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Shakespeare Background Notes

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Shakespeare Background Notes

  1. 1. Notes on the History of Elizabethan England and Shakespeare Himself
  2. 2. King Henry VIII (Ruled England 1509-1547) Known for breaking with Church + Many Wives (6)
  3. 3. As a young man, Henry was quite active.
  4. 4. King Henry and “ his women”
  5. 5. King Henry and His Wives Catherine of Aragon 1509-1532 Anne Boleyn 1532-May 19, 1536 Jane Seymour May 29, 1536-1537 Anne Cleves Jan. 6, 1540-July 12, 1540 Catherine Howard July 28, 1540-1542 Catharine Parr July 1543-1547
  6. 6. Catherine of Aragon (1509-1532) <ul><li>Marries Henry to keep alliance with Spain </li></ul><ul><li>Bears 7 children; only Mary lives through infancy </li></ul><ul><li>Henry starts new church, annuls marriage, banishes Catherine </li></ul>
  7. 7. Anne Boleyn (1532-May 19, 1536) <ul><li>Gives birth to daughter, Elizabeth, 1533 </li></ul><ul><li>Henry accuses her of unfaithfulness </li></ul><ul><li>Beheaded May 19, 1536 </li></ul>
  8. 8. Jane Seymour (May 29, 1536-1537) <ul><li>Gives birth to son, Edward, 1537 </li></ul><ul><li>Dies from complications in childbirth </li></ul>
  9. 9. Anne of Cleves (Jan. 6, 1540-July 12, 1540) <ul><li>Henry marries her for political reasons -- alliance with Cleves (part of modern Germany) </li></ul><ul><li>Officially divorces her July 12, 1540 </li></ul>
  10. 10. Catherine Howard (July 28, 1540-1542) <ul><li>Anne Boleyn’s 2nd cousin </li></ul><ul><li>Anne of Cleves’ maid in waiting </li></ul><ul><li>She has affairs </li></ul><ul><li>Beheaded 1542 </li></ul>
  11. 11. Catharine Parr (1543-1547) <ul><li>Henry’s last wife </li></ul><ul><li>Acts as Henry’s nurse when he becomes sick </li></ul>
  12. 12. England After Henry <ul><li>When Henry dies, Edward comes to the throne (he was 9!) </li></ul>• Edward dies when he’s 16, and “Bloody Mary” takes the throne
  13. 13. Queen Elizabeth I (Ruled England 1558-1603) <ul><li>Mary (a Catholic) dies and Elizabeth (a Protestant) comes to the throne in 1558 </li></ul><ul><li>Under Elizabeth, the arts flourished and educational institutions were established. </li></ul><ul><li>England also became a military force -Defeat of the Spanish Armada 1588 </li></ul><ul><li>Never married, so known as the “Virgin Queen” </li></ul><ul><li>Followed by King James (1603-1625) </li></ul>
  14. 14. Defeating the Spanish Armada
  15. 15. Life in Elizabethan England <ul><li>Public Life </li></ul><ul><li>Gossip: Those who are “in the know” are popular. </li></ul><ul><li>Crowds and public squares were volatile --> anything could set them off! </li></ul><ul><li>No free discussion of rulers = </li></ul><ul><li>High treason! Spies everywhere </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Punishments: </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Upper class = beheading </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lower class = drawing and quartering </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Life in Elizabethan England <ul><li>Family Life </li></ul><ul><li>Children and parents = </li></ul><ul><li>very formal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Never disobey </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Children raised by nurses </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Women had no legal rights </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All their money and possessions went to the husband </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Literacy Rate was Low </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(W-10% M-30%) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Single wealthy women were fought over </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Married at the age of 11 or 12 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Father had the right to choose husbands for daughters -- negotiated for power </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Marriage = crucial to a woman </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No legal rights without it </li></ul></ul><ul><li>LOVE </li></ul><ul><li>Romantic Love was ALWAYS discouraged -- a good match was more important </li></ul><ul><li>HONOR = very important! Defend family </li></ul>
  17. 17. Heart of England = LONDON <ul><li>Tower Of London </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fort for protecting the city from invasions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Royal Palace </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prison </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. London: Sanitation <ul><li>Horrible! </li></ul><ul><li>Streets were filthy </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No sewers or drains </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gutters were in the middle of the street </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Garbage & chamber pots emptied in the streets --piled up until a rain </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Men walked in the middle of street to protect the ladies </li></ul><ul><li>The Plague = incurable </li></ul><ul><li>Overcrowding led to slums, filth </li></ul><ul><li>Plague carried by fleas on rats -- not known then </li></ul><ul><li>Thought to be God’s wrath on wicked people </li></ul><ul><li>Two outbreaks killed 1/4 of the population in Shakespeare’s time </li></ul><ul><li>Life expectancy = 48 years </li></ul><ul><li>Time to travel to “New World” = 1-2 months </li></ul>
  19. 19. Theater’s Place in the World: One Side <ul><li>The Court </li></ul><ul><li>Elizabeth and James totally supported theater </li></ul><ul><li>Shakespeare’s company, “The King’s Men,” were named for King James </li></ul>
  20. 20. Theater’s Place in the World: The Other Side <ul><li>City Officials </li></ul><ul><li>Time of Puritanism = Very conservative </li></ul><ul><li>Thought theater was evil, satanic, and destroyed public morals </li></ul>
  21. 21. Theater’s Place in the World <ul><li>Therefore: </li></ul><ul><li>Theater was not allowed in London proper, within the official city limits </li></ul><ul><li>Instead, all theaters were in Southwark, just across the Thames, and outside city lines </li></ul>
  22. 22. Shakespeare’s Theater: The Globe <ul><li>Variety of tickets, from the pit (groundlings) to the gallery </li></ul><ul><li>Loud, obnoxious, intelligent crowds </li></ul><ul><li>Performances lasted “at least two hours,” and started around 2 PM (the middle of the working day) </li></ul><ul><li>Trumpet blew to signal the start </li></ul><ul><li>Public - open to all, though could not be advertised </li></ul><ul><li>Showed type of play by color of the flag </li></ul><ul><ul><li>White = Comedy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Red = History </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Black = Tragedy </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. A Tour of the Globe
  24. 24. William Shakespeare: The Bard Himself
  25. 25. England-A Spiritually Divided Country <ul><li>When Henry starts his own church, that splits the country into Catholic and Protestant </li></ul><ul><li>Shakespeare’s family has Catholic roots, but he supports the Queen </li></ul>
  26. 26. Shakespeare: Early Life <ul><li>Vital Stats: </li></ul><ul><li>Born April 23, 1564 </li></ul><ul><li>Dies April 23, 1616 </li></ul><ul><li>Early Life: Stratford on Avon, England </li></ul><ul><li>Marries Anne Hathaway (said she saved his life) </li></ul><ul><li>They have three kids: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Susanna, Hamnet and Judith </li></ul></ul><ul><li>He moves to London in 1590s </li></ul>
  27. 27. Stratford On Avon: Shakespeare’s Hometown Shakespeare’s Grammar School Trinity Church
  28. 28. London: The Big City
  29. 29. Shakespeare in London <ul><li>Became a leading actor and playwright by 1592 </li></ul><ul><li>In 1594, Romeo and Juliet was first performed -- all male actors! </li></ul><ul><li>By 1595, he’s the hottest playwright in London </li></ul><ul><li>Writes 37 plays (2 per year) </li></ul><ul><li>Performed plays in theaters, palaces, inns, and homes of nobility </li></ul><ul><li>1610 -- returned to Stratford </li></ul>
  30. 30. How Shakespeare Changed Theatre <ul><li>After -- </li></ul><ul><li>Professional </li></ul><ul><li>Adds sets, lighting, multiple stages, and the box office. </li></ul><ul><li>Theater is new, akin to the start of TV </li></ul><ul><li>Before -- </li></ul><ul><li>• Performed by roaming troupes for a meal or bed. </li></ul><ul><li>• Actors considered vagrants </li></ul><ul><li>• Performed lewd plays to religious ones. </li></ul>
  31. 31. William Shakespeare , according to many scholars, has made the greatest contribution to the English language of any writer, ever.
  32. 32. Sources: <ul><li>www.bantams.demon.co.uk/ henry%20-%20holbein.jpg </li></ul><ul><li>www.marileecody.com/ seymour-min.jpg </li></ul><ul><li>laracorsets.com/ period_gowns.htm </li></ul><ul><li>www.guggenheim.org/.../ sugimoto_bottom_index.html </li></ul><ul><li>www.pijlsnel95.nl/images/ anne%20boleyn.jpg </li></ul><ul><li>www.costumes.org/.../boehn/ janeseymour.jpg </li></ul><ul><li>www.englishhistory.net/tudor/ monarchs/howard.html </li></ul><ul><li>www.britannia.com/ bios/cparr.html </li></ul><ul><li>ntap.k12.ca.us/whs/projects/ history/elizabeth.htm </li></ul><ul><li>www.tudorhistory.org/ cleves/clevesnew.jpg </li></ul><ul><li>www.englishhistory.net/tudor/ monarchs/eliz1.html </li></ul><ul><li>www.barking-dagenham.gov.uk/.../ eh-qe1-art.jpg </li></ul><ul><li>www.calrevels.org/graphics/ ermine.jpg </li></ul><ul><li>www.bju.edu/.../dramatour/ images/shakespeare.jpg </li></ul><ul><li>www.macalester.edu/~sisk/ mind/shakespeare.jpg </li></ul><ul><li>www.stratford-upon-avon.org/ images/Arial%20vi... </li></ul><ul><li>www.nmm.ac.uk/uploads/jpg/BHC0261.jpg </li></ul><ul><li>Photos and postcards acquired by Ms. Larsen in London, 2002 </li></ul>

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