British Literature Research Paper Topics: Shakespeare Plays

An assignment to write about William Shakespeare is a daunting project. Mr. Shakespeare is considered by many to be the finest playwright of all time. His plays have been celebrated, studied, and performed for centuries by a wide ranging number of actors, actresses, and production companies. His personal life has been dissected and analyzed, while his writing style and literary impact has been glorified, and praised. If you must write a research paper on Mr. Shakespeare’s plays, it is very difficult to narrow down your topic choices.

Easiest selection

The simplest topic for your paper about Shakespeare’s plays is to select one of his many works and write a research paper about it. You can discuss the background of the play, the themes generated in the play and its many controversies. There have been numerous papers written about all of the plays, that you are sure to find enough source material to write a research paper about one particular play and its themes.


Another way to choose a topic for your paper is to select a general theme and discuss how Shakespeare emphasized the theme in his plays. For example the basic three themes are:

  • Tragedy. There are many tragic elements n all of his plays, but contrasting the tragic nature of Julius Caesar, Othello, and King Lear , among other examples would make for a great paper.
  • Comedy. Mr. Shakespeare was also known for his comedic touch. By focusing on the comedy in such plays as A Midsummer’s Night Dream , Much Ado about Nothing , and As You like It , you will reveal the deft touch of his words.
  • History. Mr. Shakespeare also devoted many plays to a historical study of the English Monarch, like Richard III, Henry VII , or any other plays about Henry.

In addition to the generality of the three themes mentioned above, you could also choose romance, as Mr. Shakespeare’s plays generally deal with romantic issues.

More specific

If you want to go beyond such generalities, there are so many issues dealt with in the plays. Of course, you can do well v. evil, role of a father or mother, or other normal thematic discussions. Some of his plays also lend themselves to the following discussions:

  • Political power. This is a powerful motivating factor in all of the historical plays written by Shakespeare, as well as Julius Caesar , Hamlet , and Macbeth .
  • Social conventions. The study of how people interact with each other is a common theme for Mr. Shakespeare, such as in The Taming of the Shrew or Romeo and Juliet .
  • Crisis of sexuality. An interesting take on Mr. Shakespeare e may be his approach to sexuality like in Twelfth Night.

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