Elizabethan Period
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Elizabethan Period

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About the Theatre, Drama, Poetry, Literature, etc.

About the Theatre, Drama, Poetry, Literature, etc.

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    Elizabethan Period Elizabethan Period Presentation Transcript

    • ELIZABETHAN PERIODELIZABETHAN PERIOD 1558-16031558-1603
    • Historical ContextHistorical Context  The second half of the 15The second half of the 15thth century and the 16century and the 16thth centurycentury were a turbulent age in English history.were a turbulent age in English history.  In the 15In the 15thth century The Wars of the Roses, the rivalrycentury The Wars of the Roses, the rivalry between two aristocratic houses, of York and ofbetween two aristocratic houses, of York and of Lancaster, ended with the victory of the Lancaster family,Lancaster, ended with the victory of the Lancaster family, when their distant cousin, Henry Tudor, claimed thewhen their distant cousin, Henry Tudor, claimed the throne.throne.  He was crowned asHe was crowned as Henry VIIHenry VII, starting the Tudor, starting the Tudor dynasty. Throughout the Tudor reign, England constantlydynasty. Throughout the Tudor reign, England constantly fought with its continental neighbors.fought with its continental neighbors.  The old aristocracy lost most of its wealth and power inThe old aristocracy lost most of its wealth and power in the Wars of the Roses, so Henry VIII in the 16the Wars of the Roses, so Henry VIII in the 16thth cent,cent, began giving titles to people from the middle class,began giving titles to people from the middle class, making the new aristocracy, faithful to the king above allmaking the new aristocracy, faithful to the king above all else.else.
    •  The middle class was growing richer and more powerful.The middle class was growing richer and more powerful. The communications revolution, started with the printingThe communications revolution, started with the printing press, resulted in the fact that in 1600 nearly half of thepress, resulted in the fact that in 1600 nearly half of the population had some kind of minimal literacy.population had some kind of minimal literacy.  The spirit of the Renaissance began to show in England.The spirit of the Renaissance began to show in England. The rising middle class had access to education, couldThe rising middle class had access to education, could read and write in their mother tongue, instead of Latin,read and write in their mother tongue, instead of Latin, and was becoming aware of endless possibilities forand was becoming aware of endless possibilities for wealth and success that lay in trade and the New World.wealth and success that lay in trade and the New World.  In the 1530s, Henry VIII broke with Rome. So in the 16In the 1530s, Henry VIII broke with Rome. So in the 16thth century, there happened 3 influential historicalcentury, there happened 3 influential historical developments: the Renaissance, the Reformation, anddevelopments: the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the emergence of England as a maritime power.the emergence of England as a maritime power.  The English Literary Renaissance – from the ascent ofThe English Literary Renaissance – from the ascent of the House of Tudor to the English throne to 1660.the House of Tudor to the English throne to 1660.
    • Elizabethan AgeElizabethan Age  The reign of Elizabeth I was also aThe reign of Elizabeth I was also a turbulent period, butturbulent period, but she successfully coped with all the difficulties. Englandshe successfully coped with all the difficulties. England was threatened by the superpowers of the age – Francewas threatened by the superpowers of the age – France and Spain. Elizabeth was excommunicated by the Popeand Spain. Elizabeth was excommunicated by the Pope in 1570. She was in constant fear for her life.in 1570. She was in constant fear for her life. Nevertheless, English ships beat the Spanish Armada inNevertheless, English ships beat the Spanish Armada in 1588. Elizabeth managed to maintain a relative peace1588. Elizabeth managed to maintain a relative peace between the protestants and the Catholics. She tried tobetween the protestants and the Catholics. She tried to unite her people, by insisting that they are all English.unite her people, by insisting that they are all English. This worked well most of the time, and the peopleThis worked well most of the time, and the people developed a sense of national pride.developed a sense of national pride.
    • Elizabethan LiteratureElizabethan Literature  The English Literary Renaissance consists ofThe English Literary Renaissance consists of four subsets: The Elizabethan Age, thefour subsets: The Elizabethan Age, the Jacobean Age, the Caroline Age and theJacobean Age, the Caroline Age and the Commonwealth Period.Commonwealth Period.  TheThe Elizabethan eraElizabethan era saw a great flourishing ofsaw a great flourishing of literature, especially in the field ofliterature, especially in the field of dramadrama. The. The other major literary style wasother major literary style was lyric poetrylyric poetry. Many. Many of the most important dramatists of the periodof the most important dramatists of the period were also excellent poets.were also excellent poets.
    • Elizabethan PoetryElizabethan Poetry  Before and during the Elizabethan Age,Before and during the Elizabethan Age, medieval tradition blended withmedieval tradition blended with Renaissance spirit of optimism andRenaissance spirit of optimism and freedom.freedom.  The two poets who introduced noveltiesThe two poets who introduced novelties into lyric poetry before the Elizabethaninto lyric poetry before the Elizabethan Age wereAge were Sir Thomas WyattSir Thomas Wyatt andand HenryHenry Howard, Earl of SurreyHoward, Earl of Surrey..
    •  SONNETSONNET – the dominant form of poetry of– the dominant form of poetry of the Elizabethan Agethe Elizabethan Age – Origins: Italy 13Origins: Italy 13thth c. – Petrarch (14c. – Petrarch (14thth c.),c.), CanzoniereCanzoniere (Laura),(Laura), established the sonnet asestablished the sonnet as one of the major poetic forms: love poem;one of the major poetic forms: love poem; devotion to the Lady who is usually unattainable;devotion to the Lady who is usually unattainable; 14 lines14 lines – Brought to England in the early 16Brought to England in the early 16thth century by Sircentury by Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard Earl of Surrey;Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard Earl of Surrey; they adapted the form to the English languagethey adapted the form to the English language
    •  At the time, the writing of poetry was part of theAt the time, the writing of poetry was part of the education of a gentleman. Sonnets were very populareducation of a gentleman. Sonnets were very popular among the upper classes, and collections of sonnets andamong the upper classes, and collections of sonnets and lyrics were often published. Aristocrats who did not writelyrics were often published. Aristocrats who did not write poetry themselves were usually patrons to other poets,poetry themselves were usually patrons to other poets, giving them financial support.giving them financial support.  W. Shakespeare was one of these poets, since hisW. Shakespeare was one of these poets, since his collection of sonnets (1609) is dedicated to his patron, acollection of sonnets (1609) is dedicated to his patron, a young man of good family. Scholars are not certain whenyoung man of good family. Scholars are not certain when each of the 154 sonnets was composed, but evidenceeach of the 154 sonnets was composed, but evidence suggests that Shakespeare wrote sonnets throughout hissuggests that Shakespeare wrote sonnets throughout his career for a private readership.career for a private readership.
    •  One of the best lyrical poets of the Elizabethan Age wasOne of the best lyrical poets of the Elizabethan Age was Edmund SpenserEdmund Spenser. In 1579 he produced a poem in 12. In 1579 he produced a poem in 12 books, calledbooks, called The Shepherd’sThe Shepherd’s Calendar.Calendar.  It is significant for experimenting in meter and form, andIt is significant for experimenting in meter and form, and the subject matter is diverse, but mainly pastoral.the subject matter is diverse, but mainly pastoral.  Spenser’s greatest work is another long poem,Spenser’s greatest work is another long poem, TheThe Fairie Queene.Fairie Queene. Spenser invented a special meter for it,Spenser invented a special meter for it, called the ‘Spenserian Stanza’, which has often beencalled the ‘Spenserian Stanza’, which has often been used since.used since.  His best works also include poemsHis best works also include poems Epithalamion,Epithalamion, ProthalamionProthalamion, and a collection of sonnets,, and a collection of sonnets, Amoretti.Amoretti.
    •  Other famous poets of the age includeOther famous poets of the age include Sir Phillip Sidney,Sir Phillip Sidney, Sir Walter Raleigh and Christopher Marlowe.Sir Walter Raleigh and Christopher Marlowe.  Elizabethan prose took several different forms, which inElizabethan prose took several different forms, which in the time to come will develop into literary genres.the time to come will develop into literary genres.  Sir Thomas North-Sir Thomas North- the translation of Plutarch’sthe translation of Plutarch’s Lives ofLives of the Noble Grecians and Romans.the Noble Grecians and Romans.  Hakluyt and PurchasHakluyt and Purchas – accounts of the voyages of– accounts of the voyages of English seamen and explorersEnglish seamen and explorers  Holinshed’s ChroniclesHolinshed’s Chronicles – English history– English history  Beginnings of a novel –Beginnings of a novel – ‘University Wits’‘University Wits’ – John Lyly,– John Lyly, Robert Greene, Thomas NashRobert Greene, Thomas Nash  Francis BaconFrancis Bacon – essayist, philosopher and historian– essayist, philosopher and historian
    •  The Authorised Version of the BibleThe Authorised Version of the Bible – first– first translation of the Bible into Modern English. Ittranslation of the Bible into Modern English. It appeared in 1611, and is also known as Kingappeared in 1611, and is also known as King James’ Bible. It was based on the translationsJames’ Bible. It was based on the translations into Middle English by Wycliffe and Tyndale. Theinto Middle English by Wycliffe and Tyndale. The language of the new translation has held alanguage of the new translation has held a powerful influence on writers in English everpowerful influence on writers in English ever since.since.  Ben JonsonBen Jonson – the father of English literary– the father of English literary criticism.criticism.
    • University WitsUniversity Wits  University Wits were a group of late 16th century EnglishUniversity Wits were a group of late 16th century English playwrights who were educated at the universities (Oxford orplaywrights who were educated at the universities (Oxford or Cambridge). Prominent members of this group: ChristopherCambridge). Prominent members of this group: Christopher Marlowe, Robert Greene, and Thomas Nashe fromMarlowe, Robert Greene, and Thomas Nashe from Cambridge, and John Lyly, Thomas Lodge, George PeeleCambridge, and John Lyly, Thomas Lodge, George Peele from Oxford.from Oxford.  the literary elite of the time - they often ridiculed otherthe literary elite of the time - they often ridiculed other playwrights such as Thomas Kyd and Shakespeare who didplaywrights such as Thomas Kyd and Shakespeare who did not have a university education.not have a university education.  Some scholars think that Marlowe would have surpassedSome scholars think that Marlowe would have surpassed Shakespeare as an author if ha had not been killed in a tavernShakespeare as an author if ha had not been killed in a tavern brawlbrawl  University Wits did make a significant contribution toUniversity Wits did make a significant contribution to Elizabethan literature in various genresElizabethan literature in various genres
    • Elizabethan DramaElizabethan Drama  TragedyTragedy: Aristotle – imitation of a serious probable action: Aristotle – imitation of a serious probable action ((mimesismimesis); arousing); arousing pitypity andand fearfear in the audience; leadsin the audience; leads toto catharsiscatharsis (a purifying of the emotions that is brought(a purifying of the emotions that is brought about in the audience of a tragic drama through theabout in the audience of a tragic drama through the evocation of intense fear and pity; emotional release andevocation of intense fear and pity; emotional release and purification brought about by an intense emotionalpurification brought about by an intense emotional experience); characters: kings and nobles; the mainexperience); characters: kings and nobles; the main character: of a high social and moral standing but with acharacter: of a high social and moral standing but with a tragic flaw/fault/mistake (misjudgment, ambition,tragic flaw/fault/mistake (misjudgment, ambition, gullibility, jealousy, indecisiveness) which brings aboutgullibility, jealousy, indecisiveness) which brings about his downfall and final demise. Revenge tragedy –his downfall and final demise. Revenge tragedy – especially popular – a wronged hero plans and executesespecially popular – a wronged hero plans and executes revenge.revenge.
    •  ComedyComedy: Aristotle – comic figures are average to: Aristotle – comic figures are average to below average; it deals with ordinary/commonbelow average; it deals with ordinary/common people; only low or ignoble figures can strike uspeople; only low or ignoble figures can strike us as ridiculous; the most ridiculous are those whoas ridiculous; the most ridiculous are those who although well-born are merely pompous or self-although well-born are merely pompous or self- important instead of truly noble.important instead of truly noble.  ComedyComedy: a story of the rise in fortune of a: a story of the rise in fortune of a sympathetic central character (those of humblesympathetic central character (those of humble or disadvantageous backgrounds who proveor disadvantageous backgrounds who prove their real worth).their real worth).
    •  TheThe Italian RenaissanceItalian Renaissance had rediscovered the ancienthad rediscovered the ancient Greek and Roman theatre, and this was instrumental inGreek and Roman theatre, and this was instrumental in the development of the new drama, which was thenthe development of the new drama, which was then beginning to evolve apart from the old mystery andbeginning to evolve apart from the old mystery and miracle playsmiracle plays of theof the Middle AgesMiddle Ages. The Italians were. The Italians were particularly inspired byparticularly inspired by SenecaSeneca (a major tragic playwright(a major tragic playwright and philosopher, the tutor ofand philosopher, the tutor of NeroNero) and Plautus (its) and Plautus (its comic clichés, especially that of the boasting soldier hadcomic clichés, especially that of the boasting soldier had a powerful influence on the Renaissance and after).a powerful influence on the Renaissance and after).  The first regular English comedy,The first regular English comedy, Ralph Roister DoisterRalph Roister Doister by Nicholas Udall, was written in this tradition.by Nicholas Udall, was written in this tradition.  Another early comedy wasAnother early comedy was Gammer Gurton’s NeedleGammer Gurton’s Needle.. Lyly’s comedies were an improvement of those earlyLyly’s comedies were an improvement of those early comedies.comedies.
    •  However, the Italian tragedies embraced a principleHowever, the Italian tragedies embraced a principle contrary to Seneca's ethics: showing blood and violencecontrary to Seneca's ethics: showing blood and violence on the stage. In Seneca's plays such scenes were onlyon the stage. In Seneca's plays such scenes were only acted by the characters. But the English playwrightsacted by the characters. But the English playwrights were intrigued by Italian model: a conspicuouswere intrigued by Italian model: a conspicuous community of Italian actors had settled in London andcommunity of Italian actors had settled in London and Giovanni FlorioGiovanni Florio had brought much of the Italian languagehad brought much of the Italian language and culture to England. It is also true that theand culture to England. It is also true that the Elizabethan Era was a very violent age and that the highElizabethan Era was a very violent age and that the high incidence of political assassinations in Renaissance Italyincidence of political assassinations in Renaissance Italy (embodied by Niccolò Machiavelli's(embodied by Niccolò Machiavelli's The PrinceThe Prince) did little) did little to calm fears of popish plots. As a result, representingto calm fears of popish plots. As a result, representing that kind of violence on the stage was probably morethat kind of violence on the stage was probably more cathartic for the Elizabethan spectator.cathartic for the Elizabethan spectator.
    •  TThe Spanish Tragedyhe Spanish Tragedy byby Thomas KydThomas Kyd is one of thoseis one of those violent tragedies, and its plot is in some ways likeviolent tragedies, and its plot is in some ways like Shakespeare’sShakespeare’s HamletHamlet. It became known as an example. It became known as an example of a ‘revenge tragedy’ where the hero has to avenge theof a ‘revenge tragedy’ where the hero has to avenge the death of a close relative.death of a close relative.  The first great dramatist of the time wasThe first great dramatist of the time was ChristopherChristopher MarloweMarlowe. Some of his tragedies, such as. Some of his tragedies, such as TamburlaineTamburlaine the Greatthe Great andand The Jew of MaltaThe Jew of Malta, are also violent and, are also violent and bloody. But others, likebloody. But others, like Dr. FaustusDr. Faustus andand Edward theEdward the SecondSecond, set an example for other Elizabethan dramatists, set an example for other Elizabethan dramatists in the use of powerful blank verse and the developmentin the use of powerful blank verse and the development of characters to heighten the sense of tragedy.of characters to heighten the sense of tragedy. Shakespeare in particular was influenced by Marlowe inShakespeare in particular was influenced by Marlowe in writing the historical plays.writing the historical plays.
    • English Renaissance TheatreEnglish Renaissance Theatre  Renaissance theatre derived from medieval theatreRenaissance theatre derived from medieval theatre traditions, such as thetraditions, such as the mystery playsmystery plays that formed a partthat formed a part of religious festivals in England and other parts ofof religious festivals in England and other parts of Europe during the Middle Ages. The mystery plays wereEurope during the Middle Ages. The mystery plays were complex retellings of legends based on biblical themes,complex retellings of legends based on biblical themes, originally performed in churches but later becoming moreoriginally performed in churches but later becoming more linked to the secular celebrations that grew up aroundlinked to the secular celebrations that grew up around religious festivals. Other sources include the moralityreligious festivals. Other sources include the morality plays and the "University drama" that attempted toplays and the "University drama" that attempted to recreate Greek tragedy.recreate Greek tragedy.
    •  Companies of players attached to households of leadingCompanies of players attached to households of leading noblemen and performing seasonally in various locationsnoblemen and performing seasonally in various locations existed before the reign of Elizabeth I. These becameexisted before the reign of Elizabeth I. These became the foundation for the professional players thatthe foundation for the professional players that performed on the Elizabethan stage. The tours of theseperformed on the Elizabethan stage. The tours of these players gradually replaced the performances of theplayers gradually replaced the performances of the mystery and morality playmystery and morality plays by local players, and a 1572s by local players, and a 1572 law eliminated the remaining companies lacking formallaw eliminated the remaining companies lacking formal patronage by labeling them vagabonds. Thepatronage by labeling them vagabonds. The performance of masques at court by courtiers and otherperformance of masques at court by courtiers and other amateurs came to be replaced by the professionalamateurs came to be replaced by the professional companies with noble patrons, who grew in number andcompanies with noble patrons, who grew in number and quality during Elizabeth's reign.quality during Elizabeth's reign.
    • Genres of English RenaissanceGenres of English Renaissance TheatreTheatre  History play (Marlowe – Shakespeare)History play (Marlowe – Shakespeare)  Tragedy (revenge tragedy – Kyd, Marlowe,Tragedy (revenge tragedy – Kyd, Marlowe, Shakespeare)Shakespeare)  Comedy (city comedy – B.Jonson)Comedy (city comedy – B.Jonson)  Romance (Shakespeare)Romance (Shakespeare)