These systems of thought were important in Elizabethan England.• Renaissance: Literally means “rebirth.” A period between 1300-1600 CE when new ideas about science, philosophy, and the arts took hold across Europe.• Humanism: A newfound admiration of humankind, whose intelligence, worth, and beauty was celebrated.
Elizabeth I (1558-1603) was the Queen ofEngland during much of Shakespeare’s life.
Elizabeth I (1558-1603)• Her “Religious Settlement” made the Church of England the official church.• She outlawed religious drama.• The English Navy defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588 making England a supreme power.• Her reign was largely a period of peace and prosperity for English citizens.
Shakespeare’s LondonLondon was divided between the north and south bank of the Thames River.The theatres were located on the less populated south bank.
Southwark, or “the liberties,” were located on the south bank.
Public Theatres • Outdoors with an open roof • Parts of a public theatre: • Yard • Galleries • Lord’s Rooms • Tiring House
Actors & Acting•Sharing Companies: theatre troupeswhose members shared expenses,profits, and responsibilities forproduction.•Householders: members whoowned part of the building itself.•Hirelings: stagehands or actors whoworked for a salary rather than ashare of the profits.• Yes, all roles were played by menand boys.
Audiences• Represented a wide range of citizens.• Cost of admission was low.• “Groundlings” stood on the ground of the yard.• Seats in the gallery and lord’s boxes were more expensive.• Women were present in the audience.
Censorship• All plays were subject to government censorship.• The “Master of the Revels” viewed all plays before they were performed.• Companies could not operate without a liscence.• Playhouses could be shut down at any time.
William Shakespeare• 1564-1616• Son of a glove maker,became greatest dramatist ofEnglish speaking world.• Was a shareholder in TheLord Chamberlain’s Men andlater The King’s Men.• Wrote thirty-eight plays.• History Plays, Tragedies,Comedies.
Characteristics of Shakespeare’s Plays• Early Point of Attack• Several Subplots• Free Use of Time & Place• A Large Number and Range of Characters• Varied Styles of Language
• Don Pedro, Prince of Aragon• Margaret, waiting-• Benedick, a lord, gentlewoman, attendant on companion of Don Pedro Hero• Claudio, a count, • Ursula, waiting- companion of DP gentlewoman, attendant on• Don John, “the Bastard Hero Prince,” brother of DP and • Friar Francis, a priest main villain • Dogberry, the lead night• Borachio and Conrade, watchman followers of Don John • Verges, Dogberry’s partner• Leonato, governor of • A Sexton Messina • Watchmen• Hero, Leonato’s daughter • Attendants and Messengers• Beatrice, niece of Leonato• Antonio, and old man, brother of Leonato