Skip to main content
This program is over. Hope you didn't miss it!

Death by Shakespeare: Final Exits

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Thursday, April 14, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1M2194
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
Select your Tickets
Powered by Zoom

As a savvy and skilled showman who knew what Elizabethan audiences wanted, Shakespeare often put death center stage. Theatregoers at the Globe applauded the final exits of a long line of doomed characters who were stabbed, poisoned, smothered, hanged, cut to pieces (then baked into a pie), swallowed hot coals, and even died of shame.

Historian and Tudor scholar Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger explores the way Shakespeare questioned the nature of the death itself: Was it inevitable (Othello and Much Ado about Nothing)? Permanent (Richard III and Hamlet)? A final way to get attention (Julius Caesar and Midsummer Night’s Dream)? Or even real (Comedy of Errors and Twelfth Night)?

She shows clips of famous death scenes and describes the grisly special effects Shakespeare used to engage his audiences: swords that stopped just short of bloodshed to blood-soaked dummies to bladders filled with sheep’s blood hidden under costumes.

Whether the play was a history, tragedy, or comedy, Shakespeare’s death scenes were masterful—and his audiences always had a bloody good time.

Patron Information

  • If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.
  • Unless otherwise noted, registration for streaming programs typically closes two hours prior to the start time on the date of the program.
  • Once registered, patrons should receive an automatic email confirmation from
  • Separate Zoom link information will be emailed closer to the date of the program. If you do not receive your Zoom link information 24 hours prior to the start of the program, please email Customer Service for assistance.
  • View Common FAQs about our Streaming Programs on Zoom.