Explore Shakespeare’s life, discover famous Shakespeare plays, and improve your English language skills with the British Council.

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  • Duration

    6 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours
  • 100% online

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  • Included in an ExpertTrack

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Explore the English language through Shakespeare’s plays

William Shakespeare is the best-known and most-loved playwright in English history. So, what better way to improve your English language skills than through learning about the “Bard of Avon”? This introduction to Shakespeare explores his life in Elizabethan England. You’ll see some of the most famous Shakespeare plays, like Romeo and Juliet, brought to life by actors. Afterwards, you’ll discuss the plays’ key themes with the help of Shakespeare experts. You’ll learn about Shakespearean English, and will practice speaking (modern) English with your coursemates and tutors. This course will help you to understand why Shakespeare is so important in the history of English literature. ##Learn more about Shakespeare’s life and times Elizabethan England was a place of high drama and rapid change. This was also a time in which English theatre thrived and enjoyed great popularity. You’ll learn how Shakespeare’s life fitted into this background, following him from Stratford-upon-Avon to the famous Globe Theatre in London. #Explore key themes of famous Shakespeare plays No introduction to Shakespeare would be complete without looking at some of his work. You’ll explore some of his most famous and beloved works. Through these you’ll learn about Shakespearean English, and will discover the many new words that Shakespeare introduced to the English language. By the end of the course, you will understand why Shakespeare is so important, improving your English language skills along the way.

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What topics will you cover?

  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Hamlet
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • The Tempest
  • Macbeth

Our video tutor will guide you through the course and look at some of the words and expressions that Shakespeare introduced to the English language.

Short quizzes will check your understanding and you’ll be asked to share your ideas and opinions on the topics Shakespeare raises.

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Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explore the life and works of William Shakespeare.
  • Investigate five of Shakespeare’s plays and look at the universal themes Shakespeare addressed in his work.
  • Reflect on words and expressions that Shakespeare introduced to the English language.

Who is the course for?

This British Council course is aimed at non-native English speakers who want to improve their English while learning about Shakespeare. It would best suit those with intermediate English language skills; B1 on the CEFR or equivalent.

What do people say about this course?

"It was a fantastic course to do. I learnt new things that I wanted to know. It also helped me in understanding Shakespeare a lot and also in my studies. "

Who developed the course?

British Council

The British Council builds connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language.

We work on the ground in more than 100 countries. In 2019-20 we connected with 80 million people directly and with 791 million people overall, including online and through our broadcasts and publications.


supported by

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About this ExpertTrack

Improve your English language skills while discovering key aspects of British culture, from Shakespeare to live music, and more.

Start learning today - free 7-day trial

After your free trial you can:

  • Pay $39 per month to keep learning online
  • Have complete control over your subscription; you can cancel any time
  • Work at your own pace and set your own deadlines at every stage
  • Only pay while you’re learning; the subscription will cancel automatically when you finish
  • Complete online assessments to test your knowledge and prove your skills
  • Earn digital course certificates and a final award that you can share online, with potential employers, and your professional network
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  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

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  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
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Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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