Resources for teaching Shakespeare's works

English students and teachers who brave Shakespeare's plays will find a rich literary experience filled with moments of piercing emotion, thrilling drama, and keen insight into human nature.

Shakespeare's language, however, rooted as it is in the speech of Elizabethan England, can at times be a challenge for secondary English students. Some argue, in fact, that the Bard's works of comedy and tragedy aren't suitable for middle school at all, and should be reserved solely for high school and beyond.1

Many secondary ELA teachers seem to feel as if the rewards are well worth the effort. We've found that Shakespeare's plays — particularly Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, and Othello — continue to be popular choices for English curriculum in the U.S.

Whether you're tackling these widely taught works or leading your English Language Arts students into a deeper appreciation of Shakespeare's other plays, we at Prestwick House want to do what we can to make the task of introducing the marvels of this renowned playwright an easier and more rewarding experience for you.

To that end, we've gathered together a wealth of resources that are designed for use in the secondary English classroom.

We hope you'll find something here that will help increase the frequency with which you see the joyful spark of literary enjoyment light up the eyes of your English students.

You're all about the Bard.
So are we.


Looking for resources that will help you teach all Shakespeare's texts?

Click the links
in the box below.

Romeo and Juliet


One of Shakespeare's first tragedies, Romeo and Juliet is also one of his most popular works.

The eternal tale of two "star-cross'd lovers" forbidden to marry due to a long-standing feud between their families, the Montagues and Capulets, this play is chock-full of drama and is the basis for many derivative works, including West Side Story.

See the Literary Touchstone Classics edition



Hamlet may be Shakespeare's most cerebral play. In a departure from dramatic conventions of its time, Hamlet's plot is advanced by the thoughts and feelings of its characters rather than events. This is character-driven drama at its finest.

Hamlet is a master rhetorician — making Hamlet an ideal play with which to teach rhetorical devices and techniques.

See the Literary Touchstone Classics edition



Ambition — a driver of great deeds, to be sure . . . but it can also lead to destruction. So it goes with Macbeth, driven to kill his rightful king by a prophecy and pressure from his wife, Lady Macbeth, who is herself one of the most fascinating characters in Shakespeare's works.

Lady Macbeth's attitude toward gender makes Macbeth an excellent candidate for a Feminist critique, and our Multiple Critical Perspectives teaching guide has activities to help your students explore these ideas.

See the Literary Touchstone Classics edition

Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar Literary Touchstone Classics Edition

How far would you go for the love of your country? Brutus's allegiance to Rome is beyond question, but unscrupulous senators conspire to use his loyalty for their own purposes in this historical tragedy.

Julius Caesar deals with themes of patriotism and betrayal, and it contains a particularly stirring speech that begins with the immortal line, "Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears."

See the Literary Touchstone Classics edition


Othello Literary Touchstone Classics Edition

Othello is a play primarily about manipulation. Iago, feeling slighted by being passed over for promotion by his general, Othello, plots to destroy the Moorish general and the man he promoted, Cassio. Weaving a web of deceit, Iago sets Othello, his wife, Desdemona, and Cassio against one another, with tragic results.

Othello​ also deals with racism, as Othello is clearly discriminated against because of his race. Anyone looking to explore archetypes in their classrooms would do well to use Othello, as Iago is the archetypal villain.

See the Literary Touchstone Classics edition

1. Roberts, Mike. "Speaking My Mind: Dear Mr. Shakespeare: Please Stay out of My Middle School English Class!"
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