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A Brief Introduction to: Shakespeare’s England and Shakespeare’s Life and Times
Shakespeare’s England During Shakespeare’s time (1564-1616), England was: A relatively small nation (under 5 million) Virtually absent from continental concerns Not yet united with Scotland, and only united with Ireland in name England was small and isolated, but yet a proud nation with a strong sense of national identity
Shakespeare’s England: London 16th century London was at once more attractive and less attractive than 20th century version 190,000-200,000 inhabitants, and was the largest city of Europe Green fields, streams, meadows, etc. all were contained in London. Yet London also had ugly side:  beheaded traitors, small, crowded homes, filthy streets (open sewers), epidemics, prostitution and theatres (which often fled restrictive laws of London proper).
Shakespeare’s England: a Rising Power During Shakespeare’s times, English ships assumed dominant positions in Mediterranean trade, while various trading companies grew, all of which set the stage for the English empire.
Shakespeare’s England: Political and Religious Background England under the Tudors suffered from almost unceasing religious conflict, especially affecting politics. Tudors united England after so-called War of the Roses (Lancasters and Yorks) Henry VII had a weak dynastic claim, but England was exhausted from civil strife.
Shakespeare’s England: Political and Religious Background Henry VIII inherits a more secure throne, but has marital “difficulties.” Break with Rome occurs in 1534, a few years after Martin Luther’s momentous break with Papacy (1517). Leads to establishment of Anglican church His successor, the sickly Edward VI, dies and brings further religious crisis.
Shakespeare’s England: Political and Religious Background After 5 bloody years, Elizabeth replaces Mary (a Catholic) and returns nation to Protestantism.  Tact and moderation were required to prevent open religious war at home and abroad—Elizabeth’s genius at compromise prevented war.
Shakespeare’s England: Queen Elizabeth As queen, Elizabeth had to deal with a divided nation (including extremists); she was a woman (in an age that was openly skeptical of a woman’s ability or right to rule). Her success was in part due to her personal style:   Strong will Feminity Brilliant handling of male admirers/suitors.
Shakespeare’s England: Political Ideas of the Time Tudor conceptions of order dictated that monarch rules in accord with divine plan To Machiavelli (in The Prince), politics was a manipulative science governed by dictates of social expediency—survival is the ultimate goal. Machiavelli’s theories would provide fodder for Shakespeare and others (in the construction of a Machiavellian Villain)
Shakespeare’s Life and Times The early years (1564-1594): Shakespeare was born in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon (central England), and baptized on 26 April at Holy Trinity Church Father:  John Shakespeare, a glove maker and prominent citizen of the town. He married extremely well Mother:  Mary Arden, the daughter of a well-to-do landowner.
Shakespeare’s Life and Times Education: Although we don’t have school records, it is almost certain that Shakespeare attended Stratford’s Grammar School. Curriculum was based around teaching pupils Latin-both spoken and written He probably would have studied Cato, Virgil, Ovid, Seneca to name a few.
Shakespeare’s Life and Times Marriage: In November 1582, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway (who was 8 years older).   First child: Susanna, born 26 May 1583. Two years later, twins followed, Hamnet and Judith. The period that follows (from 1585 to 1592) are usually called the “the lost years” since there are virtually no details about his life.
Shakespeare’s Life and Times Early Career: Shakespeare probably arrived in London around 1586/7. By 1592, Shakespeare’s reputation was established.   His earliest plays were Henry VI, TheTwo Gentlemen of Verona, and Titus Andronicus. In 1594, Shakespeare joined the Lord Chamberlain’s men (with Richard Burbage as its leading actor). For almost 20 years, Shakespeare was its regular dramatist.
Shakespeare’s Life and Times: The Theatre Compared to today’s theatres (even high school ones), Shakespeare’s theatres were hopelessly limited. Plays were: Performed in daylight Scenery was simple (if present at all) Imagination and script integration was required (for both audience and writer) Stage was versatile Buildings were typically round or octagonal
Shakespeare’s Life and Times: The Globe
The Globe  The Globe :  Was located  to the south bank of the Thames This was the equivalent of a red light district Open to all social classes for a penny An extra penny bought a bench, cushion, and protection from the rain (and the masses)
Shakespeare’s Life and Times During the period that follows, Shakespeare wrote works such as: Midsummer Night’s Dream Romeo and Juliet Julius Caesar Twelfth Night Hamlet Othello King Lear Macbeth The Tempest And many others
Shakespeare’s Life and Times Shakespeare’s plays were performed for two monarchs (Elizabeth I and James I) He was well-loved by audiences Even critics like Ben Jonson spoke well of him In short, he was a celebrity, of whom Jonson said paradoxically “Not of an age, but for all time”
Shakespeare’s Life and Times Around 1615, Shakespeare retires from the theatre and returns to Stratford-upon-Avon. There, he has purchased a number of homes, including the large home named, New Place, and lives a peaceful life to the end. April 23, 1616 Shakespeare dies and is buried at Holy Trinity Church, Stratford A copy of his will remains.
Shakespeare’s Life and Times After his death, friends and colleagues, Heminges and Condell, collected his plays into the First Folio names of principle actors title page

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Brief shakespeare introduction

  • 1. A Brief Introduction to: Shakespeare’s England and Shakespeare’s Life and Times
  • 2. Shakespeare’s England During Shakespeare’s time (1564-1616), England was: A relatively small nation (under 5 million) Virtually absent from continental concerns Not yet united with Scotland, and only united with Ireland in name England was small and isolated, but yet a proud nation with a strong sense of national identity
  • 3. Shakespeare’s England: London 16th century London was at once more attractive and less attractive than 20th century version 190,000-200,000 inhabitants, and was the largest city of Europe Green fields, streams, meadows, etc. all were contained in London. Yet London also had ugly side: beheaded traitors, small, crowded homes, filthy streets (open sewers), epidemics, prostitution and theatres (which often fled restrictive laws of London proper).
  • 4. Shakespeare’s England: a Rising Power During Shakespeare’s times, English ships assumed dominant positions in Mediterranean trade, while various trading companies grew, all of which set the stage for the English empire.
  • 5. Shakespeare’s England: Political and Religious Background England under the Tudors suffered from almost unceasing religious conflict, especially affecting politics. Tudors united England after so-called War of the Roses (Lancasters and Yorks) Henry VII had a weak dynastic claim, but England was exhausted from civil strife.
  • 6. Shakespeare’s England: Political and Religious Background Henry VIII inherits a more secure throne, but has marital “difficulties.” Break with Rome occurs in 1534, a few years after Martin Luther’s momentous break with Papacy (1517). Leads to establishment of Anglican church His successor, the sickly Edward VI, dies and brings further religious crisis.
  • 7. Shakespeare’s England: Political and Religious Background After 5 bloody years, Elizabeth replaces Mary (a Catholic) and returns nation to Protestantism. Tact and moderation were required to prevent open religious war at home and abroad—Elizabeth’s genius at compromise prevented war.
  • 8. Shakespeare’s England: Queen Elizabeth As queen, Elizabeth had to deal with a divided nation (including extremists); she was a woman (in an age that was openly skeptical of a woman’s ability or right to rule). Her success was in part due to her personal style: Strong will Feminity Brilliant handling of male admirers/suitors.
  • 9. Shakespeare’s England: Political Ideas of the Time Tudor conceptions of order dictated that monarch rules in accord with divine plan To Machiavelli (in The Prince), politics was a manipulative science governed by dictates of social expediency—survival is the ultimate goal. Machiavelli’s theories would provide fodder for Shakespeare and others (in the construction of a Machiavellian Villain)
  • 10. Shakespeare’s Life and Times The early years (1564-1594): Shakespeare was born in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon (central England), and baptized on 26 April at Holy Trinity Church Father: John Shakespeare, a glove maker and prominent citizen of the town. He married extremely well Mother: Mary Arden, the daughter of a well-to-do landowner.
  • 11. Shakespeare’s Life and Times Education: Although we don’t have school records, it is almost certain that Shakespeare attended Stratford’s Grammar School. Curriculum was based around teaching pupils Latin-both spoken and written He probably would have studied Cato, Virgil, Ovid, Seneca to name a few.
  • 12. Shakespeare’s Life and Times Marriage: In November 1582, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway (who was 8 years older). First child: Susanna, born 26 May 1583. Two years later, twins followed, Hamnet and Judith. The period that follows (from 1585 to 1592) are usually called the “the lost years” since there are virtually no details about his life.
  • 13. Shakespeare’s Life and Times Early Career: Shakespeare probably arrived in London around 1586/7. By 1592, Shakespeare’s reputation was established. His earliest plays were Henry VI, TheTwo Gentlemen of Verona, and Titus Andronicus. In 1594, Shakespeare joined the Lord Chamberlain’s men (with Richard Burbage as its leading actor). For almost 20 years, Shakespeare was its regular dramatist.
  • 14. Shakespeare’s Life and Times: The Theatre Compared to today’s theatres (even high school ones), Shakespeare’s theatres were hopelessly limited. Plays were: Performed in daylight Scenery was simple (if present at all) Imagination and script integration was required (for both audience and writer) Stage was versatile Buildings were typically round or octagonal
  • 15. Shakespeare’s Life and Times: The Globe
  • 16. The Globe The Globe : Was located to the south bank of the Thames This was the equivalent of a red light district Open to all social classes for a penny An extra penny bought a bench, cushion, and protection from the rain (and the masses)
  • 17. Shakespeare’s Life and Times During the period that follows, Shakespeare wrote works such as: Midsummer Night’s Dream Romeo and Juliet Julius Caesar Twelfth Night Hamlet Othello King Lear Macbeth The Tempest And many others
  • 18. Shakespeare’s Life and Times Shakespeare’s plays were performed for two monarchs (Elizabeth I and James I) He was well-loved by audiences Even critics like Ben Jonson spoke well of him In short, he was a celebrity, of whom Jonson said paradoxically “Not of an age, but for all time”
  • 19. Shakespeare’s Life and Times Around 1615, Shakespeare retires from the theatre and returns to Stratford-upon-Avon. There, he has purchased a number of homes, including the large home named, New Place, and lives a peaceful life to the end. April 23, 1616 Shakespeare dies and is buried at Holy Trinity Church, Stratford A copy of his will remains.
  • 20. Shakespeare’s Life and Times After his death, friends and colleagues, Heminges and Condell, collected his plays into the First Folio names of principle actors title page