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How well do you know Shakespeare’s influences? [quiz]

Many Shakespeare fans prefer to imagine him as an untrained genius, but, in reality, Shakespeare drew inspiration from many classical sources for his own writing. His most famous plays, such asĀ Othello, Antony and Cleopatra, and Hamlet, allude to and reference external sources that Shakespeare was already familiar with. How much do you know about the influence of other writers on, what some would call, the greatest English dramatistĀ to date?

Featured Image: “Statue of William Shakespeare at the centre of Leicester Square Gardens, London” by Elliot Brown. CC BY 2.0 via Flickr

Recent Comments

  1. Richard M. Waugaman, M.D.

    Sadly, Stuart Gillespie’s crucial 2001 book on Shakespeare’s literary sources is currently out of print. It needs to be updated and republished. It is easy to find even more of Shakespeare’s literary sources by putting phrases from his works in the fantastic database, Early English Books Online. As one example among many, that’s how I learned he was likely familiar with the work of Christine de Pizan.

    One problem is that Shakespeare’s learning has been vastly underestimated, due to the myth that he was simply a native genius with little education. He could read many languages, and was well-read in virtually every significant field of his era.

    Let’s stop dumbing down our Shakespeare!

  2. […] week’s quiz tests your knowledge of Shakespeare’s influences. See if you can top the […]

  3. Roger Stritmatter, PhD

    Great little quiz. I must agree, also, with Dr. Waugaman about the unfortunate tendency of Shakespearean orthodoxy to dumb down the bard to make him fit the Stratford footprint peddled by the SBT.

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