Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

British Council

Exploring English: Shakespeare

British Council via FutureLearn

Overview

Explore the English language through Shakespeare’s plays

This course will look at the life and works of William Shakespeare and take you from his birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon to the Globe Theatre in London, from where he secured his central place in English literature.

We will look at five of Shakespeare’s plays with the help of actors and experts from around the world. They will explain and explore the universal themes Shakespeare addressed in his work.

This course is designed for people who are learning English and interested in the language and legacy of William Shakespeare.

The material is designed for non-native English speakers who have studied English to around intermediate level (approximately B1 on the CEFR).

Syllabus

  • Shakespeare and his world
    • Getting started
    • Shakespeare's Stratford
    • Falling in love with Shakespeare
    • Shakespeare's London
    • Shakespeare's plays: tragedies and comedies
    • Round up
  • Romeo and Juliet
    • Welcome to Week 2
    • The story of Romeo and Juliet
    • Love and other themes in Romeo and Juliet
    • The role of Juliet
    • Shakespeare’s language in Romeo and Juliet
    • Round up
  • Macbeth
    • The story of Macbeth
    • The themes in Macbeth
    • Shakespeare's idioms
    • Shakespeare around the world
    • Round up
  • Much Ado About Nothing
    • Introduction to Week 4
    • The plot of Much Ado About Nothing
    • Hero and Beatrice
    • Shakespeare for everybody
    • Round up
  • Hamlet
    • Introduction to Week 5
    • The story of Hamlet
    • Hamlet in Africa
    • Shakespeare's language: words, phrases and verse
    • Round-up
  • The Tempest
    • Introduction to Week 6
    • The characters and the plot of The Tempest
    • Playing Caliban in The Tempest
    • Enjoying and understanding Shakespeare
    • Shakespeare's words
    • Round up

Taught by

Anthony Cosgrove

Reviews

4.8 rating, based on 503 Class Central reviews

4.7 rating at FutureLearn based on 392 ratings

Start your review of Exploring English: Shakespeare

  • I teach English in an Italian grammar school, where Shakespeare is included in the syllabus. I have always been a little hesitant about talking of Shakespere's works to my students because it's sometimes difficult to get through to teenagers and make them see the beauty of literary texts. I'm sure my students will love the videos and the articles of this course, which easily show how modern Shakespeare is, how close to their ways of thinking and tackling life challenges. Thanks!!
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Great course! Here are some pros and cons: Pros: - Even though English is the only language I speak fluently, the clarity of the course was helpful in getting me to understand what was going on and I'm sure it was clear for English learners. - Captions...
  • Anonymous
    I think the course is a great way to start or refresh the importance of Shakespeare and mixing all the traditional aspects with the modern era makes it a must for everyone who's looking into the life and works of this great writer.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    I have read Shakespeare at school. As I was going through the number of courses, I came across this course which took all of my attention. It is a nostalgia to read and see Shakespeare's various plays once again. I felt like being at school again and...
  • Rathin Bhattacharjee
    I have been enjoying this BBC Course on Shakespearean English thoroughly. There are many reasons but I will mention only a few here. Firstly, I was telling my daughter, a Shakespeare fan and programming trainee by profession last night how I wished...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    As someone who knew really nothing of Shakespeare’s work I am really enjoying the course. Personally I think the story you tell that is a short summary of the story of each piece of work is too short. I have been watching some of the full length productions...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    I must confess that I really enjoy the course. I am a science student, So little I know about literature and Shakespeare. I do only come by Shakespeare phrases being probably quotes by literature scholars. But taking this course has widen my knowledge about Shakespeare legacies and his biography. However, this is the first time reading the story of romeo and Juliet. I often hear people uses the words " romeo and Juliet " while discussing something relating to love and I also often use it as famous love terms, but never had I read story sorrounding it and neither did I knew it was Shakespeare legacy. I have also being expose to new idioms that I will now be using to buttress my sentences or words. I'm very glad to take on the course.
  • Anonymous
    This course has been really nice!! I have learn and improve many things of English language, while learning about a great worldwide playwrighter. It's also remarkable the posibility to interact and share ideas with other participants and English teachers. Thanks a lot!
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    Hy. My name is Paula Fabrícia, I'm from Brazil. I've studied Shakespeare since my high school and this course is a great opportunity to learn more and more about The Bardo. I'm a teacher and we have a cultural project in our school, named Shakespeare Week, our students love it and have fun to play Shakespeare to our comunity, it is a social project and helps many poor people with some donations. Than, this course has a special importance for me, it is pretty organized, good videos, important tips, what has been made me wake up everyday more exciting, we are in quarentine beacuse of the coronavirus, no school, no our old rotine, but it is important to go ahead and have positive thoughts.
  • Anonymous
    It was an amazing course, I learned a lot about Shakespeare's plays, the information that you sharing with us in this course it's so amazing and important to learn, too specially is you are a Shakespeare fan.
  • Anonymous
    It was an amazing course, I learned a lot about Shakespeare's plays, the information that you sharing with us in this course it's so amazing and important to learn, too specially is you are a Shakespeare fan.
  • Anonymous
    Absolutely delightful. I appreciated every resource. Fantastic videos with actors' testimonials and interviews and plenty of valuable material for Art, Literature, Drama or English teachers!
  • Anonymous
    In my opinion, this course is fantastic! We have access to different contents, like videos, quizzes, texts... Everything is very well-prepared, we can see the purpose of the material, and the questions proposed make us want to interact with the other...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    This course has been most insightful and goes to prove that you can always learn something new about the great man and/or his plays. Although I am not new to Shakespeare and his literary genius, this course is well structured, particularly as an introduction...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This course has been most insightful and goes to prove that you can always learn something new about the great man and/or his plays. Although I am not new to Shakespeare and his literary genius, this course is well structured, particularly as an introduction...
  • Anonymous
    This course is amazing! I'm thoroughly enjoying it. I only wish I had done this before I finished writing the exam for the paper on British Drama in my English Literature course. I have learnt so much about Shakespeare, his life and times and his works....
  • Anonymous
    This course is really both informative and entertaining, i feel well educated with every step i make in this course..keep up the good work please,
    Thanks a lot.
  • Anonymous
    The course was interesting and easy to follow, thanks to the educators and to the actors who explained Shakespeare's works with such passion
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This course has helped me understand a bit more about the english culture and language.As Shakespeare is by far the most prolific english playright of all times studying Shakespeare's plays has been a great experience. Knowing deeply plays such as Romeo and Juliet,Macbeth,Hamlet,Much Ado about Nothing and The Tempest has made me realise all the richness of the language he used.I have learned many words and expressions Shakespeare used in his plays like star-crossed lovers,a fate worse than death or constant as the northern star.Also I enjoyed the virtual visit to the Globe Theater in London,it was like being in Shakespeare's time.
  • Susana Luisa Bykov
    Definitely a great course as Shakespeare teaches us to explore our souls and minds in an exhaustive way.

Never Stop Learning.

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.