The Man That Would Be Shakespeare 1564-1616 Stratford-on-Avon, England He wrote 37 plays & 154 sonnets He started out as an actor Background of the Bard Born April, 1564 in Stratford on Avon Parents John & Mary Shakespeare Educated at Stratford Grammar School Learned business as an apprentice for his father Married Anne Hathaway November 28, 1582 She was 8 years his senior and 3 months pregnant when they married Well-known Facts about Will • Great writer of England • Plays translated into all languages, musicals, ballets • Born Stratford-uponAvon • Well-to-do, affluent while alive • Most quoted, other than the Bible Lesser-known Facts • Teen father: married pregnant 26 year old Anne Hathaway when he was 18 • Deadbeat dad: Left wife and children for London stage career • Father of twins • Elizabethan rapper: uses rhythm and rhyme • “Plagiarism” ? Queen Elizabeth I – ( 1558-1603 ) Ruled England for 45 years. Nicknamed “the Virgin Queen” and produced no heir to the throne Restored Protestantism and formalized the Church of England During her reign, the economy was weakened by inflation, food shortages, and high rent. Outbreak of the black plague, food riots, Catholic conspiracies, threats of invasion, etc. During the Elizabethan Period, hundreds of people were convicted as witches and executed King James I – ( 1603-1628 ) Renamed Shakespeare’’s acting troupe “The King’s Men” Believed in the supernatural and interested in witchcraft Religious and believed in the existence of supernatural evil Commissioned a translation of the bible from Latin to English Published a book about witchcraft called “Demonologie“ in 1597 The Renaissance • 1500-1650 • “Rebirth” of arts, culture, science • Discovery of “New World” • Copernicus: Suncentered Universe (1543) • King Henry VIII = renaissance man (ideal) • Reformation of Catholic Church Witches and witchcraft were a morbid fascination Between 1560-1603, hundreds of people (nearly all women) were convicted as witches and executed Witches could predict the future, bring on daytime and nighttime, cause fogs and storms, and change into animals If convicted, people would be subjected to torture and death by hanging or burning at the stake King James I was fascinated by witchcraft Signs of possession were: trance, change of appearance, inability to pray, visions, disturbed behavior, lack of fear, indifference to life, and invitations to evil spirits to possess one’s body. Shakespeare’s audience were religious Christians who believed in heaven and hell Conditions in London-BAD! • Thames River polluted with raw sewage • Trees used up for fuel • Poverty Personal hygiene/health • • • • • • Bathing considered dangerous Body odor strong Childhood diseases Children often died before 5 years Small Pox Bubonic Plague Living Conditions QuickTime™ and a GIF decompr essor are needed to see this picture. • No running water • Chamber Pots • Open Sewers • Crowded Clothes QuickTime™ and a Photo - JPEG decompressor are needed to see this picture. • One set used all year long, rarely washed • Underclothing slept in, infrequently changed • Clothes handed down from rich to poor When in a play... Only men were permitted to perform Boys or effeminate men were used to play the women Costumes were often the company’s most valuable asset Costumes were made by the company, bought in London, or donated by courtiers Staging Areas Stage -- platform that extended into the pit Dressing & storage rooms in galleries behind & above stage Second-level gallery & upper stage -- famous balcony scene in R & J Trap door -ghosts “Heavens”- angelic beings English Theater Plays were most often performed in outdoor theaters Performances took place during the day so that the stage would be illuminated by natural light The Globe Theater THE GLOBE THEATER Built in 1599 The most magnificent theater in London Shakespeare was 1/5 owner He earned 10% of the total profit, approximately £200-250 a year The Bard retired to Stratford and lived on the profits he earned from the Globe June 19, 1613 the Globe burned to the ground during a performance of Henry VIII The Globe Theater – Many of Shakespeare’s plays were performed here The stage was a large, rectangle that jutted out into the yard Held 2,000-3,000 people tightly packed An open playhouse with a wooden structure three stories high It was shaped like a 16 sided polygon General admission = 1 Penny entitled a spectator to be a “groundling”-someone who could stand in the yard. More expensive seats were in the roofed galleries and most expensive seats were chairs set right on the stage along its two sides Rebuilt in 1900’s Aristocrats The Queen/King The Groundlings! Actors Only men and boys allowed onstage Young boys whose voices had not changed play women’s roles It would have been considered indecent for a woman to appear on stage Differences No scenery Settings > references in dialogue Elaborate costumes Plenty of props Fast-paced, colorful>2 hours! Spectators Wealthy got benches “Groundlings”>poorer people stood and watched from the courtyard (“pit”) All but wealthy were uneducated/illiterate Much more interaction than today The Cost of a Show 1 shilling to stand 2 shillings to sit in the balcony 1 shilling was 10% of their weekly income Broadway Today: $85 Orchestra $60 Balcony 10% of a teacher’s weekly salary The Plays Early plays, 1590’s, were mainly comedy Comedy (and this could be extended to most of Shakespeare's history plays as well) is social--leading to a happy resolution (usually a marriage or marriages) and social unification. Shakespeare began to focus on tragedy/dramatic themes in the early 1600’s Tragedy is individual, concentrating on the suffering of a single, remarkable hero-leading to individual torment, waste and death 1608 marks a change in tone from tragedy to romance, light, magic, and reconciliation Comedy of Errors 1592 The Taming of the Shrew 1592-94 Love's Labor's Lost 1594-95 Two Gentlemen of Verona 1594-95 A Midsummer Night's Dream 1595-96 The Merchant of Venice 1596-97 Much Ado About Nothing 1598-99 As You Like It 1599-1600 Twelfth Night 1599-1600 Merry Wives of Windsor 1601-02 Troilus and Cressida 1601-02 All's Well That Ends Well 1602-03 Measure for Measure 1604-05 Titus Andronicus 1593-94 Romeo and Juliet 1594-95 Hamlet 1600-01 Othello 1604-05 The Tragedy of King Lear 1605-06 Macbeth 1605-06 Timon of Athens 1607-(?) Cymbeline 1609-10 The Winter's Tale 1610-11 Tempest 1611-12 Henry VI parts I, II, III 1590-92 Richard III 1590-92 King John 1594-96 Richard II 1597-(?) King Henry IV part I, part II 1597-98 Henry V (1599) 1598-99 Julius Caesar 1599-1600 Henry VIII 1613-(?) Antony and Cleopatra 1606-07 Coriolanus 1607-08 Aristotle’s Definition of trAgeDy A man of high standard who falls from that high because of a tragic flaw that has affected many” ***Macbeth is one of the most famous examples of the tragic hero. Prose Ordinary writing that is not poetry, drama, or song Only characters in the lower social classes speak this way in Shakespeare’s plays Why do you suppose that is? Did people really talk this way? Prose- language without metrical structure Verse- poetic language and style Blank Verse: unrhymed iambic pentameter. Iambic Pentameter: five beats of alternating unstressed and stressed syllables; ten syllables per line. 'So fair / and foul / a day / I have / not seen' Shakespeare will be some of the most difficult reading you will ever attempt. BE PATIENT! Middle English vs. Modern English Reading Tips 1. Read the Introduction 2. Read everything twice 3. First time- try reading without looking at footnotes, mark any interesting or difficult items 4. Try reading aloud 5. Look up words you don’t know 6. Keep a list of characters Set in Scotland Written for King James I (formerly of Scotland, now England) Queen of Denmark (James’s sister) was visiting Shakespeare researched The Chronicles – Banquo is an ancestor of King James I “The Scottish Play” It is believed to be bad luck to even squeak the word ‘Macbeth’ in a theatre Legend has it you will lose all your friends involved in the production—horribly. Since 1606, hundreds of actors, stage crew, etc. have been hurt or have died during the production of this play. It is believed that Shakespeare included black magic spells in the incantations of the weird sisters. People refer to this play as “the Scottish Play” The only remedy to get rid of this curse is that the offender must step outside, turn around three times, spit, and whisper a foul word, and wait for permission to re-enter the theater.