CliffsNotes launched their study guide business in 1958 with a line of 16 Shakespeare study guides.
What Do CliffsNotes Offer?
Since launching, CliffsNotes have grown into one of the largest study resources around, and offer a website full of free articles on college, writing and grammar, foreign languages, math, sciences, accounting, government, and history, test prep, and much more.
Their website is split broadly into three areas:
Literature notes – Over 300 free study guides, written by teachers and professors for students as a supplement to their own reading.
Test prep – introductions, advice and paid books to help you prep for all sorts of educational tests, including high school, college, graduate school and professional
Study guides – this area of the site is where all of the non-literature content is kept. It’s all free, and is billed as help for homework, paper writing, or taking tests.
The navigation on the website is somewhat limited, but their search function always seems to come up a winner, with a broad range of relevant content.
Shakespeare On CliffsNotes
Along with a decent, in-depth Shakespeare biography, 25 of Shakespeare’s plays are given the CliffsNotes treatment, as well as a Literature Notes section specifically on the sonnets.
The Literature Notes for Shakespeare’s plays are very thorough, covering the usual information around a play overview, character list, summary and analysis by scene, quiz, quotes, and themes. Unlike most other Shakespeare websites CliffsNotes go into more detail, and also provide a page per major character, a very useful character map, and articles on symbols and motifs and film versions.
About CliffsNotes’ Website
CliffsNotes is perhaps the original study guide, and have made a successful pivot to become one of the larger online education and study guide websites – in their broad literature offering, but also in pretty much any subject area you could be interested in.
Their website currently receives around 4 million visits per month, with website users spending between just over two minutes on average reading close to two pages each visit.
Just over 50% of CliffsNotes website users come from the United States, with other English-speaking countries such as India, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom making up the bulk of the remaining users. One interesting geography to note is that the Philippines is CliffsNotes’ fifth-largest market, accounting for almost 4% of all their website visitors.
CliffsNotes In Their Own Words
CliffsNotes is the original (and most widely imitated) study guide. CliffsNotes study guides are written by real teachers and professors, so no matter what you’re studying, CliffsNotes can ease your homework headaches and help you score high on exams.
Opinions expressed in the CliffsNotes aren’t rigid dogma meant to discourage your intellectual exploration. You should use them as starting points to open yourself to new methods of encountering, understanding, and appreciating literature…
What Do NoSweatShakespeare Offer?
Our mission is to help everyone understand Shakespeare’s language.
Much like No Fear Shakespeare, we offer a broad range of Shakespeare resources. Our free resources cover everything from play and sonnet translations to in-depth looks at characters, play summaries, themes, settings, and significant and famous Shakespeare quotes from all of his works
We also have lots of general information about Shakespeare’s life, family, homes in London and Stratford, theatres, and use of language. Plus we have a Shakespeare blog that covers some of the fun and modern-day takes on the Bard of Avon.
And last, but certainly not least, we offer a range of NoSweatShakespeare ebooks. These stem from a realisation that although so much good work has been done on textual aspects and the broad grasp of plot, few resources are available to give students a complete grasp of the complexity of a whole Shakespeare text in one short reading. (See samples of Shakespeare’s plays as modern English ebooks.)
That’s our review done of what CliffsNotes has to offer the online Shakespeare ecosystem. What are your thoughts – have you used them before and have an opinion?
We’d love to hear from you. Please do join in with the comments section below!