Refer to William Empson's essay on subplots in his Some Versions of Pastoral [available from professor] for some
of the kinds of relationships that typically exist between plot and subplot in
CONTEXT STUDY (a.k.a. The Elizabethan World Picture)
Research one particular area of history or history of ideas that provides background
to the original context in which a particular Shakespeare play was written. This is
essentially a background study.
Summarize your historical findings in Section 1 of the paper.
Explain how your findings affect your interpretation of the action, characters,
and/or themes of the play, giving both general concepts and specifics to
substantiate and illustrate them.
Provide a bibliography indicating the nature and extent of your research.
Shakespeare's World: Background Readings in the English Renaissance (Pinciss and Lockyer) contains essays on a variety of topics [library reserve]