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William Shakespeare

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William Shakespeare's bust in The Muppet Christmas Carol.


Miss Piggy and Kermit portray Titania and Bottom from A Midsummer Night's Dream, photographed for a 1982 calendar.


Gonzo recites lines from The Merchant of Venice while hanging by his nose from a feather boa.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was the Elizabethan playwright and poet behind such enduring works as Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, Richard III, Julius Caesar, The Taming of the Shrew, and Hamlet. The latter in particular has often been spoofed or referenced by the Muppets. Shakespeare himself was caricatured as one of the Schoolroom Busts in The Muppet Christmas Carol.


In addition to the named plays above, which have been referenced many times, there have been assorted references to Shakespeare himself, his work as a whole, or one-shot references to other works.

The Muppet Show

  • Episode 213's Veterinarian's Hospital involves a series of puns on the writer and his famous plays. Statler is offended at the lack of respect, claiming to be a student of Shakespeare. Waldorf notes that he was a student with Shakespeare.
  • When Spike Milligan assists Sam the Eagle in episode 317, Sam gets so frustrated that he says he wishes they had gotten Lawrence Olivier instead. Milligan quotes Shakespeare to point out that Olivier, a Brit, only spoke as clearly as he did so that Americans could understand him.

Sesame Street

  • Several Monsterpiece Theater sketches parody Shakespeare plays, including "The Taming of the Shoe" (by William Shoespeare), "The Monsters of Venice" and "Much Ado About Nothing" (by Wilma Shakespeare).


  • Garth Brooks and Miss Piggy try to perform the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet in episode 102 of Muppets Tonight, but Piggy's nephews, Andy and Randy Pig (playing "The Two Men from Bologna"), ruin the number. Statler notes that Shakespeare would've hated the performance. Waldorf says that Statler should know about that, because he dated one of Shakespeare's sisters. Statler responds "Boy, was she ugly."
  • Bear quotes William Shakespeare in the episode "Words, Words, Words", and comments "I hear he was pretty good with words." The lines quoted by Bear are from Shakespeare's Sonnet 18.
  • Shakespeare's The Two Gentlemen of Verona is spoofed in episode 205 of Muppets Tonight with the sketch "The Two Homies of Verona".


  • Kenneth Branagh has acted in numerous Shakespearian productions, and for a time ran his own theatre company, The Renaissance Theatre Company which specialised in putting on Shakespeare plays and toured all over the world. His roles include Peter Quince in 'A Midsumemr Night's Dream and Edgar Son of Gloucester (both for Renaissance). He also worked with the RSC where he appeared in Henry V, and,Loves Labours Lost, other Shakespearian credits include Twelfth Night. He has also acted Shakepeare in film including Henry V and Much Ado About Nothing.
  • Louise Gold has played Kate in a production of The Taming Of The Shrew at The Nuffield Theatre in Southampton in 1993, and, Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream at The Open Air Theatre in Regents Park in 1991. She has also appeared in major roles in two musicals based on Shakespeare plays Kiss Me Kate and The Boys From Syracuse both at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre (in 1991 and 1997 respectively).
  • Ben Kingsley has performed with The Royal Shakespeare Company including playing the title role in Othello. His Shakesperian credits also include: Demetrius in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Claudio in Measure For Measure, Ariel in The Tempest (for which he also composed music), and, Ford in The Merry Wives Of Windsor. He has also appeared in MacBeth.
  • Patrick Stewart has performed countless times with the Royal Shakespeare Company and on Broadway and other contexts.
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