100 Shakespeare Essay Topics for You to Reflect On
Writing your essay on Shakespeare may seem difficult to most students, which is true… until you find our list of 100 amazing essay topics that you can reflect on and choose for your future paper! Even if you already have a problem assigned by your teacher, we are sure that our guide will help you to avoid the common mistakes. We have intentionally divided Shakespeare essay topics by subject, so you can instantly head over to the one that interests you!
Take a Look These Great Shakespeare Essay Topics Before You Start:
Before we leave you to look through the vast amount of topics, we have a real treat for you! Our professional English tutors have picked several unique Shakespeare essay examples from our essay database. This way you can look through the actual papers to see the structure and get an idea of how it is done to receive the best grade possible! Since the students always ask us for essay examples, we have listened to your requests, so here you go:
- Shakespeare Hamlet – This paper is an excellent example of a structure that allows you to see what essay elements have to be included and how to do it right.
- Leadership Assignment: What Makes Shakespeare’s King Henry V a Perfect Leader? – For those who like to challenge themselves in an unusual way, this paper explores the soft skills and personality of King Henry V by comparing it with the present times.
- The Symbolism of Nature in Shakespeare’s Richard II – This paper analyzes metaphors, allegories, the mood, setting and the other poetic devices that majority of English literature essays require!
- Othello: Lago’s Character Analysis – Here we have an example of a paper that focuses on a specific element of a play (the character), so if you have a task of such kind, take a closer look!
- Critiques of Sonnets: Sonnet 130 and The Theme of Pain – For the creative minds among us is the paper that compares student’s personal sonnet to Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130!
Now that we have the examples to start with, let us proceed with the list of our Shakespeare essay topics, divided by subject!
Before you start with a selection of a topic that fits you, make sure that you ask your college professor or a teacher about the following:
- Your chosen topic (if allowed to choose) and your thesis statement (if you already have it!).
- Style or a type of your essay (reflective, comparative, debate, analytical, review, etc.).
- Format requirements.
- Word count limit.
- Necessity of a draft and the first deadline.
Trust us, asking about the requirements twice and sorting the possible misunderstandings out will save you the time and nerves! Now, straight to the topics!
A Midsummer Night’s Dream Essay Topics
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a comedy play. It is set on Fairyland. It talks about the marriage of the Duke of Athens, Theseus and the former queen of the Amazons, Hippolyta. The play also narrates of adventures of four Athenian lovers and six amateur actors.
- What types of love are present in the play? How is the love portrayed in the play? Enumerate scenes from the play to justify your answer.
- How is love portrayed in the context of the gender of the characters?
- Do you see any gender issues in the play? If so, cite them. Do you think that the gender issues you cited are still prevalent in today’s society? Why or why not?
- What are the behaviors of men and women in the play? Why do you think they act that way?
- What is the conflict in the play? Why do you think so?
- How did the characters develop in the play?
- Why do you think Puck is considered as the protagonist?
- Compare and contrast the characters’ perspective on love. Choose one human and one fairy character to make your comparison.
- Why is fantasy (Fairies and magic) present in A Midsummer Night’s Dream? What is its significance? Do you think that it symbolizes something? Why or why not?
- What do you think is/are the significance of the settings of the play? How do the norms differ in each of the settings?
- What are the similarities and differences between the movie version and the play?
- What is/are the themes of the play?
- What is/are the darker aspects of the play? Cite and justify your claims.
- Why is the title of the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream?
- Read about the criticisms of the play. It can be a literary or a feminist critique. Do you agree or disagree with the critiques? Justify your answer.
- In what ways is this play considered a comedy? Cite some instances in the story.
Julius Caesar Research Paper Topics
Julius Caesar is a historical and tragedy play. It is based on the events of the Roman civilization.
- How did Caesar rise into power? And what factors have led to his downfall?
- Do you think that ambition led to Caesar’s downfall? Do you think that he is ambitious to a fault? Justify your argument.
- Discuss the political setting/dynamics of the play. How do politics work during Caesar’s time?
- Discuss the setting of the play. You can also highlight the culture and values of the Roman Republic.
- What is/are the role of women in the play and the Roman Republic?
- What role/s do superstitions play in the story?
- What compelled Brutus to murder Caesar, his close friend? Do an analysis.
- How did Brutus and Anthony manage to sway the people’s opinion on Caesar? What were their tactics?
- How are fate and free will manifested in the play?
- Research any political assassination (Ex: Martin Luther King’s assassination). What are the similarities or differences between your chosen political assassination to Caesar’s assassination?
- Write a comparative analysis of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and Homer’s The Odyssey.
- How did Plutarch and Shakespeare portray Julius Caesar?
- Compare and contrast one character from Julius Caesar to another character from Shakespeare’s other work(s) (Ex: Othello)
- In your opinion, do you think that the death of Caesar was justified?
- If you were in Brutus’ shoes, would you kill Caesar? Why or why not? Justify your answer.
- Do you think that Brutus was a dishonorable man, considering that he is a traitor to his country and his friend? Why or why not?
King Lear Essay Topics
King Lear is another of Shakespeare’s tragic plays. Set in ancient Britain, King Lear decides to give up his power and to divide his kingdom amongst his daughters, namely Cordelia, Regan, and Goneril. The largest land will go to the daughter who can profess her love to him the most.
- What are the themes tackled in King Lear?
- What is the significance of old age and death in the play?
- King Lear has a subplot. Discuss the role the subplot plays in the story and give examples.
- In what ways does King Lear fit the template of a tragic hero?
- Between Edmund, Gloucester, and King Lear, who is the most sympathetic character? Take note that these characters have changed as the play progresses.
- What is the role and significance of the Fool in King Lear? Cite examples from the play.
- Write a comparative analysis of King Lear and Oedipus Rex.
- In your opinion, who among the characters is the most interesting? Why?
- How does Shakespeare build tension in King Lear? Cite instances from the play.
- Relate the characters Edmund, Goneril, and Regan with Machiavelli’s principles. Which of the characters are the most Machiavellian? In what ways do Machiavelli’s principles manifest in the characters?
- How is King Lear similar to Kurosawa’s film Ran in terms of characters, plot, and the themes?
- Discuss and analyze the parent-child relationship in King Lear.
Macbeth Essay Topics
It is a tragedy about a Scottish general named Macbeth. The plot revolves since the moment when the three witches prophesied that he would be the King of Scotland someday.
- What instances led to Macbeth’s madness? How did he change as a person?
- What is the significance of the three witches in the play? How are they characterized?
- Enumerate the prophecies of the three witches. How were these prophecies fulfilled?
- What do ambition and power signify in the play?
- Do you think that Macbeth is misogynistic? Why or why not? Give examples.
- What do you think is the difference between kingship and tyranny?
- Blood is present in Macbeth. What do you think it symbolizes?
- What role does the weather play in Macbeth? Write down what it symbolizes.
- Are gender roles/issues present in the play? How are these roles/issues illustrated in the play?
- Compare and contrast Macbeth and Malcolm. What makes these men similar and different?
- Is Lady Macbeth or Macbeth most responsible for King Duncan’s murder? Justify.
- Give two minor characters and write how they contributed to the play.
Othello Essay Topics
Othello is about a general (moor) in the Venetian army and Iago, his ensign. It is one of Shakespeare’s tragic plays.
- What is the role of revenge and jealousy in the play? Give examples.
- Discuss racism in the context of the play. Then, relate it to racism during the Elizabethan period.
- How do other characters portray Othello? How does Othello portray himself? Elaborate on the role of race in the play.
- In your opinion, do you think that Othello is a well-rounded character? Does he fit the template of a tragic hero?
- Do a character analysis of Desdemona.
- Do a feminist critique of Desdemona.
- How did Othello’s flaws lead to his downfall?
- Analyze Iago’s plan. Do you think that it was well-planned or were there luck and opportunity involved?
- Iago is skilled in persuasion. How did Iago manage to convince Roderigo and Brabantio?
- Discuss the role of irony in the play. How is irony used to conceal Iago and Othello’s plans?
- How is loyalty presented in the play? Discuss both its positive and negative aspects of the characters.
- Why do you think that Othello and Desdemona’s relationship was bound to fail? Why was it doomed to fail right from the beginning of the play?
- Do a cultural and historical-critical analysis of Othello.
- Interpret Othello in a Marxist perspective.
Romeo and Juliet Essay Prompts
While almost anyone knows the plot of the play well, it is still really difficult to come up with a good essay prompt! Have no fear as we know our job! For those who have forgotten, Romeo and Juliet is a romantic tragedy play centering on Romeo and Juliet and the Capulet-Montague family feud.
- Do you agree that Friar Lawrence is to be blamed for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet?
- Why do you think that Romeo and Juliet are considered as “star-crossed lovers”?
- Do you think that the themes in the play are also present in today’s time? Why or why not?
- What is the role of fate/destiny in the play? Do you consider fate/destiny as part of the play’s theme?
- Do you consider Juliet as a feminist? Why or why not?
- How are men and women perceived in Romeo and Juliet?
- Choose one or two characters from the play and do character analysis.
- What is the role of Mercutio in the play? Do you think that he is only a supporting character? Justify your answer.
- How did Juliet develop as a character in the play? What sort of changes occurred and why did the said changes happen?
- Compare and contrast the maturity level of Romeo and Juliet. How have they matured throughout the play? Cite instances.
- How did the Montague-Capulet family feud drive the play’s plot?
- Discuss the parenting styles of Romeo and Juliet’s family. What is the impact of their parenting styles on the young couple?
- Relate the philosophy of death with the couple’s suicidal tendencies.
- Do you think that Romeo and Juliet love each other? Or is it just pure lust or infatuation? Justify your answer.
- Do you think that the couple’s suicidal tendencies are part of pure love or being addicted to love?
- Relate the Romeo and Juliet’s suicidal tendencies to young love.
The Merchant of Venice Essay Topics
The Merchant of Venice is a romantic comedy play centered around the story of Bassanio, a young Venetian, who needs 3,000 ducats to impress the heiress Portia of Belmont. It is also about the merchant named Antonio, who is short on cash because he invested it on his ships.
- Compare and contrast Venice and Belmont. What does the difference in setting signify?
- What purpose do the three caskets serve in The Merchant of Venice? How do the caskets work as a plot device? What do the choices of Portia’s suitors signify in the play?
- How are the female characters portrayed in the play? What was the status of women in the Elizabethan era?
- What is/are the influence/s of radical feminism in The Merchant of Venice?
- Discuss racism and discrimination in the play. Cite instances to justify your argument.
- How is Portia’s life different or similar to the other characters in the play? Describe the similarities and differences.
- Discuss the friendship of Antonio and Bassanio. What does their friendship say about their personalities?
- Write about the relationship between Shylock and Jessica. In this context, do you sympathize or despise Shylock? Do you sympathize with Jessica? Why or why not?
- Do you think The Merchant of Venice is a comedy considering that it is mostly known for its dramatic scenes? Why or why not?
- Do you think that Shylock is a well-rounded character? If so, what makes him well-rounded?
- Do you sympathize with Shylock? Why or why not?
- Why do you think Shylock is justifying his revenge for Antonio? Justify your answer.
- Who is the most interesting character in the play? Why do you find him/her interesting?
- Do you see Portia as a radical feminist? Justify your answer.
There you go! Now that you have found your way through Shakespeare essay topic, prompts, and the ideas, it is always good to check up with brief biographical information that is advisable to include in your essay!
Who Is William Shakespeare?
We may know his plays well, but most people know very little about the person behind the plays that we usually read in school!
William Shakespeare’s Early Life
William Shakespeare was baptized on April 26, 1564, in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. However, scholars speculated and acknowledged that he was born on April 23, 1564. He was an actor, a playwright, and a poet.
On November 28, 1583, 18-year-old William married 26-year-old Anne Hathaway (Yes, that’s his wife’s name!) in Worcester, located in Canterbury province. The couple’s first child was Susanna (May 26, 1583). They had twins- Hamnet and Judith two years later. Later on, 11-year-old Hamnet died of unknown causes.
Shakespeare’s Career, Death, and Legacy
Documents have shown that William was a managing partner in an acting company in London called the Lord Chamberlain’s Men by early 1590s. The name was changed to King’s Men when King James I was crowned in 1603.
The company was popular, and William was said to have his works sold and published. Moreover, he was known to work as an actor and playwright in London by 1592.
Out of 37 of his plays, 15 of them were already written and produced. William and his business partners built the Globe, their own theater, in 1599 located on the Thames River.
William Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616, when he was only 52-years-old. Interestingly, he was not recognized until the 19th century, beginning from the early 1800s and until the Victorian age. Of course, William’s Shakespeare’s works are still read and studied, so the legacy lives on!
We are sincerely hoping that you have enjoyed reading our Shakespeare essay topics and have found the information you were looking for. As we all know, nothing beats the classics! Do not forget to look through the actual essays that we have included before the topics list to get a better idea of how to write your essay. Still, if you feel uncertain about something or the deadline is coming up too soon, just fill in the simple form below and let our professional English Geeks help you with your task! It is fully confidential, fast, and gets you just the right kind of help you need!
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