots of his plays?

What dramatic use does Shakespeare make of minor characters in his plays, especially characters from the lower classes?

In portraying women, in what ways is Shakespeare bound by attitudes toward gender relationships common to his own age? Is there evidence that he represents a more modern view regarding such relationships?

Many of Shakespeare’s works deal with matters of romantic love. How does he use conventions from the medieval courtly love tradition, and in what ways does he present more progressive views of romantic relationships?

How does Shakespeare make use of Renaissance conventions of dramatic tragedy? How does he modify these for specific thematic purposes in plays such as Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, King Lear, or Julius Caesar?