Apr 8, 2016



How much do you really know about William Shakespeare and his life?

He was a poet and a playwright, and is considered the greatest writer in the English language. He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, in central England, in 1564 and he died in 1616. 

His surviving work consists of 38 plays, 154 sonnets (a special type of poem with 14 lines) and some other poems.

He is best known for his plays, which have been translated into every major language and are performed more than those of any other playwright in the world.

When he was 18, he married Anne Hathaway, and they had 03 children. Shakespeare went to London to work as an actor and a writer. In 1599 the Globe Theatre was built there and it was in this theatre that some of Shakespeare's plays were first performed. In 1613 the theatre was destroyed by a fire. However, a modern reconstruction of the theatre was built near the original site in 1997 so even today you can go there to see one of his plays.

Shakespeare’s work is still very popular today. But why do we like these old plays? Possibly because they all contain fantastic stories. His characters suffer, die, have family fights, problems between brothers and sisters, or between parents and children ... The plays are also full of parties, weddings and funerals.

 Here is a selection of Shakespeare’s plays.


This play is about the idea that people usually get what they deserve in the end, good or bad. Antonio, a businessman, borrows money from Shylock, a money lender. If he doesn’t pay back in time, Shylock will cut off a piece of his body. Antonio loses all his business and must pay this terrible price … but is saved by love.

This play is about revenge and also about how difficult it is to take action sometimes. Hamlet’s father is murdered by another man, who then marries Hamlet’s mother. Everybody wants to see Hamlet dead. Hamlet must take revenge, but will he be able to? The famous quotation ‘To be or not to be, that is the question’ comes from this play.

 This play is a comedy about romantic love. There is a battle between two evil brothers and two good brothers. People hide in a beautiful forest. They fall in love, women disguise themselves as men, and there are many jokes, songs and games.

This is a history play about a famous English king, and a famous battle, Agincourt. We watch the preparations for the battle, the fighting and the results. There are questions in this play: Why do men fight? What are wars? Are they glorious or terrible?



Logo Britanico nuevoI.       Read the questions and circle the correct answer.

1.         When was William Shakespeare born?
            1498                                       1564                                       1895

 2.        Where was Shakespeare born?
Stratford-upon-Avon                        Cambridge                               Oxford
3.         How many plays did Shakespeare write?
 8                                            38                                            108
4.         How many sonnets did Shakespeare write?
154                                          14                                           38
5.         What's the name of the ‘Shakespeare theatre' in London?
            The World Theatre                 The Old Theatre                    The Globe Theatre
6.         ‘To be or not to be, that is the question’ is from which play?
As You Like It                                     Henry V                                Hamlet

cut   pay   went   hide   loses   get   had   fight

II.      Fill the gaps with a verb from the box.

1.         William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway _______________ three children.
2.         Shakespeare _______________ to London to work as an actor and a writer.
3.         This play is about the idea that people usually _______________ what they deserve in the end.
4.         If Antonio doesn’t _______________ back this money in time something terrible will happen.
5.         Shylock will _______________ off a piece of his body.
6.         Antonio _______________ all his business.
7.         People _______________ in a beautiful forest.
 8.        Why do men _______________?  
Adapted from: www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglishteens