William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's preeminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". Although he lived long before movies or television, his name and works were used in some Disney movies and characters.
Shakespeare's works have been adapted several times by Disney: Hamlet was loosely adapted in both versions of The Lion King, while Romeo and Juliet has been adapted as The Lion King II: Simba's Pride and Gnomeo & Juliet. A Midsummer Night's Dream was adapted into Strange Magic, Taming of the Shrew was adapted into Ten Things I Hate About You and various elements of his plays were added into Gargoyles.
Disney films based on his plays
- The Lion King (Hamlet)
- The Lion King II: Simba's Pride (Romeo and Juliet)
- Ten Things I Hate About You (The Taming of the Shrew)
- The Tempest
- Gnomeo & Juliet (Romeo and Juliet)
- Strange Magic (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
- The Lion King (2019) (Hamlet)
- West Side Story (Romeo and Juliet)
Appearances in Disney productions
- In the Donald Duck cartoon, Trick or Treat, Hazel the Witch says one of the famous lines in Shakespeare's Macbeth while making the witch's brew: "Double, bubble, toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble."
- In Oliver & Company, Francis is seen watching the grainy TV and a theatrical production of Macbeth, one of Shakespeare's most famous plays and which Francis apparently knows by heart. The part shown was from Act V, Scene 5 of Macbeth.
- In Beauty and the Beast, during "The Mob Song", Gaston briefly quotes Shakespeare by saying "Screw your courage in the sticking place!" In addition, the Special Edition of the same film, during the song "Human Again", had Beast and Belle reading Romeo and Juliet.
- In Tarzan, a portrait of Shakespeare is on one of the many slides Tarzan views on the projector during "Strangers Like Me".
- In Aladdin, Iago was named after the villain, Iago in his play, Othello, as evidenced by mention in the TV series revealing that he has a twin brother called Othello. In the Aladdin episode; "The Return of Malcho", he was spoofed by Genie. In "Smells Like Trouble", Genie transformed into the three witches from Macbeth while making a witch's brew "Double, Bubble, Toil and Trouble, Fire burn and cauldron bubble". In "Snowman is an Island", Genie was seen turning into William Shakespeare again and Hamlet from Hamlet.
- At the end of Toy Story 3, the toys were performing Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, and Hamm suggested they do Shakespeare's Hamlet.
- In Pocahontas II, Shakespeare made a small cameo appearance, where he is seen singing with the townspeople and after holding a skull, he is seen writing something, probably the plot for his next masterpiece, Hamlet. However, in real life, Shakespeare died two months before Pocahontas came to England for the first time.
- In Soul during the part where Joe Gardner and 22 arrive in the Lost Souls area at the Great Before, 22 throws a ball of dust on a Soul of a theatre actress reciting her line for the Romeo and Juliet play, causing the actress to forget her line and tell the director what her line is for the play.
Animated television shows
- The Pepper Ann episode "Romeo and Juliet" is about the titular character and her friends putting on the play.
- In the House of Mouse episode "Goofy for a Day"'s short, How to Be a Waiter, Goofy and Clarabelle were seen dressed and acting as Romeo and Juliet in the film production based on Shakespeare's play.
- In an American Dragon episode, Jake Long and Rose were about to perform Shakespeare's Marc Anthony and Cleopatra until Rose was replaced by Spud, due to Rose's foot injury from a fight between Jake as the American Dragon and Rose as the Huntsgirl.
- Penny Proud and Kwok Wong were performing Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet in The Proud Family episode, "Romeo Must Wed".
- In The Weekenders, Tish is a fan of Shakespeare and his works; she even has a bust of him. In "Talent Show", the bust tells her not to be envious of Lor and help her out.
- In the DuckTales episode, "Much Ado About Scrooge", Scrooge McDuck and Huey, Dewey, and Louie track down the lost play written by the famous playwright and parody of Shakespeare, William Drakespeare. It contains several references to the works of Shakespeare including Macbeth and A Midsummer's Night Dream.
- In the Quack Pack episode, "Heavy Dental", Donald Duck (under hypnosis) performed Hamlet's title character. In "Snow Place to Hide", the Green-Eyed Monster of Jealousy mentioned Romeo and Juliet/Anthony and Cleopatra when trying to convince Donald that Daisy was having Kent Powers for "another boyfriend".
- In the Mighty Ducks episode, "The First Face-Off", Chameleon was seen transforming into Hamlet while carrying a duck skull.
- Gargoyles featured numerous references to Shakespeare's works, ranging from characters named after Shakespearean characters to storylines adapting elements from various plays.
- Macbeth is a recurring villain in the series, having gained immortality from the Weird Sisters in the form of a pact with Demona that ensures neither of them can die while the other one lives, with the implication that this inspired the play's prophecy. In the present, Macbeth has two henchmen named Banquo and Fleance.
- Oberon, Titania, Puck, and the rest of the fairy court from A Midsummer's Night Dream serve as the basis of the "Children of Oberon", a race of magical folk linked to numerous mythological characters around the world in the series.
- The character Coldstone was a cyborg comprised of three Gargoyles named Othello (the main personality), Desdemona and Iago, after the main characters of the play Othello, with these three souls wrestling over control of the body. In the episode "Legion", a flashback sequence adapts the events of the play with Iago convincing Othello that his mate Desdemona is having an affair with Goliath. The other two souls are eventually given their own robotic bodies, Coldfire and Coldsteel.
- The comic book spinoff "Bad Guys" featured a character based on Henry IV's Falstaff as a member of the Illuminati.
- In the Gravity Falls episode, "Headhunters", one of the wax figures, named "Wax William Shakespeare", is based on him.
- In The Legend of Tarzan episode, "Tarzan and the Silver Screen", Stanley Obrowski quotes Shakespeare's Hamlet: "To be or not to be?"
- The plot of the Mickey Mouse Works short "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is based loosely on the Shakespeare play of the same name.
- In the House of Mouse episode, "Everybody Loves Mickey", a picture of Donald Duck portraying Duckspeare in a play called Duckspeare in Love is shown on the screen.
- In the Hercules episode, "Hercules and the Drama Festival", Icarus playing Hades quotes: "To be evil or not to be evil?"; a reference to the line "To be or not to be?" from Hamlet.
- In The Emperor's New School episode, "The Emperor's New School Musical", a picture of Yzma is seen holding a skull in her hand like Hamlet from Hamlet.
- In Big Hero 6: The Series, two of Shakespeare's plays are referenced in two episodes.
- "Kentucky Kaiju": Obake quotes from Measure for Measure "Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt"
- "Big Problem": Orso Knox/Monster is a fan of Shakespeare, and quotes three lines from The Tempest. Liv Amara's company is also called "Sycorax" who was the mentioned witch and mother of Caliban from the same play.
- "What's past is prologue!" Act 2, scene 1
- "This thing of darkness I acknowledge mine!" Act 5, scene 1
- "All the devil's are here!" Act 1, scene 2
- In Dave the Barbarian episode "King for A Day or Two" Dave is performing his musical Pastry, where he's dressed up like Hamlet and in one scene he is kneeling and holding a Danish, similar to how Hamlet holds Yorrick's skull.
- In the Big City Greens episode "Wild Side", Cricket and Remy disrupt a Shakespeare in the Park performance of Romeo and Juliet.
- In the Amphibia episode "A Caravan Named Desire" during the scene where Renee Frodgers takes Anne and the Plantars to the caravan, one of the background frog actors briefly recites the lines "To be or not to be" from Hamlet.
- In the Bonkers episode "Springtime for the Iguana" Roderick Lizzard recites Romeo and Juliet.
Live-action TV shows
- The two-part season 7 of The Golden Girls "A MidWinter's Night Dream" takes its name from A Midsummer's Night Dream. In the end, Dorothy compares the episode's event to the Shakespeare play and quotes Puck's closing lines.
- The season 2 episode of Jessie "To Be Me or Not To Be Me" takes its name from the famous Hamlet line "To be or not to be", in the episode Jessie performs Macbeth in a Shakespeare in the Park play.
- In The Book of Pooh episode, "Honey Glazed Hamlet", Owl has memories of Shakespeare from his days at Oxford.
- 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.
- The Once Upon a Time episode "Murder Most Foul" is based on Hamlet.
- He is mentioned in the Once Upon A Time episode "Mother's Little Helper"
- IN the Season 2 episode of Unhappily Ever After, the school puts on a production of Romeo and Juliet.
- In The Absent-Minded Professor, Elliot Reid quotes from Hamlet: "That he's mad, 'tis true, / 'tis true 'tis pity, / And pity 'tis, 'tis true".
- In Dead Poets Society, Neill played Puck in a performance of A Midsummer's Night Dream.
- In George of the Jungle, during the scene where George saves a parasailor from trouble on the bridge, he quotes: "To swing or not to swing?"; a reference to the line "To be or not to be?" from Hamlet.
- The "Double, bubble, toil, and trouble" line was also used in Halloweentown by Agatha Cromwell while turning on the microwave making the Witch's Brew. It is also revealed in Halloweentown High that Agatha was one of Shakespeare's actresses.
- Shakespeare was caricatured as one of the schoolroom busts in The Muppet Christmas Carol.
- The film Shakespeare in Love presents a fictionalized version of Shakespeare.
Gargoyles characters inspired by Shakespeare
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