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Flashcards in Shakespeare Plays Deck (67):

All's Well That Ends Well [Characters]

Bertram, Count of Rousillon, a royal ward
Helena, a physician's daughter
King of France


All's Well That Ends Well [Plot]

(Rousillon, France; Florence)
Henela loves Bertram, who leaves to attend the King. Helena goes to Paris to try to cure the King's fistula, which has resisted all cures. If she fails, she will be executed; if she succeeds, she may marry any courtier. She succeeds, but Bertram spurns her unless she can obtain his ring, which she does through a ruse.


Antony and Cleopatra [Characters]

Mark Antony, one of the triumvirs ruling the Roman Empire
Octavius Caesar, Antony's rival
Enobarbus, Antony's lieutenant
Chairman, Cleopatra's servant
Iras, Cleopatra's servant


Antony and Cleopatra [Plot]

The story of Antony and Cleopatra's love affair, and of the final Roman cival war, ending with Octavius' victory at Actium. Antony commits suicide when he falsely hears that Cleopatra is dead; she kills herself with the bite of an asp rather than be made captive by Octavius.


Antony and Cleopatra [Quotes]

"Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety..." (Enobarbus)

"I am dying, Egypt, dying..." (Antony)


As You Like It [Characters]

Orlando, brother and rival of Orlando
Duke Frederick
Rosalind, Frederick's niece
Jaques, a jester


As You Like It [Plot]

(The Forest of Arden)
A complicated tale of sibling rivalry: Oliver vs. Orlando; Duke Frderick vs. his brother. Orlando is in exile, as is the disguised Rosalind. In the end, all rivals are reconciled; Orlando and Rosalind marry.


As You Like It [Quotes]

"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players:...And one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages." (Jaques)


The Comedy of Errors [Characters]

Aegeon, a merchant
Antipholus I and II, twin sons of Aegeon
Dromio I and II, twin servants of Antipholius brothers


The Comedy of Errors [Plot]

Mistaken identities among the two sets of twins, as Aegeon tries to reunite his family long separated by a storm at sea: one set of master and servant from Ephesus, the other from Syracuse. Based on the Latin comedy The Twins, by Plautus.


Coriolanus [Characters]

Caius Marcius Coriolanus, a Roman soldier
Volumnia, mother of Coriolanus
Virgilia, wife of Coriolanus
Tullus Aufidius, leader of the Volsci
Sicinius and Brutus, two tribunes


Coriolanus [Plot]

Brave but modest Marcius, called Coriolanus for his victory over the Volsci and Corioli, cannot bring himself to campaign for votes in the election for consul; Sicinius and Brutus use this to turn the people against him. Coriolanus allies himself with Tullus, his former foe, against Rome. Their march on Rome is turned back by Volumnia's pleas to her son; in the Volscian camp he allows himself to be killed in a conspiracy led by Tullus, who recognizes Coriolanus' nobility after he is dead.


Cymbeline [Characters]

Cymbeline, King of Britain
Imogen, daughter of Cymbeline
Queen, second wife of Cymbeline
Cloten, son of Queen
Posthumus, secretly married to Imogen


Cymbeline [Plot]

(Ancient Britain and Rome)
Cymbeline's wife plots against Imogen, his daughter by his first marriage. Cymbeline banishes Posthumus, who comes to doubt Imogen's faithfulness to him during his exile in Rome and plots to kill her. Imogen disguises herself as a man and is helped by her long-lost brothers, without knowing who they are. The Queen instigates a Roman invasion of Britain, which the brothers and Posthumus defeat; the Queen dies and all are reconciled.


Hamlet [Characters]

Hamlet, prince of Denmark
Queen Gertrude, Hamlet's mother
King Claudius, Hamlet's uncle and step-father
Polonius, counsellor to the King
Laertes, Polonius' son
Ophelia, Polonius' daughter
Horatio, Hamlet's friend
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, courtiers
The Ghost


Hamlet [Plot]

(Elsinore Castle, Denmark)
Hamlet is upset that, upon his father's apparently accidental death, his uncle Claudius usurped the throne and married his mother. His father's ghost appears, revealing that Claudius murdered him and seduced Gertrude; the ghost tells Hamlet to seek revenge. Hamlet feigns madness to mask his purposes. He stages a play, The Murder of Gonzago, re-creating his father's murder and proving Claudius' guilt by his reaction. When Hamlet confronts the Queen, he kills polonius, who had hidden in her room. Hamlet survives assassination when sent with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to England. Laertes joins Claudius in a plot to kill Hamlet during a fencing match, either via a poisioned blade or drink. Ophelia, rejected by Hamlet, goes mad upon the death of her father, and drowns in a stream. At the fencing match Gertrude unknowingly drinks from the poisoned cup and Laertes wounds Hamlet. The blades get switched and Hamlet stabs Laertes fatally with the poisoned one. Gertrude no falls from her poison and dies. Laertes reveals the plot and Hamlet kills Claudius. Hamlet wills his kingdom to Fortinbras, prince of Norway, and dies in Horatio's arms. Hamlet is Shakespeare's longest play; Hamlet is his longest part.


Hamlet [Quotes]

"O! that this too to solid flesh would melt,..." (Hamlet)
"Frailty, thy name is woman!" (Hamlet)
"Neither a borrower nor a lender be;" (Polonius)
"This above all, to thine own self be true,..." (Polonius)
"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." (Marcellus)
"Brevity is the soul of wit." (Polonius)
"The play's the thing wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king." (Hamlet)
"To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take up arms against a sea of troubles,..." (Hamlet)
"To sleep, perchance to dream:" (Hamlet)
"Get thee to a nunnery." (Hamlet)
"The lady doth protest too much, methinks." (Queen Gertrude)
"Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest,..." (Hamlet)
"The rest is silence." (Hamlet)
"Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!" (Horatio)


Henry IV, Parts I and II [Characters]

King Henry IV
Prince Hal, his son
Falstaff, Hal's companion
Owen Glendower, a rebel
Henry Percy (Hotspur)


Henry IV, Parts I and II [Plot]

(Britain, early 15th Century)
Having deposed Richar II, Henry must face various threats to his rule. Hal, however leads a riotous life with the cowardly, blustering Falstaff and various lowlifes at the Boar's Head Tavern in Eastcheap. Finally, Hal rises to his station, killing rebellious Hotspur in battle. When he succeeds to the throne, Hal, now Henry V, dismisses Falstaff and turns to the duties of kingship.


Henry IV, Parts I and II [Quotes]

"Banish plump Jack, and banish all the world." [Falstaff]
"We have heard the chimes at midnight." [Falstaff]
"The better part of valor is discretion." [Falstaff]


Henry V [Characters]

King Henry V
The Dauphin (crown prince) of France
King Charles VI of France
Montjoy, a French herald
Princess Katherine, daughter of Charles


Henry V [Plot]

(England and France, early 15th Century)
Henry has a potential claim to the French throne; the Dauphin insults him for this pretension, provoking a war. Henry invades France, barely winning the siege of Harfleur. A large French army traps Henry and his outnumbered troops at Agincourt, here he wins a crushing victory. Henry successfully woos Princess Katherine. As an aside, Falstaff dies as his friends prepare to leave with the army of France.


Henry V [Quotes]

"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;..." (Henry V)
"A little touch of Harry in the night." (Chorus)
"This day is called the feast of Crispian..." (Henry V)
"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;..." (Henry V)


Henry VI, Parts I, II and III [Characters]

King Henry VI
Joan of Arc
Queen Margaret of Anjou, Henry's wife
The Duke of York
The Duke of Suffolk, his rival
Edward (later IV), York's son
Richard (later III), York's son
Edward, Prince of Wales, son of Henry VI


Henry VI, Parts I, II and III [Plot]

(England and France, 1422-1471)
The story of the War of the Roses between the House of York (White Rose) and the House of Lancaster (Red Rose), and of the Hundred Year's War between England and France. Under weak King Henry, the two branches of the royal house vie for power while France regains its lost territory. Ultimately, the Dukes of York and Suffolk, Prince Edward and Henry Vi are all killed. Edward IV ascends the throne.


Henry VI, Parts I, II and III [Quotes]

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." (Dick the Butcher)


Henry VIII [Characters]

King Henry VIII
Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, chancellor
Queen Katharine
Anne Boleyn
Archbishop Thomas Cranmer


Henry VIII [Plot]

(England 16th Century)
A retelling of Henry VIII's first divorce, from Katherine, in his search for an heir. Henry falls in love with Anne Boleyn; Wolsey will arrange the divorce but cannot support the remarriage. Wolsey falls from office but dies before he can be tried. Cranmer supports the King, including his break with Rome. This was the last play performed at the Globe before the theater burned after an errant shot by a stage cannon.


Henry VIII [Quotes]

"Had I but serv'd my God with half the zeal I serv'd my king, he would not in mine age have left me naked to mine enemies." (Cardinal Wolsey)


Julius Caesar [Characters]

Julius Caesar, ruler of Rome
Mark Antony


Julius Caesar [Plot]

Cassius and others plot to kill Caesar, fearing his dictatorial tendencies. Cassius induces Brutus ("the noblest Roman"), Caesar's friend, to join the plot. They kill Caesar on the Ides of March, but Antony turns the Romans against the assassins with his funeral oration. Anthony allies with Caesar's young nephew, Octavius. They defeat the assassins at Phillippi; Cassius and Brutus commit suicide.


Julius Caesar [Quotes]

"Beware the ides of Marc." (Soothsayer)
"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings." (Cassius)
"Let me have men about me that are fat;... yond' Cassius has a lean and hungry look; he thinks too much: such men are dangerous." (Julius Caesar)
"But for my own part, it was Greek to me." (Casca)
"When beggars die, there are no comets seen; the heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.." (Calpurnia)
"Cowards die many times their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once." (Caesar)
"I am as constant as the northern star" (Caesar)
"Cry 'Havoc!' and let slip the dogs of war." (Mark Antony)
"I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones." (Antony)
"This was the most unkindest cut of all." (Antony)
"There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;" (Brutus)
"This [Brutus] was the noblest Roman of them all." (Antony)


King John [Characters]

King John
Arthur, his nephew
Constance, Arthur's mother


King John [Plot]

(England and France 13th Century)
The story of Joh's seizure of the throne after the death of his brother, Richard the Lionheart, and despite the claims of Arthur. John has Arthur blinded; he later dies trying to escape. John is poisoned by a monk.


King Lear [Characters]

Lear, King of Britain
Goneril, daughter of Lear
Regan, daughter of Lear
Cordelia, daughter of Lear
The Earl of Kent
The Earl of Gloucester
Edgar, Gloucester's rightful heir
Edmund, Gloucester's bastard
Lear's Fool (jester)


King Lear [Plot]

(Ancient Britain)
Lear plans to divide his kingdom among his daughters, asking each to proclaim their love for him. Goneril and Regan flatter him; Cordelia refuses to do more than offer him the proper love and devotion. Outraged, Lear denies Cordelia her portion and exiles her and her defender, the Earl of Kent. Edmund tricks Gloucester into exiling Edgar. Goneril and Regan strip away Lear's remaining rights; he goes mad and is alone except for his Fool. Cordelia invades with a French army and finds the mad Lear, but she is defeated by her sisters and Edmund. The victors fall out among themselves; Goneril kills Regan and commits suicide; Edmunds treachery is unmasked. Lear enters, carrying Cordelia, whom Edmund had hanged. Then he dies as well.


King Lear [Quotes]

"Nothing will come of nothing" (Lear"
"How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child!" (Lear)
"Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks!" (Lear)
"I am a man more sinn'd against than sinning." (Lear)
"Ay, every inch a king." (Lear)


The Life of Timon of Athens [Characters]

Timon, a wealthy man
Alcibiades, an Athenian noble
Apemantus, a philosopher


The Life of Timon of Athens [Plot]

Wealthy Timon, a patron of the arts and banquet-giver, is easily flattered, as Apemantus warns him. A rumor spreads questioning Timon's wealth; his creditors demand payment and his former guests all refuse to help. Timon invites them all to a final feast, where he decries their conduct and withdraws from Athens to live in a cave, hating all mankind. Timon discovers a hoard of gold but remains bitter and refuses to help Athens against the ambitious, unscrupulous Alcibiades. News of Timon's death closes the play.


Love's Labour's Lost [Characters]

Ferdinand, King of Navarre
The Princess of France


Love's Labour's Lost [Plot]

Ferdinand and his courtiers pledge to turn the court into an academy and to forgo women for three years while they study, but they fall in love with the Princess and respective members of her court, and try to keep this secret from one another. The King of France dies and the Princess must go home; the other couples also must each separate for a year.


Macbeth [Characters]

Macbeth, thane of Glamis
Banquo, Macbeth's friend
Lady Macbeth
King Duncan
Malcolm, son of Duncan
Donalbain, son of Duncan
Macduff, Thane of Fife
Three Witches


Macbeth [Plot]

(Scotland mid-11th Century)
Macbeth and Banquo meet three witches who foretell of Macbeth's eventual ascendancy to the throne. This stirs Macbeth's and his wife's ambition. Macbeth murders Duncan when the King stays at Macbeth's castle, Dunsinane. Macbeth seizes the throne; now he becomes suspicious of everyone. First he has Banquo murdered; then Macduff's family. Lady Macbeth, consumed by guilt, sleepwalks at night trying to clean imaginary blood from her hand; she dies. Macduff leads an army against Macbeth and kills him; Malcolm is proclaimed king. In theater legend, Macbeth is considered an unlucky play to perform, and is never referred to by name, but as "the Scottish play."


Macbeth [Quotes]

"When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning or in rain?" (First witch)
"Fair is foul, and foul is fair..." (Three witches)
"If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well if it were done quickly;..." (Macbeth)
"But screw your courage to the sticking-place,..." (Lady Macbeth)
"Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand?" (Macbeth)
"Macbeth does murder sleep, the innocent sleep, sleep that knits up the ravel'd sleave of care,..." (Macbeth)
"Double, Double toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble..." (Three witches)
"Eye of newt, and toe of frog, wool of bat, and tongue of dog." (Second Witch)
"Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill shall come against him." (Third Apparition)
"Out, damned spot! out, I say!" ( Lady Macbeth)
"All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand." (Lady Macbeth)
"Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, creeps in this pretty pace from day to day, to the last syllable of recorded time;... It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." (Macbeth)
"Lay on, Macduff, and damn'd be him that first cries, 'Hold, enough'." (Macbeth)


Measure for Measure [Characters]

Vincentio, Duke of Vienna
Angelo one of Vincentio's deputies
Claudio, lover of Juliet
Juliet, lover of Claudio
Isabella, sister of Claudio


Measure for Measure [Plot]

Vincentio suddenly gives Angelo control of Vienna. Angelo orders strict enforcement of the old law ordering death for lovers living together before marriage. Claudio is the first to be sentenced. When Isabella pleads with Angelo for her brother's life, Angelo finds himself lusting fro her. He hypocritically offers to spare Claudio if Isabella will become his mistress. Vincentio, disguised as a friar, reappears and sets everything right, and weds Isabella.


The Merchant of Venice [Characters]

Antonio, a merchant of Venice
Shylock, a Jewish moneylender
Jessica, Shylock's daughter
Portia, an heiress
Bassanio, suitor of Portia
Lorenzo, friend of Antonio


The Merchant of Venice [Plot]

Antonio borrows money from Shylock; the security is "a pound of flesh." Portia, wooed by many, asks each suitor to choose among caskets of gold, silver and lead for permission to marry her; Bassanio correctly chooses the leaden one. when Antonio's loan is due and Shylock tries to collect, Balthazar, a laywer (Portia in disguise) argues that Shylock is entitled only to the flesh but no blood. Shylock relents and says he will take the money Bassanio offered for his friend. But by threatening a Venetian's life, Shylock must forfeit half his goods to Venice and half to Antonio, and must convert. Jessica marries Lorenzo.


The Merchant of Venice [Quotes]

"It is a wise father that knows his own child." (Launcelot Gobbo)
"If you prick us, do we not bleed?" (Shylock)
"All that glisters is not gold..." (Prince of Morocco)
"The quality of mercy is not strain'd..." (Portia)


The Merry Wives of Windsor [Characters]

Sir John Falstaff
Friends and Wenches


The Merry Wives of Windsor [Plot]

(The Garter Inn early 15th Century)
More of Falstaff's cavorting; largely a play written to revive this popular character.


A midsummer Night's Dream [Characters]

Theseus, Duke of Athens
Hipployta, Queen of the Amazons
Oberon, King of the Fairies
Titania, Oberon's wife
Puck, a fairy


A midsummer Night's Dream [Plot]

(Athens and the nearby woods)
Theseus woos his captive, Hipployta, as their wedding nears. Oberon argues with Titania. Hermia refuses to wed Demetrius, risking execution; she loves Lysander; Helen loves Demetrius. In the woods, their relationships are confused as Puck administers a love potion to the wrong lovers. He also gives some to Titania, who falls in love with Bottom, whom Oberon had given the head of an Ass. In the end, the couples are happily sorted out; the tradesmen perform Pyramus and Thisbe at the royal wedding.


A midsummer Night's Dream [Quotes]

"Lord, what fools these mortals be!" (Puck)


Much Ado About Nothing [Characters]



Much Ado About Nothing [Plot]

The stormy and comic romance of Beatrice, who has long spurned men, and Benedick, her acerbic equal, aided by their various friends and relations.


Othello [Characters]

Othello, a Moor
Desdemona, a Venetian noble and Othello's wife
Iago, Othello's lieutenant
Cassio, Othello's lieutenant
Emilia, Iago's wife and Desdemona's waiting-woman


Othello [Plot]

(Venice and Cyprus)
Othello is a commander in the Venetian military and is sent to defend Cyprus against the Turks. Iago, passed over for promotion in favor of Cassio, plots to ruin his rival and Othello. He tricks Cassio into drunkenness and arouses Othello's jealousy, hinting that Cassio and Desdemona were lovers. As his jealousy consumes him, Othello smothers the innocent Desdemona. Othello then learns the truth and kills himself; Cassio brings Iago to justice.


Othello [Quotes]

"O! Beware, my lord, of jealousy; it is the green-eyed monster..." (Iago)
"Put out the light, and then put out the light..." (Othello)
"Then must you speak, of one that loved not wisely but too well." (Othello)


Pericles, Prince of Tyre [Characters]

Pericles, Prince of Tyre
Thaisa, wife of Pericles
Marina, daughter of Pericles
Gower, poet and narrator


Pericles, Prince of Tyre [Plot]

(Tyre, Pentapolis, Mytilene Ephesus)
Pericles marries Thaisa; she is separated from him and Marina, who is in turn separated from Pericles. She spends time in a brothel, where her virtue preserves her innocence. They are all happily reunited in the end.


Richard II [Characters]

King Richard II
John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and Richard's Uncle
Henry Bolingbroke, Gaunt's son


Richard II [Plot]

(Britain, late 14th century)
Richard exiles Bolingbroke, a rival. For upbraiding him about his misrule, Richard confiscates all of Gaunt's property after his death. While Richard is in Ireland, Bolingbroke returns and leads a rebellion. Richard is taken prisoner and deposed. Bolingbroke becomes Henry IV. Richard is killed at Pontefract Castle.


Richard II [Quotes]

"This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle, ... this other Eden, demi-paradise, ... this happy breed of men, this little world, this precious stone set in the silver sea,... this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,..." (Richard II)
"... let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings;... All murder'd: for within the hollow crown... keeps Death his court." (Richard II)
"O! that I were as great as my grief, or lesser than my name" (Richard II)
"Mount, mount, my soul! thy seat is up on high" (Richard II)


Richard III [Characters]

King Edward IV
Edward and Richard, sons of King Edward
Richard, Duke of Gloucester and the King's brother
George, Duke of Clarence and the King's brother
Duke of Buckingham, Richard's ally
Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond


Richard III [Plot]

(Britain, late 15th Century)
Richard, Duke of Gloucester, plots to remove all those who stand between him and the throne. He has Clarence sent to the Tower, where he is later murdered. Named protector and guardian of the young Edward V upon the King's death, Richard sends him and his brother to the Tower "for their safety." After Richard usurps the throne, with Buckingham's help, he has the two princes killed. Henry Tudor, a descendant of Edward III, lands a rebel army in Britain and defeats and kills Richard at Bosworth Field. Henry is proclaimed Henry VII, ending the War of the Roses.


Richard III [Quotes]

"Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this sun of York." (Richard III)
"I am not in the giving vein today." (Richard III)
"A horse! A horse! my kingdom for a horse!" (Richard III)