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William Shakespeare research paper: how to write a great one?


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Clip art of William Shakespeare for a Shakespeare paper

World of Shakespeare is full of unknown facts and unsolved mysteries. Who was he in reality? Did he write those plays and sonnets known under his name? To answer these questions, a vast number of researchers conduct literary studies. If you have been given an assignment on Shakespeare studies and are looking for an inspiration or some tips on how to write one, we have gathered some useful info just for you.

Shakespeare paper outline

Writing a decent paper is almost impossible without a well-organized plan. So, the following is an approximate outline for a William Shakespeare research paper.

Introduction and thesis statement:

  • This part sets the scene for the whole paper like a road map.
  • The main purposes of introduction are to introduce the chosen topic and give some background information.
  • In the introduction, ideas are presented starting with general and moving to more specific statements that will be further discussed in the body.
  • Try to keep it brief but mention all main ideas, and don’t forget to include a thesis statement that reflects the main idea of your research paper.
  • Be creative and try to write an opening part that will grab the readers’ attention.

Body paragraphs:

  • The body is the longest part of your research paper on William Shakespeare; it can contain as many paragraphs as necessary to link together and develop your arguments or discussion of the topic.
  • Usually, a paragraph should contain a minimum of four to six sentences. The first one introduces the subtopic, 3-4 sentences are devoted to the analysis and factual information, and the last one is a transitional and conclusive sentence that wraps up the subtopic.


  • The purpose of conclusion is to summarize the key points and restate your main arguments.
  • Make sure not to repeat statements and ideas that were presented in the body.
  • This part of your Shakespeare paper should leave the reader with an impression that you have fully covered everything you have presented in the thesis and carefully elaborated on each point.

Suggestions for Shakespeare research topics

Usually, those who get an assignment to write William Shakespeare research papers are lost in a vast majority of available topics. This should come as no surprise because the outstanding playwright is the author of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, and several other poetical compositions.

In case you feel that you cannot choose the topic for your paper, here are some interesting Shakespeare research questions, which can serve as a basis for your paper:

  • What is the phenomenon of William Shakespeare?
  • Why it is commonly hypothesized that William Shakespeare was not the only one to write his plays?
  • What are the common themes of Shakespeare poetry?
  • What are the external and internal conflicts of Hamlet?
  • Why William Shakespeare was an outstanding personality of his time?
  • The image of beloved woman in Shakespeare’s sonnets
  • The essence of Hamlet’s tragedy in the To Be or Not to Be monologue
  • The concept of “All the world’s a stage” in different plays
  • The mysteries behind playwright’s personality
  • The role of supernatural in Macbeth
  • Color symbolism in sonnets
  • The main milestones in Shakespeare’s creative life

Interesting facts for your research paper on William Shakespeare

  • Shakespeare is a great English playwright and a poet of the Renaissance epoch who has exerted a large influence on the development of the dramatic art. Nowadays, his plays are still being performed onstage all over the world.
  • The life of Shakespeare is full of mysteries. For example, it is accepted to call timespan from 1579 to 1588 as “the lost years” because there is no precise information concerning his activities during these days.
  • The first reference about Shakespeare as a writer dates back to 1592 in a pre-mortal pamphlet by Robert Green, Groatsworth of Witte, Bought with a Million of Repentance, where Green pronounced the author as a tough competitor.
  • In 1594, Shakespeare was listed as one of the shareholders of Richard Burbage’s troupe Lord Chamberlain’s Men and in 1599, the former became one of the joint holders of a new theater, The Globe.
  • By 1599, the outstanding playwright turned out to be a man of property; he bought the second-largest house in Stratford and was entitled to possess family crest together with the title of nobility.
  • The penury of biographical details and many inexplicable facts provided an opportunity to advance the idea that Shakespeare’s articles and literary works had been issued from the pen of many other people. Currently, there exists a considerable amount of hypotheses that his plays are written by another person. At the moment, there are 77 candidates for authorship.

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