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Podcast: William Shakespeare

In this podcast, Associate Professor Brita Strand Rangnes and host Nicholas Carlie will introduce you to one of the most remarkable playwrights the world has ever known: William Shakespeare. Who was he, and what was it that made him so universal that we still listen to him today?

Painting: Portrait of a man in Elizabethan clothes.

Is this William Shakespeare? Scholars are not sure whether any portraits were made of Shakespeare while he was alive, but this may be a portrait of him. It is called The Cobbe Portrait after the man who owned it.

Before you listen:

Discuss the following questions:

  1. What do you know about the work of William Shakespeare?

  2. What do you know about the society and time period in which Shakespeare lived?

  3. What do you know about William Shakespeare’s life?

Shakespeare with theatrical masks.

Podcast: William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare's plays and poems have achieved a unique standing in Western literature and he is today regarded as one of the greatest - if not the greatest - playwright of all times. Who was William Shakespeare? And what made him so unique in the world of literature?



After having listened to the podcast, discuss the following questions

  1. What are you told about his life? Consider the following:

    • his early life
    • his career moves
    • his professional reputation at the time
  2. What kind of texts did Shakespeare primarily write?

  3. He’s described as a ‘crowd pleaser’ and a ‘movie maker of his time’. What does this mean?

  4. What can you say about the society and the time period in which he lived? Consider the following:

    • religious controversies
    • new inventions
    • new discoveries
  5. What role did Shakespeare play in the linguistic expansion that took place at the time?

  6. What role did women play in the theatrical world at the time?

Quotations from Shakespeare:

William Shakespeare created more than his fair share of famous quotes. Some are known for their beauty, some for their everyday truths, and some for their wisdom.

How many of the quotations do you know?


Work together in pairs.

Imagine that you are a journalist and a time traveller. You have been given the chance to go back in time to make an interview with ‘the Bard’.

Together, find out more about Shakespeare and his life. You should also do research into the time period and the society of which Shakespeare was a part.

Work together on a list of questions and answers, and carry out the interview. Remember that the conversation should reflect that you are from two different time periods.

You can make an audio recording, a film, or act out the interview in front of the class.

Sist oppdatert 11.01.2022
Skrevet av BådeOg og Karin Søvik


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