Test Your Knowledge of William Shakespeare's Life and Works



9 Questions

What was the name of the playing company that Shakespeare was a part-owner of?

Which of the following is NOT one of Shakespeare's tragedies?

What is the name of the collection of Shakespeare's plays published in 1623, seven years after his death?

Which of these is NOT one of Shakespeare's mid-1590s romantic plays?

What is the name of the church where Shakespeare was buried?

What is the name of the famous performer who acted in Shakespeare's plays?

What is the name of Shakespeare's longest play?

What is the name of the collection of Shakespeare's sonnets?

What is the name of the theory that doubts Shakespeare's authorship of his works?


Life of William Shakespeare

  • Shakespeare was born in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon, England.

  • He married Anne Hathaway in 1582 and had three children.

  • Shakespeare began his successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part-owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men.

  • His extant works consist of some 39 plays, 154 sonnets, and a few other verses.

  • His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

  • He produced most of his known works between 1589 and 1613.

  • Shakespeare's early plays were primarily comedies and histories and are regarded as some of the best works produced in these genres.

  • He then wrote mainly tragedies until 1608, including Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth.

  • In the last phase of his life, he wrote tragicomedies (also known as romances) and collaborated with other playwrights.

  • Many of Shakespeare's plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy in his lifetime.

  • Shakespeare died in 1616 at the age of 52, leaving behind a legacy of influential works that are still studied and reinterpreted today.

  • He was buried in the chancel of the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon, and his epitaph includes a curse against moving his bones.Shakespeare's Early and Late Works: Plays, Poems, and Performances

  • Shakespeare's earliest plays are difficult to date, but Titus Andronicus, The Comedy of Errors, The Taming of the Shrew, and The Two Gentlemen of Verona may belong to his earliest period.

  • Shakespeare's early plays were influenced by other Elizabethan dramatists, medieval drama, and the plays of Seneca.

  • Shakespeare's mid-1590s plays are more romantic and include A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, and Twelfth Night.

  • Shakespeare's mature period includes prose comedy in the late 1590s histories, including Henry IV, parts 1 and 2, and Henry V.

  • Shakespeare's tragedies often hinge on fatal errors or flaws in the characters, as seen in Romeo and Juliet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth.

  • In his final period, Shakespeare wrote romance or tragicomedy plays, including Cymbeline, The Winter's Tale, and The Tempest.

  • The First Folio of 1623 contains 36 plays, including 18 printed for the first time, and two additional plays are now accepted as part of the canon.

  • Shakespeare's non-dramatic works include two narrative poems, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece, and a collection of 154 sonnets.

  • Shakespeare's language style evolved from a conventional style of the day to a more natural poetry that tuned metaphors and images to the drama.

  • Shakespeare's plays were performed by his own company at The Theatre and the Curtain in Shoreditch, and later at the Globe Theatre and Blackfriars Theatre.

  • Shakespeare's actors included famous performers Richard Burbage, Will Kempe, and Robert Armin.

  • The Sonnets were likely written throughout Shakespeare's career for a private readership, and the published collection may not follow his intended sequence.Shakespeare's Writing Style and Legacy

Writing Style

  • Shakespeare's early blank verse was unrhymed and consisted of ten syllables to a line, spoken with a stress on every second syllable.
  • Shakespeare interrupted and varied the flow of traditional blank verse in his later plays, such as Julius Caesar and Hamlet, to convey the turmoil in characters' minds.
  • In his late romances, Shakespeare used long and short sentences set against one another, reversed subject and object, and omitted words to create an effect of spontaneity.
  • Shakespeare dramatized stories from sources such as Plutarch and Holinshed, reshaping each plot to create several centers of interest and show as many sides of a narrative to the audience as possible.
  • Shakespeare gave his characters clearer and more varied motivations and distinctive patterns of speech as his mastery grew.
  • Shakespeare's work expanded the dramatic potential of characterisation, plot, language, and genre, and influenced later poetry and novelists such as Thomas Hardy, William Faulkner, and Charles Dickens.
  • Scholars have identified 20,000 pieces of music linked to Shakespeare's works, and he has inspired many painters and filmmakers.
  • Shakespeare's use of language helped shape modern English, and expressions such as "with bated breath" and "a foregone conclusion" have found their way into everyday speech.


  • Shakespeare's work has made a significant and lasting impression on later theatre and literature, and he is the world's best-selling playwright.
  • Shakespeare influenced writers such as Voltaire, Goethe, Stendhal, and Victor Hugo, and his work has been praised by critics such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, T. S. Eliot, and Harold Bloom.
  • Doubts about the authorship of Shakespeare's works have been expressed, but the vast majority of scholars consider it a fringe theory.
  • Little is known about Shakespeare's sexuality, and the truth may be impossible to prove.
  • No written contemporary description of Shakespeare's physical appearance survives, and no evidence suggests that he ever commissioned a portrait, so the Droeshout engraving and his Stratford monument provide perhaps the best evidence of his appearance.


How much do you know about the life and works of William Shakespeare? Test your knowledge with our quiz! From his early career in London to his famous plays and poetry, this quiz will cover various aspects of Shakespeare's life and legacy. You'll learn about the influences on his writing style and his impact on the English language and culture. Whether you're a Shakespeare enthusiast or just looking to expand your knowledge, this quiz is sure to challenge and entertain you.

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