Hmm . . . so why do we have to read this stuff anyway? • I mean, he’s just some dead old guy. • What makes his stuff so great that we keep reading it 400 years later? • And another thing. I don’t get his language – all that old English stuff. • Why can’t he just talk English? So, what if we told you that The Simpsons is a modern-day equivalent to Shakespeare? What? How can that be? Shakespeare The Simpsons Both appealed to wide audiences •Wrote between the late 1500’s and early 1600’s •Produced between the late ‘80’s and now Both contain low brow humor – slapstick, body language type •Shakespeare’s plays Were performed for both •The Simpsons is a cartoon Queen Elizabeth and then King James when he took the throne Both contain sophisticated humor •A team of people create it •Shakespeare Both use allusions (references to wrote plays well-known people, historical events, or stories) to help people understand the events or even laugh Both create characters and situations that reflect what people’s daily struggles are like So, what does an ordinary guy like me need to know to get this stuff? • Shakespeare wrote about human experiences we can still relate to like war, power, love, betrayal, friendship, greed, suicide, and prejudice. • Shakespeare invented countless words and expressions we still use today. • Shakespeare’s plays still inspire modern movies today. • His works are known worldwide by people of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds. Who was Shakespeare? • Born on April 23, 1564 in Stratfordupon-Avon, England. • Died April 23, 1616. • He married Anne Hathaway and had three children: Susana, Judith, and Hamnet. Shakespeare’s Career • Worked in London as actor, writer, and part owner of the theater company, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men. • Wrote many sonnets. – What is a sonnet? • A fourteen-lined poem with a carefully patterned rhyme scheme • Wrote three types of plays: Histories, Comedies, and Tragedies. Shakespeare's Theater • The Globe opened in 1599. • There was no curtain and very few props. • Bladders of pig’s blood could be punctured during stage fights for special effects. • Costumes were an elaborate explosion of color. Shakespeare’s Actors • Professional actors were admired and went through rigorous training. • Actors usually had no more than two weeks to learn a new production. • Actors played the same kind of role in each play – They specialized in one type of character. No Women Allowed! • Adolescent boys trained to play female parts until puberty because women were not allowed to take part in theatre – women’s innocence and purity needed to be protected. Shakespeare’s Audience • Shakespeare’s plays were for everyone! • Commoners paid a penny to watch from the ground. • Nearly 1000 people could stand there, and as bathing was uncommon in those days, you can imagine the result. • The wealthy paid more to sit in the balcony. Watching the Plays • People ate and drank during performances, even buying snacks and beer from peddlers. • Spectators wanted thrills and horrors, but they also enjoyed a good laugh or a good cry. • In fact, if they were disappointed, they’d throw apples or shout obscenities! Pictures of the Globe I think I get it now . . . • Shakespeare was a big deal in Elizabethan England because his plays were so exciting and packed full of comedy and tragedy. • Today his works are still entertaining and we can even relate to the themes he wrote about back in the 1500s and 1600s!