Shakespeare wrote in a time completely different from that in which students are living. This handout provides students with important background information about the political power structures in the Elizabethan era as well as the power of belief in supernatural forces held by most people at the time. Use this handout to spark discussion and debate in your classroom. This is also an opportunity to explore the superstitious beliefs many of us hold despite knowing they are not based in fact. For example, many athletes and sports teams engage in superstitious rituals in the hopes that the practices will increase their chances at winning a game. Use topics such as these to connect your students’ own experiences with the ones of audience-goers in Shakespeare’s time.