Wood, In Search of Shakespeare, Chapter  Two "A Child of State" (pp. 33-48) and Chapter Three "Educations: School And Beyond" (pp. 49-68)

Study Guide

Chapter  Two "A Child of State" (pp. 33-48)

1. What economic changes had begun to transform English society at the time of Shakespeare's birth? How did these economic changes effect Stratford-upon-Avon?

2. How did Shakespeare nearly die during the first year of his life?

3. What sort of career opportunities lay open to the son of a Stratford alderman?

4. Why was Warwickshire regarded as suspicious territory by  government authorities in London?

5. What secret rites were performed at local churches?

6. What was a 'church papist'?

7. How did John Shakespeare supplement his income as a glover?

8. How did John Shakespeare get into trouble with the law in 1570?

9. What impact did the arrival in 1569 in England of Mary Queen of Scots,  Elizabeth's half sister and Catholic rival for the throne, have on life in Stratford?


Chapter Three "Educations: School And Beyond" (pp. 49-68)

1. What kind of bedtime stories and fairy tales may have been told to Shakespeare by his mother? Why would Protestant authorites found these stories objectionable?

2. What school did Shakespeare probably attend from age seven to age fourteen?

3. What quality of teacher and curriculum would have been available to Shakespeare at this school?

4. How often did classes meet? for how long? for what portion of the year?

5. What was the focus of the lessons and assignments that Shakespeare had to master?

6. How did Shakespeare's teachers eventually run afoul of the law?

7. Describe the types of plays that Shakespeare would have seen in his earliest theatre experiences:

 a) traveling players:

b) classical plays for school study:

c) contemporary plays for school performance:

d) the Coventry Mystery plays:

8. Describe the impact that the allegorical stories in Ovid's Metamorphoses had on Shakespeare's imagination: