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Use these helpful questions in your classroom or book club to guide your reading.


Aside from simply being complimentary, what does it mean to call a story, a book or a film Shakespearean?

What plot and thematic elements are commonly found in Shakespeare comedies?

What modern-day plays, books and movies are explicitly based on Shakespeare's plays?

What other modern-day plays, books and movies draw upon themes and ideas found in Shakespeare's plays?

In your opinion, does seeing a new version of a classic story diminish the power of the original? Why or why not?

Research some authors and poets that Shakespeare is said to have inspired. Are any of them worthy to lick his boots? Why or why not?

In your opinion, what is the most Shakespearean thing about The Big Lebowski? And don't just pick the prologue-and-epilogue thing, man. She'll know you didn't do the reading.

Two Gentlemen of Lebowski contains a quote from or reference to every play in the Shakespearean canon. How many of those plays frankly aren't all that good?

Explore opportunities to get involved in theatre in your town, school or church. Did you meet anyone who was not a raving psychotic?

Memorize a Shakespearean romantic sonnet. Explain the context and note the author's use of metaphor and imagery. Then try it on that cute girl from yearbook you've been meaning to ask out. Sweat uncontrollably, lose your nerve and ask an irrelevant question about protractors. Stew in silence for the remainder of the period. What the hell is wrong with you?

List your three favorite characters from The Big Lebowski. Which of Shakespeare's plays would be their favorite, and why?

Who among Shakespeare's characters is the most Dude-like? Why?

Which of Shakespeare's plays is the most nihilistic? Does it matter?

Research the Plantagenet, Tudor and Stuart Kings and Queens of England. Which was the biggest reactionary?

Many characters in The Big Lebowski are involved in the arts: painting, dance, video. What is the film saying about art? Compare with the metatheatrical concepts explored in Two Gentlemen of Lebowski or any Shakespeare play. You're not actually bothering with this question, are you?

How does Two Gentlemen of Lebowski reflect the social order of the Elizabethan era? Its morals? Its laws on rodent care?

In Shakespeare's England, was it more advantageous to be Polish Catholic, Jewish, or dead face-down in the mud?

Why did actors in Shakespeare's time have such poor reputations? What, if anything, has changed?

Research a traditional Elizabethan funeral and prayer service. How might Walter have ruined it?

Copy a passage from Two Gentlemen of Lebowski onto looseleaf paper. Mark the scansion, noting stressed and unstressed syllables. Also make note of any instances of trochee, spondee, dactyl or anapest. Has this officially crushed your love of learning forever?

Some people who read Two Gentlemen of Lebowski on the Internet posted "Fail." when they found out that Act 1, Scene 1 was not in iambic pentameter and did not rhyme. Why are those people morons? (Give at least three reasons.)

Scholars and critics alike agree that a thorough grounding in classic literature is an essential component of an education, building valuable skills in the areas of critical thinking, effective communication and metacognitive strategy. How much does the average English major earn?

Did Pride and Prejudice and Zombies do this 'study questions' gag a whole lot better? Why or why not?