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Shakespeare Resources for Drama Students   Tags: acting, drama, plays, playwrights, shakespeare, shakespeare_glossaries, shakespeare_lexicon  

This guide will lead you to a number of online resources to help you understand the language of Shakespeare.
Last Updated: Jul 2, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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On this page you will find links to Shakespeare resources online and on the web.

Use them to look for information about plays, Shakespeare's language, and contextual information about the plays.



Available via Discovery - login with your UniMelb email username and password


Discovery Search


Doing in-depth research? Also try databases listed in this guide.


Library Catalogue Search

Use the library catalogue to search for relevant books, printed versions of journals and newspapers etc.

Shakespeare Glossaries and Lexicons on the Web

Below are a collection of searchable books, available via the Perseus Collection: Renaissance Materials

  • Shakespeares Words
    The online version of the best-selling glossary and language companion.
  • E A Abbott : A Shakespearean Grammar
    Edwin Abbott Abbott (1838 - 1926) was for twenty-five years the tireless headmaster of The City of London School, where he wrote A Shakespearian Grammar to help students understand the differences between Elizabethan and modern syntax. It is still the most complete work on the subject.
  • Alexander Dyce, A General Glossary to Shakespeare's Works
    Alexander Dyce, an important Nineteenth Century scholar, collector, bibliophile, and editor of classical and Renaissance literature, compiled this comprehensive dictionary of words used in Shakespeare's drama and poetry. Entries include definitions of words, as well as examples of usage from Shakespeare and other Renaissance writers.
  • C T Onions: A Shakespeare Glossary
    C. T. Onions's famous 1911 lexicon of terms used in Shakespeare's plays and poems is still an indispensable resource for readers and scholars who wish to clarify their understanding of unfamiliar words or phrases. An outgrowth of his work on the Oxford English Dictionary, this glossary includes brief definitions and examples of usage from Shakespeare, with particular attention to words that are provincial, archaic, unusually connotative, or otherwise obscure for the modern reader.
  • Alexander Schmidt: Shakespeare Lexicon and Quotation Dictionary
    Alexander Schmidt's Lexicon and Quotation Dictionary is a painstakingly compiled glossary of every word in the Shakespeare corpus and an exhaustive collection of quotations. It has long been a standard reference work.
  • Behind the Name:the Etymology and History of First Names
    Names. Everyone has one, most people have a vague idea what their own means, but few give them much more thought. The study of names is called onomastics, a field which touches on linguistics, history, anthropology, pyschology, sociology, philology and much more.

Essential Resources

Alexander Schmidt: Shakespeare Lexicon and Quotation Dictionary

Alexander Schmidt's Lexicon and Quotation Dictionary is a painstakingly compiled glossary of every word in the Shakespeare corpus and an  exhaustive collection of quotations. It has long been a standard reference work.


Lenton Parr reference copy


Shakespeare's Words

This is an online version of the book Shakespeare's Words, a Glossary and Language Companion. The site integrates the full text of the plays and poems with the entire Glossary database. This enables you to search for any word or phrase in Shakespeare's works and find all instances of words that can pose difficulty to modern readers.

Shakespeare's Sonnets

This site offers the text of Shakespeare's Sonnets, together with a descriptive commentary explaining difficult or unfamiliar words and phrases. Works by contemporaries such as Spenser, Sidney, Drayton, and Sir Thomas Wyatt are also included.

Globe Theatre DVD Productions of Shakespeare's plays:

Theatre in Video (Alexander Street Press)

Contains more than 250 definitive performances of the world's leading plays, together with more than 100 film documentaries, online in streaming video.

Audio Drama: L.A. Theatre Works Collection (Alexander Street Press)

Contains important dramatic works in streaming audio from the curated archive of the nation’s premiere radio theatre company. The plays - which include some of the most significant dramatic literature of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries - are performed by leading actors from around the world and recorded specifically for online listening.

Anatomy 3 (DVD)

Explores the ways in which Australian artists and performers deal with the subject of the human body and sex. Features Paul Capsis (Hair), Ionat Zurr and Oron Catts (Tissue), and Paul Knight (Nerve).


Shakespeare Resources and online databases

(Available via Discovery - login with your UniMelb email username and password)

Oxford Companion to Shakespeare

Oxford Dictionary of Shakespeare

Oxford Companion to English Literature

Oxford Dictionary of the Renaissance

Kings and Queens of Britain

Oxford Dictionary of World Mythology

Oxford Companion to World Mythology

Oxford Reference: Classics (good for Roman and Greek plays and characters)

Literature Online (LION)
With full-text works of poetry, prose and drama in English, together with the definitive online criticism and reference library, Literature Online is the world's largest cross-searchable database of literature and criticism. 

MLA International Bibliography 
Consists of records for material covering literature, language, linguistics, and folklore.  It is one of the most authoritative database on literature & contains more than 1.7 million records for books and articles published on modern languages, literatures, folklore, and linguistics.

World Shakespeare Bibliography Online
Provides annotated entries for all important books, articles, book reviews, dissertations, theatrical productions, reviews of productions, audiovisual materials, electronic media, and other scholarly and popular materials related to Shakespeare and published or produced between 1960 and 2010. It is international in scope, citing of books, productions, films, and audio recordings. 


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