Shakespeare: playing with the past

Recently, we marked the 400th anniversary of the publication of the First Folio, a collection of plays by William Shakespeare. To celebrate this landmark in literary history, in today's Long Read, eight historical experts offer their takes on what the Bard's plays reveal about enduring themes including love, death, power and money. HistoryExtra Long Reads brings you the best articles from BBC History Magazine, direct to your ears. Today’s feature originally appeared in the January 2024 issue, and has been voiced in partnership with the RNIB. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

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Take a deep dive into the past as we bring you the very best of BBC History Magazine, Britain’s bestselling history magazine. With a new episode released every Monday, enjoy fascinating and enlightening articles from leading historical experts, covering a broad sweep of the centuries – from the scandals of Georgian society to the horrors of the First World War, revolutions, rebellions, and more.