• Sleep is the cousin of death…
• I was not born under a rhyming planet..
• Maybe it's hatred I spew maybe its food for the spirit…
• Majority of Shakespeare’s audience couldn’t read.
• Used a lot of jokes to keep those at the lower levels happy.
• His plays were in parts. Like soap operas or tv showsthat you
needed to “tune into” find out the next part.
• Used themes that were popular of the time. Would
Shakespeare’s plays today be about vampires and superheroes
instead of royalty and Italy?
• Born April 23rd, 1564 in Stratford -
•Father was shopkeeper and
“mayor” of town.
•Attended free grammar school until
15. Read mythology and classics
(being the Renassance and all).
•Married to Ann Hathaway (8 years
older) (he was 18, she 26)
•3 children (Susanna, Hamnet, &
•Lived most of his life in London.
• Successful actor in
•Member of a ‘The
•Wrote around 37 plays,
•Retired to Stratford
•Died on 1616
• Most plays based on historical evens or OTHER plays.
• No copyright laws in those days.
•Took ordinary stories and made them EXTRAORDINARY!
Juliet by Arthur
Macbeth of Scotland
Common Sayings: •Barefaced
• catching a cold •Bumps
•Disgraceful conduct •Critical
•Elbow Room •Dwindle
•Fair Play •Exposure
• Introduced nearly 2000 words •Suspicious
• He revitalized English by making it a language of art.
Before Shakespeare, English was “losing” artistically to
The Romance Languages and German.
• As good luck would have it (The Merry Wives of Windsor)
• Be-all and the end-all (Macbeth)
• Dead as a doornail (Henry VI)
• Eaten me out of house and home (Henry IV)
• Faint Hearted (Henry VI)
• For goodness sake (Henry VIII)
• Full circle (King Lear)
• Good Riddance (Troilus and Cressida)
• In a pickle (The Tempest)
• Kill with kindess (Taming of the Shrew)
• Knock Knock! Who’s there? (Macbeth)
•Laughing stock (The mErry Wives of Windsor)
•Love is blind (merchant of Venice)
•Comedies (Taming of the Shrew, Midsummer Night’s Dream)
•Histories (Henry V)
•Tragedies (Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth)
•Romances (The Tempest)
1. What was Shakespeare’s father?
2. Married who?
a) Anne Morrow
b) Anne Boleyn
c) Anne Rutledge
d) Anne Hathaway
3. The theatre with which Shakespeare is most
closely associated is the:
a) National Advancement
4. What are some common sayings?
5. Around how many words did he introduce?
Why do we have such a hard time understanding his writing?
Why so odd?
• A lot has happened to the English Language since the late
•Shakespeare was a poet, as well as an actor and
playwright, and because of this he interacted with language
differently than most others.
• He used figurative language, slang and world play for
• Write with poetic meter (rhythm of word sounds) in mind.
• Used things that were happening in his time
• His English is different but still similar to ours.
• Read carefully, keeping in mind the differences.
• Don’t try to pronounce words you already know differently.
Say them the way you know them.
• You are not alone! Even your teachers have their own
Troubles understanding Shakespeare’s language.
•Shakespeare IS writing in early Modern English. Not “Old
English which looks like this…..
Þæt wæs god cyning! = That was [a] good king!
and forgyf us ure gyltas, swa swa we forgyfað urum gyltendum.
And forgive us of our guilts as also we forgive our guilty
• Shakespeare was more than comfortable altering his
sentence structure to fit his rhythm. For example reversing the
location of two words (“He goes” to “Goes he”, or “As could
mean “as though”). How can you tell what he means? Not a
simple way, just keep in mind the CONTEXT.
• “Had” often means “would have” ex: Had he not resembled/
My father as he slept, I had done’t” -Macbeth.
• Putting gender to genderless objects. “And never dare
misfortune cross her foot, / Unless she do it under this
excuse” (Merchant of Venice). In this line “her” and “she” both
refer to misfortune.
Good News Everyone!
Approximatley 90% of the words Shakespeare used in his plays
Are still in use today. The bad news is that 10% of his words are
Ones you never heard of. That is why you should use the
Annotations (usually represented by a *).
EX: “Slubber not business for my sake.” (Merchant of V)
“Slubber” is an archaic word, and leaves the meaning of this line
Confusing. But your notes will tell you that “slubber” means
“Botch not business for my sake”.
“Don’t botch business for my sake”
• 3rd Person Singular: -th, not -s (eg:
“she giveth”, not “she gives”)
• 2nd Person Familiar: add -est, -st, ‘st •“hence”: here
(eg: “you givest,” not “you give”)
Now You are have will can shall do
Then Thou.. art hast wilt canst shalt dost
Now You.. Were had would could should did
Then thou… wast hadst wouldst couldst shouldst didst
Get into partners and try write a script using Shakespeare’s
Language. All characters should talk like Shakespeare.
You are ordering your favorite fast food from a drive