The ultimate Shakespeare quiz: How much do you know about the Bard?

By: Staff Writer
Image: Wiki Commons

About This Quiz

Shakespeare is considered to be one of the best writers in human history, and his plays are still produced year-round, all across the globe. How much do you really know about Shakespeare and some of his most famous stories and characters? We'll test your knowledge about Britain's literary crown jewel.

What is "Macbeth" otherwise known as?

It's considered bad luck to say the name "Macbeth" inside a theater, and that's why it's simply called "the Scottish play."

Viola washes up on what shore in "Twelfth Night"?

Viola washes up on the shores of Illyria after a shipwreck at sea. In Illyria, she rediscovers her lost twin brother.

In "A Midsummer Night's Dream," what does the character Bottom turn into?

Bottom turns into a donkey and makes the appropriate donkey sounds during his transformation. Under a spell, the Queen of the Fairies, Titania, falls in love with the ass.

Who is the ghost that Hamlet encounters?

The ghost of Hamlet's father appears before him, telling the tale of how he was killed by his brother, Hamlet's new father​-in-law.

What was the name of Shakespeare's son?

His son's name was Hamnet, and many wonder if the name was the inspiration for "Hamlet, Prince of Denmark."

What was the name of Shakespeare's last play?

The Two Noble Kinsmen was written from 1613-1614, and therefore it is considered by many to be Shakespeare's last play.

Which of these people has NOT been considered a writer of some or all of Shakespeare's plays?

Ben Jonson is considered the most important British playwright after Shakespeare, but no one has accused him of BEING William Shakespeare.

Which of these were NOT among Ophelia's flowers?

Ophelia, during her famous mad scene, is carrying flowers and herbs, but roses are not among them. Her flowers each have their own significance, telling the story of why she went cray cray.

During Lady Macbeth's mad scene, she is hallucinating what?

Lady Macbeth bemoans the fact that she can't wash the blood clean from her hands, and yet there is no blood there. She is imagining it.

What color are Malvolio's stockings in "Twelfth Night"?

Malvolio is tricked into wearing yellow stockings which are "cross-gartered," a fashion that Olivia detests, but Malvolio is led to believe that she loves it.

What Shakespeare play is "10 Things I Hate About You" based on?

In the film, Heath Ledger is set to tame Julia Stiles' shrew, and it works. This is just one of many modern movies based on Shakespeare's plays.

How many daughters does King Lear have?

Lear has three daughters, two evil -- Goneril and Regan -- and one good -- Cordelia. He wishes to divide his kingdom among the three. The evil girls prevail, but eventually, everyone dies.

Who are the quarreling lovers in "Much Ado About Nothing"?

They pretend like they're not smitten with one another, and they only have bad things to say in each other's company, but when they're deceived into falling for each other, they fall hard.

What is the famous Shakespeare theater in London?

The Globe is modeled after the original Globe that Shakespeare's company performed in, although it burnt to the ground many years ago. Today, there are still outdoor performances of Shakespeare's plays.

Where was Juliet's balcony in "Romeo and Juliet"?

"Romeo and Juliet" is set in Verona, and today you will find an actual balcony in Verona called "Juliet's Balcony." Duh.

How does Brutus' wife in "Julius Caesar" kill herself?

Portia "swallows fire," as it is called. That means that she literally put hot coals down her throat. Seems like a terrible way to die.

What is the technical term for a girl in disguise as a boy in Shakespeare's plays?

The pants role is famous in Shakespeare, and includes lovable characters like Viola, Rosalind and Imogen. This is also known as a breeches role.

Who is the famous villain in Othello?

Iago is the famous villain who tricks Othello into thinking that Desdemona has been unfaithful. This would be a terrible name to give your newborn son.

How many sonnets did Shakespeare write?

Shakespeare penned 154 known sonnets, aside from his prolific plays. These sonnets all have a similar structure, but various themes.

How old was Shakespeare when he died?

Shakespeare died at the young age of 52, but for his time he was practically ancient.

Which is Shakespeare's longest play?

"Hamlet" is Shakespeare's longest play, with 4,042 lines. Performed in its entirety, it can run as long as four hours.

Which is Shakespeare's shortest play?

"The Comedy of Errors" is Shakespeare's shortest play. For those who don't like it, they think that it's not short enough!

Which of the following is NOT a classification of Shakespeare's plays?

Shakespeare's plays are broken up into comedy, history, tragedy and romance. By romance, we're not talking bodice-rippers, unfortunately​.

All of his plays have which of these qualities?

All of Shakespeare's plays are composed of five acts, although many believe that this was done after the fact, for publishing purposes.

What were those in standing-room-only at the Globe theater called?

The groundlings were those who stood in the pit during a performance. They could, in essence, be standing there for as long as four hours, but they didn't mind. They had the best "seats" in the house.

Where was Shakespeare born?

Shakespeare's house still stands at Stratford-upon-Avon, a major tourist destination for all things Shakespeare. The town is 101 miles northwest of London, with Oxford near the halfway point.

What was the name of Shakespeare's wife?

That's right. We think of Anne Hathaway now in terms of the actress from "The Princess Diaries," but she gets her name from Shakespeare's wife.

What is a Shakespeare garden?

A Shakespeare garden has plants and flowers from Shakespeare's plays, and you can find Shakespeare gardens all over the world. Most major botanical​ gardens will have one.

How is Lavinia injured in "Titus Andronicus"?

Lavinia gets her tongue cut out and loses her hands. She struggles to communicate for the rest of the play, for obvious reasons.

What is the name of Jaques' famous speech in "As You Like It"?

This famous speech in the forest tells of the various stages of life that man passes through on his way to death.

In what play does Helen of Troy make a brief appearance?

Helen of Troy appears with Paris in "Troilus and Cressida." Her part is brief, and she mostly just sits around and looks good.

The titular character of "Pericles, Prince of Tyre" is named after whom?

Pericles is named after a famous Greek statesman, but the actual Shakespeare character has nothing to do with the statesman, himself.

In what play is someone chased by a bear onstage?

There is a famous stage direction in "The Winter's Tale," which reads, "Exit, pursued by bear."

Which Shakespeare character says the famous quote, "All the world's a stage"?

Jaques, pronounced "jay-kweez," exclaims that "All the world's a stage," and he goes on to state that the men and women are merely players. Sad and profound.

Which of these does NOT contain a play-within-a-play?

A play-within-a-play is literally when another play is being performed, which the characters are watching. This does not occur in "Macbeth."

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