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  • William Shakespeare

william shakespeare homework

Who was William Shakespeare?

William Shakespeare is a famous British playwright , which means he’s someone who wrote plays. Shakespeare is considered to be one of the most talented writers of all time.

Shakespeare lived around the late 16th century and early 17th century, and in between the reigns of Queen Elizabeth I and King James I. Both of them saw some of the plays he wrote, which are still performed today. Some of the phrases that Shakespeare wrote have even become part of our everyday language!

Top 10 facts

  • William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in April 1564.
  • Shakespeare’s wife’s name was Anne Hathaway.
  • Shakespeare had three children: Susanna, Hamnet and Judith.
  • Shakespeare worked as actor with the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, later called the King’s Men.
  • Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets and around 40 plays.
  • One of Shakespeare’s first plays was Henry V .
  • Shakespeare’s plays were performed for both Queen Elizabeth I and King James I – James I was the patron of Shakespeare’s theatre group.
  • Shakespeare’s theatre group performed in the Globe Theatre and the Blackfriars Theatre.
  • Some phrases that Shakespeare wrote in his plays are things we still say today.
  • 1564 William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon
  • 26 April 1564 Shakespeare was baptised
  • November 1582 Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway
  • 1592 This is the earliest time when records show that Shakespeare was in London
  • 1593 Shakespeare’s first poem was published, and his plays started to be performed by different theatre groups in London

william shakespeare homework

  • 1603 James I was crowned king, and Shakespeare’s theatre group was renamed the King’s Men when the King became their patron
  • 1604-1605 The King’s Men performed seven of Shakespeare’s plays for King James I
  • 1609 Shakespeare’s sonnets were published

william shakespeare homework

  • 23 April 1616 William Shakespeare died
  • 1623 The first collection of Shakespeare's work was published, called The First Folio

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Did you know?

  • We don’t know the date that William Shakespeare was born – we just know the date that he was baptised.
  • Shakespeare had three children named Susanna, Hamnet and Judith. Hamnet and Judith were twins.
  • Before Shakespeare wrote plays, he worked as an actor with the Lord Chamberlain’s Men.
  • The Lord Chamberlain’s Men changed its name to the King’s Men in 1603, which is when James I was crowned king and became the group’s patron.
  • Shakespeare wrote both poems and plays – he started out by writing poems first.
  • Most of the poems Shakespeare wrote are called sonnets . He wrote 154 sonnets!
  • Shakespeare is sometimes called ‘The Bard of Avon’ – a bard is another word for a poet.
  • Shakespeare wrote almost 40 plays; someone who writes plays is also called a playwright.
  • Not a lot of people could read and write in Shakespeare’s time, so the Globe Theatre hung different coloured flags to let people know when a play was going to be performed, and what kind of play it was going to be (if it was sad or funny).
  • The Globe Theatre was shaped like an octagon – it had eight sides.
  • Women didn’t act in Shakespeare’s time, so boys would have to play the roles of women. That means that Juliet in Romeo and Juliet would have been played by a boy!

Look through the gallery and see if you can spot all the following:

  • Anne Hathaway's Cottage
  • A statue of Shakespeare
  • Mary Arden was Shakespeare's mother; visitors can still see her childhood home today
  • William Shakespeare’s birthplace
  • William Shakespeare’s grave (Photo Credit: Elliott Brown)
  • A drawing of what Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre would have looked like
  • A replica (copy) of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, which was built in London in 1997
  • The stage in the Globe
  • The Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford

william shakespeare homework

Even though they lived in Stratford-upon-Avon, William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway were married in a village called Temple Grafton. At some point between 1585 and 1592, Shakespeare moved to London . His wife and children were still in Stratford-upon-Avon, and Shakespeare didn’t move back there until 1611.

Shakespeare mostly wrote plays and sonnets, which are a kind of poem. Sonnets have 14 lines with 10 syllables in each line.

Shakespeare’s theatre group, The King’s Men, worked in two theatres, the Globe and the Blackfriars. The Globe Theatre didn’t have a roof on it, but the Blackfriars Theatre did so it could be used when the weather got cold. Seeing a play at the Globe Theatre was comfortable if you could pay for a seat with a cushion, but if you paid just one penny you could stand in the middle.

Actors in Shakespeare’s time had a bad reputation – people thought they weren’t very nice people, and couldn’t be trusted. So, groups of actors – called troupes – tried to get someone rich to sponsor them. This sponsor would give them money and things that they needed. Shakespeare’s theatre group would have had to show people a piece of paper with their sponsor’s name written on it if they wanted to be welcomed somewhere.

Shakespeare was part of The Friday Club , a group for actors, poets, authors and playwrights (like Shakespeare). The explorer Sir Walter Raleigh began the group in 1603, and they all met in the Mermaid Tavern, so they sometimes called themselves the Mermaid Club.

Shakespeare wrote three different kinds of plays – comedies (funny plays), tragedies (sad plays) and histories (plays about a real person). A different colour flag would be flown from the top of the theatre so people would know which play was about to be performed – white meant a comedy would be performed, red a history, and black or dark colours meant a tragedy.

Shakespeare’s comedy plays are: All's Well That Ends Well, As You Like It, The Comedy of Errors, Cymbeline, Love's Labour's Lost, Measure for Measure, The Merchant of Venice, The Merry Wives of Windsor, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, Pericles, Prince of Tyre, Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, Troilus and Cressida, Twelfth Night, Two Gentlemen of Verona and A Winter's Tale.

Shakespeare’s tragedy plays are: Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, King Lear, Macbeth, Othello, Romeo and Juliet, Timon of Athens and Titus Andronicus.

Shakespeare’s history plays are: King Henry IV Part 1, King Henry IV Part 2, King Henry V, King Henry VI Part 1, King Henry VI Part 2, King Henry VI Part 3, King Henry VIII, King John, Richard II and Richard III.

Shakespeare wrote his sonnets and plays around 400 years ago, but some of the phrases he wrote have become a part of our everyday language. For instance, you might have heard someone in trouble say that they’re ‘in a pickle’, or heard being jealous described as ‘the green-eyed monster’.

Famous friends:

Sir Walter Raleigh (c.1552 – 1618) – Sir Walter Raleigh visited America and helped start colonies there, and some people think that he was the first one to bring tobacco and potatoes into England. He also founded the Friday Club in 1603, which was a group for poets and playwrights that Shakespeare belonged to.

Ben Johnson (1572-1637) – Ben Johnson wrote plays and poems around the same time that Shakespeare did. Both he and Shakespeare belonged to the Friday Club that Sir Walter Raleigh began. Ben wrote a poem in the introduction of Shakespeare’s First Folio, which is the collection of works that was published a few years after Shakespeare died.

Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton (1573-1624) – Henry Wriothesley was a wealthy man, and the patron of William Shakespeare. He loved the theatre and plays.

Richard Burbage (1568-1619) – Richard Burbage was a famous actor, and part of William Shakespeare’s theatre group. He often played the lead role in Shakespeare’s plays.

Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) – Christopher Marlowe was born the same year as Shakespeare, and also famous for writing plays. Shakespeare didn’t start writing plays and having them performed until after Christopher Marlowe died.

Related Videos

Just for fun...

  • Find Shakespeare wordsearches, comic strips, puppet-making, worksheets and more on the Shakespeare Week website
  • Watch Horrible Histories Shakespeare songs:  List of Plays 'wot I've Written and  Shakespeare and the Quills Song
  • Go Totally Shakespeare with CBBC! Complete quizzes, watch funny clips and find the best Shakespeare facts
  • Download some Shakespeare-themed colouring-in
  • Try a few of our suggestions to introduce children to Shakespeare's work
  • Watch a free animated adaptation of The Tempest  and A Midsummer Night's Dream on BBC Teach
  • Find out how to 'rap' Shakespeare
  • In Shakespeare Retold , 10 of Shakespeare’s most famous plays are the inspiration for a new stories by leading children’s writers; listen to them online
  • Playing for Shakespeare is an free interactive game for desktop computers from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
  • Take the Shakespeare or Fakespeare quiz
  • Unscramble some Shakespeare word jumbles
  • Which Shakespeare character are you? Take a quiz to find out!

Children's books about Shakespeare

william shakespeare homework

Shakespeare stories rewritten for children

Shakespeare's famous stories have been reworded and illustrated for different ages and offer a great introduction to his classic plays.

We love these five series, or look through our Best Shakespeare stories for children guide :

  • Short, Sharp Shakespeare Stories
  • Shakespeare Children's Stories
  • Shakespeare Stories from Orchard Books
  • Usborne: Shakespeare's plays retold for children

william shakespeare homework

Find out more:

  • Watch a BBC Bitesize KS1 animation about William Shakespeare
  • The Royal Shakespeare Company's Shakespeare Learning Zone offers loads of information on Shakespeare's plays, including key facts, key scenes, pictures from past productions and videos of actors and directors working on and performing the plays
  • Download a visual timeline of the major events in Shakespeare’s life and Elizabethan England
  • Find out why Shakespeare is famous in a CBBC Newsround guide
  • A children's introduction to Shakespeare from DKfindout!
  • Join historian Greg Jenner for a  BBC Sounds kids' homeschool history lesson about William Shakespeare
  • Discover Shakespeare's life and work through numbers
  • Watch clips and play games on CBBC's Shakespeare page
  • Find out about the world that Shakespeare lived in with fact pages about playhouses, writing plays and more
  • 15 top Shakespeare facts from National Geographic Kids
  • Look at primary sources about Shakespeare , including his will and information about his taxes
  • See an animated "life of Shakespeare" video for children
  • Look through some of the Shakespeare portraits in the National Portrait Gallery

See for yourself

  • Visit Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon to find out more about his life
  • At Shakespeare's Schoolroom & Guildhall  you can explore classroom where Shakespeare studied between the ages of 7 and 14, find out about the kind of lessons he went to and even try some Tudor homework!
  • While you’re in Stratford-upon-Avon , see where Shakespeare is buried at the Holy Trinity Church
  • A replica of the Globe Theatre was built in London near the spot where Shakespeare’s theatre stood. You can visit in person or take a virtual tour if you can't get there in person!

william shakespeare homework

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Welcome to the Web's first edition of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare. This site has offered Shakespeare's plays and poetry to the Internet community since 1993.

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Thank you for visiting the Shakespeare Resource Center. You'll find here collected links from all over the World Wide Web to help you discover William Shakespeare. There are millions of pages that reference Shakespeare on the Internet. This site aims to make it a little easier to find the most useful ones.

The e-mail policy of the Shakespeare Resource Center is simple: the SRC will not provide answers to questions about homework, paper topics, interpretations, etc. The purpose of this site is to provide links to aid you in your online Shakespeare research; it's not meant to provide you a personal research assistant. But for the most burning questions, why not Ask the Bard ?

You can also follow the Shakespeare Resource Center on Facebook and Twitter for daily updates of news, pages, and other timely items of interest. And if you're in need of a book, movie, or other Shakespeare-related merchandise, your Amazon.com purchase helps support the site. Enjoy!

william shakespeare homework

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Resources you can trust

Shakespeare homework activity grid

Shakespeare homework activity grid

This creative and supportive resource is ideal for KS3 and KS4 students studying Shakespeare's life or any of his works, either poetry or drama. 

With a diverse range of options available, there really is something to appeal to all students, with activities based around music, presentations, group work and image-based work. 

There are also activities that help to deepen students' understanding of Shakespeare's life, the context of his works and his unique use of language and literary form. 

Useful for homework activities, this flexible resource can also be purposeful in the classroom, for starter or plenary activities, or as the basis of a lesson/series of lessons. 

Browse additional resources in our  Shakespeare collection.

Sample activities from the resource:

  • Design a questionnaire of 10 questions for other readers to answer to see how much they know about the William Shakespeare. Write a separate answer sheet.
  • Make a list of at least five sounds that are important to William Shakespeare. Use quotations from any of his plays to explain why you chose those sounds.              
  • Create a collage to represent Shakespeare. By using PETAL explain how five aspects of your collage link to Shakespeare and his life.    
  • In groups, research an ethical issue from the time period Shakespeare was alive and plan a debate about it ready to present in class.        
  • Fill in a feelings and attitudes web to show in detail how one main character is connected to other characters and events from one of Shakespeare’s plays.
  • Choose a song that you think sums up the main themes in one of Shakespeare’s plays.

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Resources you might like.

Shakespeare's Globe

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Explore our range of engaging teaching resources for all ages and levels

  • Teaching resources
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Whether you’re teaching remotely, working from home with your children, or teaching in school, you’ll find a range of inspiring resources from Shakespeare’s Globe.

Options to support you include:

  • Resources from previous productions
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  • Our iOS app
  • Information on textbooks
  • The Discover section of our website
  • A dedicated mailing list for teachers


Use Teach Shakespeare to find, use and save hundreds of teaching resources designed to make lesson planning easy and innovative.

You can access these dynamic and relevant resources from anywhere, to help build your schemes of work for 11-18 year olds. Search the free database by play, resource type, or teaching level.

You can save favourites, organise them into folders, share these with others and make notes on the go.


CPD Sessions can be arranged online, at the Globe or in your school.

Courses can be devised to meet your particular curriculum requirements and staff development needs. Sessions can be run for individuals, selected members of staff or whole departments.

Sessions can be tailored for teachers and trainee teachers of Key Stages 1 – 5, across a range of subjects.


There are free online resources for the plays that have been performed as part of our annual project for schools.

Over the past ten years we’ve created a wealth of teaching resources for various key curriculum Shakespeare plays. These resources can still be found on the individual production websites that offer a variety of creative ways for students to engage with language, character, themes and performance.


We run an ongoing programme of online events, workshops and courses.

You can attend from anywhere in the world, from the comfort of your home.

New workshops and events for students and teachers are regularly being added – browse what is currently available by visiting What’s On and filtering venue by ‘At Home’ .


Macbeth (2020).

Access hundreds of previous Globe On Screen productions via Bloomsbury’s schools portal.

Wherever you are in the world, bring Shakespeare alive for your students through watching and discussing multiple interpretations of scenes, or watch entire plays to introduce your classes to themes, characters and structure in Shakespeare’s canon.

From Mark Rylance and Stephen Fry in Twelfth Night to Michelle Terry as Hamlet , there’s a play to capture the imagination of every student.

Also explore other ways to stream our productions via our ‘Watch’ page.

Introduce those aged 5 – 11 to Shakespeare with our playful activities.

Primary school students can learn about Shakespeare’s most famous plays, tackle our puzzles and get creative.

This range of online interactive resources allows pupils to watch, read, make and play as they connect with Shakespeare’s plays, themes and characters.


This free app allows anyone in the world to explore a virtual version of the world’s most iconic theatre.

Explore our 3D virtual reality theatre constructed with multiple 360 degree photography and interactive hotspots. Packed with interesting facts, videos and photos; the Globe 360° iOS app is free, and contains an optional in-app purchase for more exclusive content.

Don’t have an Apple device? Try our online Virtual tour instead.

Hodder Education’s textbooks for classroom study are designed for teaching Key Stages 3 – 4.

The series offers active theatre-based approaches to understanding the play and resources that enable students to engage with language and key themes.

They offer: easy-to-use resources with activities directly opposite the text; a clear glossary; active approaches to help students understand characterisation, themes and language; actors’ viewpoints from a range of productions that introduce students to differing interpretations of the play. These textbooks also contain examiner’s notes to prepare students for success in controlled assessment and examinations (covering each awarding body).

Read stories, listen to podcasts and explore our history.

Explore Shakespeare and the Globe with the Discover pages of our website.

Find out about Shakespeare’s world and the story of the Globe, take a peek backstage and listen to our new podcast, browse new blogs every week, and more.


When we release new learning resources you can be notified by email.

Sign up to our mailing list today and don’t forget to tick the ‘Learning activities and teaching resources’ box before clicking the sign up button.

Here are some recent emails our teachers enjoyed, the sort of thing we might send you during this time when we are here to support the ever-changing way you teach Shakespeare…

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Shakespeare Homework Booklet

Shakespeare Homework Booklet

Subject: English

Age range: 14-16

Resource type: Worksheet/Activity

Em2702's Shop

Last updated

29 June 2018

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7th September 2016

William Shakespeare

To be or… not to be. That is the question. But our question today isn’t “to be or not to be.” It’s what not many of us know about Shakespeare, such as his childhood, school, where he went to university etc.

William Shakespeare was born on the 23rd April 1564 in Stratford Upon Avon. His childhood home is still there today- and is now open for everyone to see.


His father, John Shakespeare, was a glove-maker and made all kinds of gloves in his workshop on the ground floor. The window, now facing the shops on the high street, was where he sold all his gloves. It was a trading location at the time, and it still is!

Back in the Tudor era, you had to have a licence for all trading sectors, such as selling food or clothes. John had a licence for glove making.

To find out more about the Tudor era, click here .

His education

Because John Shakespeare was the Earl of Stratford (which is equivalent to the Mayor of Stratford) he got William a place in the local grammar school for free. If Shakespeare had gone to a different school, we may not know him as the famous playwright today…

From the age of 6 or 7, for 6 days of the week, at 6am he went to the local grammar school, which is still there today.

He left at the age of 14. He didn’t go to university because he was going to pay off his father’s debts. His works may not have been the same if he went to university. Who knows?

His inspiration for his plays

We don’t know where he got his inspiration from, but we do know that it would have been from the time he spent helping his father pay off debts.

Here comes the bride!

In 1582, when he was 18 years old, he married 26-year-old Anne Hathaway. She was already three months pregnant with her first child by the time Shakespeare married her.

They both had three children and had them baptised. The children being baptised was the last record of Shakespeare for seven years. By this time, Shakespeare had gone down to London to get a job. He was, at first, an actor. The next time he was recorded was when he had written his first play.

Let’s write some plays!

In 1589-1590, Shakespeare wrote Henry VI Part One on this year. A year later, he wrote Henry VI Part Two and another year later, Henry VI Part 3 . But it wasn’t until 1598 when he was actually credited for writing the plays.

Building the Globe

By 1599, Shakespeare was both famous and very rich thanks to the writing of his plays. By this point, Shakespeare was one of the people who owned Lord Chamberlain’s Men.

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    Use Teach Shakespeare to find, use and save hundreds of teaching resources designed to make lesson planning easy and innovative.. You can access these dynamic and relevant resources from anywhere, to help build your schemes of work for 11-18 year olds. Search the free database by play, resource type, or teaching level.

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