Whether in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and beyond — or in various unknown, lost, or mythological places — Early Modern actors tread stage boards that could be familiar or unfamiliar ground. Shakespeare made some creative choices in the settings of his plays, often reaching across vast distances, time, and history. The great cities of Troy and Tyre no longer existed, and the Britain of Cymbeline and King Lear was long gone. Most of his London audience had never visited Italy, yet he set plays in Venice, Verona, Mantua, and Messina. With these wide ranging locations, he frequently united characters from different backgrounds, comparing their cultures, languages, and practices. How well do you know the numerous places to which Shakespeare invites his readers? Can you name the home countries of some of his most famous characters?
Do you have any Shakespearean geographical brain teasers to add? Let us know in the comments below.
Featured Image: Nova totius terrarum orbis geographica ac hydrographica tabula (1606). Guiljelmo Blaeuw. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons