The Ultimate Shakespeare Resource

Recently launched website Play Shakespeare.com prides itself on, and actually looks like it will be, the ultimate free Shakespeare resource. Let’s run through it.

All of Shakespeare’s plays are available here, for free of course. The plays are beautifully formatted for the web, organized by hyper-linked scene headings and properly indented – apparently the only place you’ll find the texts properly indented on the web. There’s also two small icons at the top right of each scene. The first opens a new window with only the scene text, and none of the background images, ready for printing at home. The second is an email icon for emailing the a copy of the scene. The window suggests you’ll be emailing it to “a friend” but I think it will be perfect for annoying your favorite local troupe. You can email The Bard’s Bonnie Bog Players all your favorite scenes excised from their last performance.

And don’t worry, you can feel comfortable knowing you’re getting more than you’re paying for when you’re reading here. The texts are based on the authoritative First Folio of 1623 and the Globe Edition of 1866.

And the play isn’t just the thing. There’s a facts section (which I hope to see grow – why not be the ultimate free source for Shakespeare trivia as well), review section, and discussion forum. The forum’s pretty sparse and lopsided right now – the Hamlet section has 382 posts, the Henry’s have 10 in total – but, considering the topic, could itself become an excellent resource on Shakespeare.

I’ll leave you with a quick review from IF magazine:

In his development of the website, Severdia (an actor who has performed Shakespeare in Europe and the United States and holds a Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts Shakespeare Certificate), consulted a team of Shakespearean scholars that includes Julian López-Morillas and Barry Kraft, both noted Shakespearean actors and authors.

“The text can be freely used without copyright or royalty fees for study, research and performance,” Severdia said. “All we ask is that those using the text gathered from the website credit PlayShakespeare.com.”

The website features a user-friendly approach to the text, including an “inline glossary.” Scroll over an arcane or confusing word and a box pops up for easy reference of characters, locations and terminology. Other features on the website include ongoing reviews of Shakespeare productions on stage and screen by a network of noted critics; a links page showcasing the largest and most comprehensive up-to-date list of U.S. and International Shakespeare companies, festivals and organizations, plus a monologue search site and resource site for teachers and students; a discussion forum; and a “Facts” page that includes Shakespeare’s biography and play chronology.

PlayShakespeare.com has already demonstrated that it has worldwide appeal. Since the site went live in April 2006, it has generated nearly one million worldwide visits from countries including India, Malaysia, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Check out Play Shakespeare.com

5 thoughts on “The Ultimate Shakespeare Resource

  1. What an awesome resource. The print-outs look fantastic, which is always the thing I have trouble with accessing Shakespeare on the web. Thanks!

  2. Glad you find it useful, Ted.

    Imani, don’t do anything drastic – leave those bookmarks alone. Just think about all the good times you had clicking on that link in your Firefox toolbar first then sit down and make the hard decisions. 🙂

  3. I absoulety love the book Romeo and Juliet.
    I love everything about it. Where the scenes took place, how Romeo and Juliet met. Everything in this book, was so amazing. To tell you the truth, i didn’t think I was going too be so interested in it. I thought it was going to be so boring. But then after i got into all the fighting and loving scenes, it got pretty interesting. I really didn’t care for the ending at all. How Romeo didn’t get the letter from Friar Lawerence. That just killed it for me. But other than that, it was a great story. The one character in the story I absoultey could not stand, was the nurse. Because too me , she was so two-faced to Juliet, and her parents. One day she would be talking how lovely Romeo is, then the next day she would be telling Juliet, I think you should marry Paris. I don’t know about her, but I really dont like the nurse. But Shakespeare made an excellent story, it blew my mind. I used to wonder why it was such a hit. And since i read the story I understand why everyone loves it. The story gets your emotions going eveywhere. From good to bad, and the love to sadness. It was a neverending love story, too me.

  4. Shakespeare, or any creator with a big reputation, will do that to you Nikki. You think they’re going to be a bore but then you discover the reasons they earned their rep. Me, I’m still working my way through Shakespeare’s works, still surprised, and still entertained. Keep on reading him, Nikki, he has a lot more surprises and mind-blowing awesomeness still left in him.

    And welcome to Upper Fort Stewart.

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