They welcome to the studio the celebrated 卓有成就的 historian and broadcaster Michael Wood. Michael is author of the biographical book In Search of Shakespeare.
Yang Li and William ask Michael what life was like in Elizabethan 伊丽莎白时期的 England, and how contemporary 当时的 society affected Shakespeare's view of history. They discuss the poetry and pathos （由…引起的）怜悯和同情 of Richard II.
As you listen, try to answer these questions. The answers are at the bottom of this page.
1. What was the population of England in Shakespeare's day?
2. Is the story of Richard II true?
3. In the play, does John of Gaunt believe that his description of England is still true?
In the programme we hear part of John of Gaunt's famous poetic description of England from Richard II. You can hear a longer excerpt 选文 from this speech by downloading the audio clip on the right.
You will also hear this week's featured S Words saying , 'wild goose chase'. This saying is from a comic dialogue in Romeo and Juliet. The extracts are read by Simon Mathis and Benjamin Scheck.
Click on the pdf link to read the excerpts.
Next week we move from histories to comedies, but we find that not everything is rosy 不是所有的事情都美好灿烂 in Shakespearean comedy. Yang Li and William speak to the famous British theatre director Gregory Doran.
Answers to the quiz:
1. About three million.
2. Yes. The central story is true and all the characters were real people.
3. No. Gaunt ends that speech by saying that the brilliant England of the past is 'leased out'; he believes it's finished.