Known as the English Renaissance (rebirth) England was ruled by Queen Elizabeth I, daughter of King Henry VIII, from 1533- 1603. The Queen had a love for theater and the arts, so during this period, the arts (poetry, plays, painting, etc.) flourished. 2
Clothing/Fashion Certain fabrics, textures, and colors of clothing indicated which social class a person was a part of. If a person dressed out of his/her social class, they would be punished because it was against the law. 3
Marriages A woman didn’t choose husband. Marriages were usually arranged by the families of the bride and the groom in order for both sides to benefit from one another. Once married, women had practically no rights; they could not work outside the home. 4
Health Many members of a family, often 4-8 people, would live in the same room. There was no sanitation, no indoor plumbing, no concept of germs or sterilization. The streets were filled with waste, both human and animal. 5
It is said that Shakespeare was born at Stratford-upon- Avon on April 23, 1564. He had three brothers and four sisters and was the oldest child of the family. He married Anne Hathaway in 1582: he was 18 and she was 26. They had 3 kids by the time he was 21, including twins (Hamnet and Judith) He wrote his first play around 1591, fifteen years after the opening of the first theatre in London (The Red Lion). Shakespeare owned two theaters and wrote at least 38 plays. He was an actor before he was a writer.
• Member and later part-owner of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, later called the King’s Men• Globe Theater built in 1599 by L.C.M. with Shakespeare as primary investor• Burned down in 1613 during one of Shakespeare’s plays (a cannon shot during Henry VIII)
London & the Theaterin Shakespeare’s Day The theater was the most widely available entertainment to which people of every class had access. Professional theater life was considered a fringe culture, existing on the margins of society. Actors were like rock stars. Actors were considered homeless vagabonds and, as such, were subject to arrest (like rock stars). Plays were often acted out in any space available; thus the income for actors and playwrights was undependable and rarely enough to live on. Wealthy aristocrats, who enjoyed drama, would support acting companies with their own money—actors under the care of these “Lords” could not be arrested for their vagrant lifestyle.
BanksideThe Entertainment District: Bankside London, on the Thames River, was a notorious area of the city. The Globe Theatre was situated in this area where people went out to drink and gamble, and where prostitution flourished. The theatre was not a symbol of high culture in those days, it was bawdy and violent entertainment, considered by many to be full of dangerous ideas and suggestive sexual themes.
There were only two doors, and the Globe held up to 3,000 people. People from all classes visited the theatre on a regular basis. Cheapest seats cost one penny; “groundlings” stood in the yard. For an extra penny, you got a “cushion seat” in the gallery. For extra money, the view was obstructed; however, in those days people didn’t go to see a play, they went to hear a play.
The Globe TheatreA Reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Theater Built in 1996
Both the stage and the heavens (the area above the stage) held trap doors. Sheep and cow blood was used for fight scenes. A small bag could be filled and popped at the right moment for the right effect. Gunpowder was used for musket fire and special controlled explosions.
Only men and boys Young boys whose voices had not changed play women’s roles Would have been considered indecent for a woman to appear on stage
38 plays firmly attributed to Shakespeare 14 comedies 10 histories 10 tragedies 4 romances Possibly wrote three others Collaborated on several others
Tragedies: The fall of a great man. Not by fatal “tragic” flaw, but through choice of action that puts him out of his comfort zone (Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth). Comedies: Not simply comical, in the modern sense, but often tensions between traditional roles—male vs. female, poor vs. rich, old vs. young—often ending in marriage, the revision or restoration of tradition (Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It). Histories: Based on the lives of English Kings (Henry IV, Henry V, Richard III).
The puritans, and city authorities, did not like play going. Only the support of the King or Queen kept the theatre open. The theatre represented freedom of thought, freedom of expression, and openly played with gender roles and human sexuality.
• Shakespeare did NOT write in “Old English.”• Old English is the language of Beowulf: Hwaet! We Gardena in geardagum Þeodcyninga Þrym gefrunon Hu ða æÞelingas ellen fremedon!(Hey! We have heard of the glory of the Spear-Danes in the old days, the kings of tribes, hownoble princes showed great courage!)
• Shakespeare did not write in “Middle English.”• Middle English is the language of Chaucer, theGawain-poet, and Malory: We redeth oft and findeth y-write— And this clerkes wele it wite— Layes that ben in harping Ben y-founde of ferli thing… (Sir Orfeo)
• Shakespeare wrote in “Early ModernEnglish.”• EME was not very different from“Modern English,”
• A mix of old and very new• Rural and urban words/images• Understandable by the lowestpeasant and the highest noble
Although Juliet is a fictional character, this actual building in Verona (built around the 13th century) is said to have been the home to a prominent family in Italy back then. The Capuleti was a family that actually existed, and some believe that Shakespeare based his fictional family, the Capulets, on them. Pictured here is Juliet’s balcony. Some couples even get married there today. 22
Written around 1595 Involves two major families who hate each other Entire play takes place over 5 days Fate of Romeo and Juliet is given at the beginning of play 23
The Montagues The Capulets Romeo - first loves Rosaline; Juliet – daughter of Capulet; sees Juliet and forgets happy, innocent girl who loves Rosaline. Romeo Lord Montague - Romeo’s Lord and Lady Capulet - Juliet’s father parents Lady Montague - Romeo’s Tybalt - Juliet’s cousin; likes to mother fight Benvolio - nephew of Montague Nurse - Juliet’s nanny and and friend of Romeo friend Balthasar - servant of Romeo Peter - servant to the Nurse Abram - servant of Montague; Sampson and Gregory – enjoys fighting with Capulets servants 24
•Prince Escalus - ruler of Verona; tired of thefighting in the city and threatens anyone whodisturbs the peace with death•Mercutio - relative of the prince and friend ofRomeo (sides with Montague); serves as comicrelief•Friar Laurence - a Franciscan priest; helpsRomeo and Juliet; good man•Friar John - another Franciscan priest•Count Paris - a young nobleman and relative ofthe prince (sides with Capulet); Juliet’s parentsarrange for her to marry him
“All the world s a stage,And all the men and womenmerely players.”So….. Let’s dramatize Shakespeare!!!