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        In Shakespeare’s Time

        This series of videos from Shakespeare Uncovered presents the practices and beliefs held by the Elizabethans during Shakespeare’s time. The gallery explores the ideas and attitudes of both average people and monarchs regarding witchcraft and specifically addresses Queen Elizabeth’s response to attacks on the throne. Two videos delve into the serious beliefs surrounding suicide and ghosts. This gallery also explores Shakespeare’s sources for historical research, the topic of boys and men playing female roles, the role of theater in London, and the idea that Shakespearian Theater was akin to big box office theater today.

        The Role of the Theater in Shakespeare's London

        This segment describes the social context for historical plays like Shakespeare’s Henry IV and Henry V, explaining that in 1590s London, they were not only the blockbuster popular entertainment of their day, but the only forum in which complicated—and perhaps even dangerous—themes about politics, society, and national identity could be publicly explored.

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        Heroines in Disguise | Shakespeare Uncovered

        This video from Shakespeare Uncovered explores the classical tradition of male actors playing female characters who then dressed up as young men. In Shakespeare's time this was a comic device, but it also had some practical and dramatic advantages.

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        Elizabeth Deals with her Enemies

        During Shakespeare’s time, monarchs feared insurrections and often dealt swiftly with opponents. This video chronicles a performance of Richard II that could have been potentially dangerous as the play was seen as a veiled depiction of Elizabeth I. Follow the real-life plot as it unravels on the stage of the Globe Theatre and learn how the Queen dealt with her enemies.

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        Richard II and Holinshed's Chronicles

        This video features Derek Jacobi and Professor Justin Champion from the University of London as they examine Raphael Holinshed’s Chronicles, which Shakespeare used as source material to write Richard II, and how Richard II’s reign is described in both texts.

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        The Big Question: To Be, or Not to Be? | Shakespeare Uncovered

        This video introduces Hamlet's soliloquy from act 3, scene 1 ("To be, or not to be: that is the question ..."), and explores some of the big questions the character poses in it. The video also discusses the fact that suicide was forbidden in Shakespeare's time.

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        The Ghost of Hamlet

        This segment from Shakespeare Uncovered explores the relationship between the spirit and human worlds in Elizabethan England. The video also discusses how an audience watching Hamlet during Shakespeare’s time would have reacted differently to the ghost of Hamlet than audiences today.

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        Witchcraft in Shakespeare's Time | Shakespeare Uncovered

        This video segment introduces the idea that in Shakespeare’s time many people believed in the existence of supernatural elements and witchcraft. The dominant fear of kings and queens in the 16th and 17th centuries was that the Antichrist, through the agency of the Pope, would topple the English monarchy.

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        Funder: Shakespeare Uncovered is made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the generous support of the project’s lead foundation sponsor, the Howard and Abby Milstein Foundation. Major funding is also provided by Rosalind P. Walter, The Polonsky Foundation, Virginia and Dana Randt, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, and PBS.
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