Skip to main content

Romeo and Juliet Background Research

These websites will help you explore the world of the play Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. This is just a place to get started. You will find a lot more websites online and books in the library about these topics, but make sure you are using reliable sources!



1. The Globe Theater (history, architecture, and more about the most famous theater building in history!)

Encyclopedia Britannica

Clemson Shakespeare Festival Virtual Tour of the Globe Theater

This organization rebuilt a replica of the Globe


2. Theater in the Elizabethan Era (What did people think about the acting profession at that time? Why were all the women's roles played by men? Why did the London theaters get closed all the time? Did the Queen like the theater? etc.)

Encyclopedia Britannica

Encyclopedia Britannica, another article

Actors in Shakespeare's time

The Audience in Shakespeare's time



3. Shakespeare's Life (Biographical information: When and where was he born? How was he educated? Did he have a wife and kids? How did he become famous? etc.)


Early life (PBS):


Shakespeare's hometown (PBS)

Encyclopedia Britannica 

Folger Shakespeare Library (click on the links to the left)


Shakespeare's London (PBS)

Shakespeare's wife, Anne Hathaway (PBS)

Important people in Shakespeare's life (PBS)


4. Shakespeare's Works (What other plays did Shakespeare write? What were they about? How did he choose his subjects? Were his works inspired by anyone else? etc)


Folger Shakespeare Library (click on the links to the left)


Encyclopedia Britannica

Important people in Shakespeare's life (PBS)


Were Shakespeare's historical facts accurate? (Utah Shakespeare Festival)


5. The Authorship Debate: Did Shakespeare Really Write Shakespeare's Plays? (Some people throughout the years have argued that one man, especially one with only an average education, could not have written all of Shakespeare's amazing plays. Could it have been someone else? Whole groups have formed around this debate, like the Oxford Society, which supports the hypothesis that Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, could be the "real" Shakespeare. Other scholars argue that there is a ton of evidence that Shakespeare wrote his own plays, and those who say he didn't are just conspiracy theorists looking for a more exciting story. What do you think?)


Folger Shakespeare Library

PBS Frontline: The Shakespeare Mystery

Oxford Society (pro-earl-of-Oxford side of the debate)


This article gives an overview of the whole debate but is pro-Shakespeare in the end.


6. Tragedy and Comedy: 

Tragedy (Cal Poly)

7. Love and Marriage in the Elizabethan Era



Encyclopedia Britannica (scroll down, there are lots of topics on this page) 



8. Religion and Spiritual Beliefs in the Elizabethan Era


Encyclopedia Britannica (scroll down, there are lots of topics on this page)

Catholic Church (click on "Protestant" too)--from PBS


Utah Shakespeare Company

Superstition and the supernatural in Shakespeare


9. Stagecraft in Shakespearean Theater (especially swordfighting!:)


Stage fencing in Elizabethan drama


More about fencing



10. Elements of Theater

Elements of Theater

Staging and performance, PBS

Glossary of Theater Terms