How Shakespeare's understanding of women evolved

Scholars believe that Thursday, 23 April marks 451 years since the birth of William Shakespeare. Just in time, actress and Shakespeare expert Tina Packer has published a new book which looks at the way Shakespeare developed his female characters, and how his own views of women changed over time.

"I don't think Shakespeare understood women in the beginning," she says.

The book Women of Will: Following the Feminine in Shakespeare's Plays explores this evolution.

"I think something happened, somewhere around Love's Labour's Lost and the early history plays and going into Romeo and Juliet. Either he fell in love or he just grew up, but something happened to him where he suddenly 'got it' about women and there was a profound shift in his writing."

Jane O'Brien caught up with Tina at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington DC.