Shakespeare Research Paper Topics and Ideas

It is likely that you will need to write an essay or research paper about William Shakespeare at some point during your studying since the significance of his impact on literature is undoubted. It is also likely that you’re going to face difficulties while reading Shakespeare’s creations because there is a centuries-gap between you; the spoken and literary language was way different back then, which makes it hard to comprehend. However, there are myriads of studies that explore almost every part of his writings and ought to help you complete your assignment. Nevertheless, it might be hard for you to pick the right topic to start with. In fact, you can write about any subject that you are interested in, be it racism, feminism, gender issues, literary or rhetorical devices, genres of literature, templates of stories and narration, symbolism, and many others, since Shakespeare’s creations include all issues mentioned above. While working on any of these topics, keep in mind that a research paper requires a thorough study of the subject and references to credible sources.


1. Shakespeare’s Environmental Imagery

In his works, Shakespeare uses plenty of descriptive details, many of which convey an important message and are essential to the plot. For instance, in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the imagery of the environment, particularly of the Moon, plays a vital role in building the story and dialogs between the characters. Try to find parts where a description of a surrounding is important to understanding a specific scene.

2. Shakespeare as the Subject of Gender Discourse

Shakespeare’s works played a significant role in understanding the mentality of Renaissance society. The author is known for creating outstanding female characters and showing their conflicts with the culture they live in. Describe how important is the contribution of Shakespeare to the gender discourse, taking a particular work or works as examples.

3. Cross-Gender Interference

Gender interference occurs when a character possesses both masculine and feminine qualities in verbal behavior. If you want to pick this topic for your research, then it is essential to consider existing gender language stereotypes. In your paper, you can focus on the character of Titania and the changes in her communicative behavior, which happen during the story.

4. Gender Roles Differentiation

While the previous topic discusses the fusion of gender roles, gender differentiation implies that there is a strict division between the personalities of female and male characters. Your paper can examine the differentiation of gender roles of Demetrius and Helena from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Describe how their images correspond to the stereotypes of the Renaissance period.

Still struggle to write a perfect paper? Leave it to professionals!

5. The Danger of Gender

The setting of “Othello” depicts women not only as man’s possession but also as the holders of their reputation. Woman’s infidelity was considered a shame for a man since it was equivalent to unacceptable disobedience and contrariness. Consider how has this fact led to the well-known ending of the “Othello” story, provide examples from the play.

6. The Theme of Marriage

In “Othello,” Shakespeare depicted that unmarried daughters are no more than a property of their fathers. It is especially vivid on an example of Desdemona and her father Brabantio. During the story, when Desdemona secretly marries Othello, her father feels like he was robbed since his property was stolen. Thus, you can describe the mentality concerning marriage in “Othello,” and how it differs from the perception of your culture. The marriage issues are quite challenging to write about even if they have nothing to do with real life but works of fiction. Seek help with research paper if it’s not something you can cope with yourself.

7. The Theme of Racism

Racism is another controversial topic depicted in “Othello.” Brabantio perceived Desdemona’s and Othello’s union as something unnatural and resulted from witchcraft since from his old-fashioned point of view, interracial relationships are forbidden. In your research paper, you can examine these racial issues that were shown in “Othello,” and correlate them to past or modern realities.

8. The Theme of Feminism in “Othello”

Although there are a few female characters in “Othello,” Shakespeare provides them with unique and sometimes even rebellious personalities. Give due attention to each of the female characters, describe their behavior and provide textual evidence. Try to discover which one of them resembles the image of a modern feminist.

9. Melodrama and Shakespeare

Shakespeare’s creations had a significant impact on the development of the melodrama genre. For instance, the theme of forbidden but strong love between two people from fighting clans, families, or countries, which originally was shown in “Romeo and Juliet,” is recurring in the modern literature. Strive to notice such themes in literature or cinematography and compare it to Shakespeare’s text.

10. Tragedy in Shakespeare’s Plays

Shakespeare’s works are famous for their unexpected and often tragic endings. In your paper, discuss the unique features of the Shakespearian tragedy that distinguishes it from other works of this genre. For this assignment, it is critically important to refer to works of credible researchers and provide textual pieces of evidence, citing them according to the required formatting style.

11. Comedy in Shakespeare’s Plays

Not only do Shakespeare’s texts have bitter stories, but they also do not lack the humorous component. For instance, in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” he jokingly refers to Queen Elizabeth I, also known as The Virgin Queen. Thus, a humorous component of his texts can concern even out-of-the-plot events. Try to examine and discuss such parts, and support your claims with pieces of evidence.

12. Historic Events in Shakespearean Literature

In his creations, Shakespeare quite often refers to real historical events and uses them as a basis for a plot or simply as a character’s feature. For this topic, you should examine some of his famous works and make a thorough research of a chosen subject.

13. External Impact on Shakespeare

Shakespeare’s works were influenced by the time in which the author lived and by events that occurred back then. For this assignment, it is important to attentively study the biography of the English playwright and research some corresponding academic literature. You can choose, for instance, to describe the impact of political events on Shakespeare’s oeuvre.

14. Revolution in Literature

As one of the truly outstanding figures in world literature, Shakespeare made a significant contribution to its development. For this topic, you should examine how his works influenced, changed, or even revolutionized the situation in the literary world. Keep in mind, however, that your claims should be backed up with opinions of credible researchers.

15. Shakespeare’s Style of Writing

Shakespeare was the founder of myriads of literary devices, which writers still use nowadays. For insistence, in contrast to his contemporaries, who used stock characters in their creations, Shakespeare focused on the depth of characters’ personalities, making them look real and controversial. You can build your research paper on describing similar literary devices and finding their equivalents in modern literature.

16. Recurring Themes in Shakespeare’s Sonnets

There are over 150 sonnets created by Shakespeare, and many of them have recurring themes or main ideas. For this topic, you should pick several sonnets that you consider to be similar by poetic meaning, and try to defend your position, supporting it with scholarly sources.

17. Use of Rhetorical Devices

The use of rhetoric devices defines the persuasiveness of a literary work and emotional reaction from it. Among the most used tools in Shakespearian literature are similes, metaphors, and parallelism. In your research paper, you can examine a rhetoric component of his work or works, and explain how efficiently or inefficiently it was implemented.

18. The Symbolism of Shakespearian Literature

It is common to literature when one feature in the text (statement) actually represents something else, and many authors tend to implement abstract ideas in their writings. In your paper, try to track such symbolism in Shakespeare’s work or works. Explain how the understanding of this symbolism adds to the perception of the writing overall.

19. The Theme of Revenge

Talking about Shakespeare, it is also necessary to mention “Hamlet,” one of his most famous and recognized creations. There are numerous researches focused on this writing, and you can just pick one of them and strive to add something new. For instance, you can examine the theme of revenge and hesitations of the main character, depicted in “Hamlet.”

20. Educational Value of Shakespeare’s Oeuvre

Since Shakespearean literature is covered in curriculum of almost every educational institution, you can build your research paper on explaining the reasons of why Shakespeare’s works are either vital for education or overestimated. However, remember that this is not merely a reflection paper, which means that it also needs you to do research and refer opinions of scholars.


To sum up, William Shakespeare was a truly outstanding author since there are hundreds of thousands of studies devoted to his works and many more that are conducted now. With the help of the mentioned-above topics, your research paper can carry on this academic race, and maybe you will be the one to reveal something new about Shakespeare’s oeuvre.

Create amazing papers with our essay writing book