Shakespeare Uncovered

Expand/Collapse Shakespeare Uncovered


Shakespeare Uncovered explores the complete plays of William Shakespeare—one of the greatest writers to have ever lived. From his comedies to histories to tragedies, the series looks at the stories that have shaped our cultural history: seeking out each play’s inspiration, finding the moments and places that set every scene, as well as examining the words that gave life to Shakespeare’s world both in the past and present.

This thematic collection -- which adheres to national learning standards -- contains video segments from the series, informational texts, discussion questions, and suggestions for extension activities to enhance your students’ reading, viewing, and appreciation of Shakespeare’s works.

O this learning, what a thing it is!

  • Women's Role in As You Like It

    In this lesson from Shakespeare Uncovered, students will explore the role of women in Shakespeare’s comedy As You Like It.This lesson is best used during a reading of As You Like It.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Merely Players

    In this lesson, students will view and discuss several video segments from Shakespeare Uncovered to explore one of Shakespeare’s signature dramatic elements – the use of role playing and disguise. This lesson has been designed as a pre-reading activity for a unit on one of the comedies or on Henry IV, Part I. It can also be used as a stand-alone lesson allowing students to explore Shakespeare’s art and craft.

    Grades: 9-12
  • All the Globe's a Stage: Shakespeare's Theatre

    In this lesson from Shakespeare Uncovered, students will develop their understanding of how Shakespeare’s plays were influenced by the physical space in which they were originally produced, the Globe Theatre. This lesson is best used as an introduction to or during the reading of any play by Shakespeare.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Henry IV, Part I: Does Father Know Best?

    In this lesson from Shakespeare Uncovered, students will examine the relationships between parents and children in Henry IV, Part I.This lesson is best used after reading Act III, Scene ii of Henry IV, Part I, or after reading the entire play.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Talking to Myself

    In this lesson from Shakespeare Uncovered, students will examine Shakespeare's use of soliloquies in Hamlet, focusing on the famous "To be or not to be" speech. This lesson is best used during or after a reading of Hamlet.

    Grades: 9-12
  • War and Leadership in Shakespeare’s Henry V

    This lesson uses video segments from Shakespeare Uncovered to explore the nature of war and its impact on those who fight it – particularly the title character of William Shakespeare's "history" play Henry V.

    This lesson is best used before, during, or after a unit on Shakespeare’s Henry V, or in a unit on history in literature.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Suits of Woe: Grief and Loss in Hamlet

    In this lesson, students will explore the themes of grief and loss in Hamlet using video from Shakespeare Uncovered. This lesson is best used during a reading of Hamlet.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Does Art Imitate Life?

    Writers are often told to “write what they know." This lesson will ask students to explore this idea using examples of great writers, with a particular focus on William Shakespeare. This lesson can be used during a study of Shakespeare, The Tempest, or in a unit focused on writers and writers' lives. The lesson is best used after students have examined the lives and works of several authors.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Artifacts of Shakespeare’s Time

    This media gallery contains a series of videos from Shakespeare Uncovered that explore artifacts from Shakespeare’s time that many scholars believe Shakespeare himself may have referenced when researching for his plays. As you view the videos and complete the activities in this collection, examine the evidence presented to support this claim.

    Grades: 8-12
  • Gender Roles in Shakespeare

    This media gallery contains a series of videos from Shakespeare Uncovered that highlight commonly held beliefs regarding gender roles and identity in society. As you view the videos and complete the activities, examine the ways in which women and men are presented in the plays and think about what motivates their actions--is it their individualism or their gender?

    Grades: 8-12
  • The Globe Theatre

    This media collection from Shakespeare Uncovered explores the origins, unique characteristics and challenges presented by the 17th century Globe Theatre. Students will take a glimpse into the world of Elizabethan theater by watching actors perform scenes from Shakespeare’s plays on the stage of Shakespeare’s Globe, a modern-day replica of the Globe Theatre located one hundred feet from the original. The videos will show how the Globe Theatre, with its rounded structure and open-air space, was perfectly made for Shakespeare’s style of storytelling and highly spirited Elizabethan audiences.

    Grades: 8-12
  • Hamlet with David Tennant

    David Tennant meets fellow actors who’ve taken on Hamlet and compares notes on how to play a character that's been played, probably, a million different ways in this Shakespeare Uncovered episode.

    Grades: 10-13+
  • Henry IV & V with Jeremy Irons

    He will give the devil his due. In this episode from Shakespeare Uncovered, Jeremy Irons researches Shakespeare’s history plays as well as the differences between the real history and the father-son drama that Shakespeare creates.

    Grades: 10-13+
  • In Shakespeare’s Time

    This series of videos from Shakespeare Uncovered presents the practices and beliefs held by the Elizabethans during Shakespeare’s time. The gallery explores the ideas and attitudes of average people as well as monarchs regarding witchcraft and specifically addresses Elizabeth’s response to attacks upon the throne. Two videos delve into the serious beliefs surrounding suicide and ghosts. This gallery also explores Shakespeare’s sources for historical research, the topic of boys and men playing female roles, the role of theater in London and the idea that Shakespearian Theater was akin to big box office theater of our present day.

    Grades: 8-12
  • Loss in Shakespeare

    Using this media collection, students explore the theme of loss within Shakespeare's plays, particularly focusing on Hamlet, Twelfth Night, and Richard II. Whether it is loss of a loved one, loss of power, or loss of identity, students examine how Shakespeare’s characters cope with loss. Students also question whether or not Shakespeare’s own life (and loss) influenced his writing.

    Grades: 8-12
  • Macbeth with Ethan Hawke

    There's daggers in men's smiles. In this episode from Shakespeare Uncovered, Ethan Hawke takes you along as he researches the part of Shakespeare’s murderous Macbeth.

    Grades: 10-13+
  • Parent-Child Relationships in Shakespeare’s Works

    This series of videos from Shakespeare Uncovered explores parent-child relationships in Henry IV and The Tempest. The videos explore the relationship between King Henry IV and his son Hal, highlighting how the King is at first disappointed with Hal and how their relationship evolves and strengthens. The segments from The Tempest highlight Miranda's "moment of disobedience," Prospero’s efforts to protect her, and how the parent-child dynamic changes when the lead role is played by a woman.

    Grades: 8-12
  • Richard II with Derek Jacobi

    You may my glories and my state depose, but not my griefs; still am I king of those. Derek Jacobi looks at Richard II and returns to a role he played 30 years ago: the story of a king who loses his crown.

    Grades: 10-13+
  • Royal Leadership in Shakespeare

    In this series of videos from Shakespeare Uncovered, students will explore the historical subjects of William Shakespeare’s plays Richard II, Henry IV, and Henry V, the factual liberties he took in writing them, and the historical significance they have had over the centuries. The accompanying essay provides additional background on Shakespeare’s history plays, their immense popularity in Shakespeare’s time, and their continuing influence on how we understand history today.

    Grades: 8-12
  • Shakespeare and History

    In this series of videos from Shakespeare Uncovered, students will explore the historical subjects of Shakespeare’s plays Richard II and Henry V, the factual liberties he took in writing them, and the historical significance they’d have had over the centuries. The accompanying essay provides additional background on Shakespeare’s history plays, their immense popularity in Shakespeare’s time, and their continuing influence on how we understand history today.

    Grades: 8-12

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