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William Shakespeare. Widely regarded as the greatest writer in English Literature. Shakespeare. 1563-1616 Stratford-on-Avon, England wrote 37 plays about 154 sonnets started out as an actor. Stage Celebrity. Actor for Lord Chamberlain’s Men (London theater co.)

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William Shakespeare

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William shakespeare

William Shakespeare

Widely regarded as the greatest writer in English Literature



  • 1563-1616

  • Stratford-on-Avon, England

  • wrote 37 plays

  • about 154 sonnets

  • started out as an actor

Stage celebrity

Stage Celebrity

  • Actor for Lord Chamberlain’s Men (London theater co.)

  • Also > principal playwright for them

  • 1599> Lord Ch. Co. built Globe Theater where most of Sh. Play’s were performed

Shakespeare wrote

Shakespeare wrote:

  • Comedies

  • Histories

  • Tragedies

Romeo and juliet

Romeo and Juliet

  • Written about 1595

  • Considered a tragedy

  • West Side Story (Movie) based on R&J

The theater

The Theater

  • Plays produced for the general public

  • Roofless>open air

  • No artificial lighting

  • Courtyard surrounded by 3 levels of galleries



  • Wealthy got benches

  • “Groundlings”>poorer people stood and watched from the courtyard (“pit”)

  • All but wealthy were uneducated/illiterate

  • Much more interaction than today

Staging areas

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



  • No scenery

  • Settings > references in dialogue

  • Elaborate costumes

  • Plenty of props

  • Fast-paced, colorful>2 hours!



  • Only men and boys

  • Young boys whose voices had not changed play women’s roles

  • Would have been considered indecent for a woman to appear on stage

Elizabethan qe1 words

Elizabethan (QE1) Words

  • An,and: If

  • Anon: Soon

  • Aye: Yes

  • But:Except for

  • E’en:Even

  • E’er: Ever

Qe1 words contin

QE1 Words (contin.)

  • Haply:Perhaps

  • Happy:Fortunate

  • Hence:Away, from her

  • Hie:Hurry

  • Marry:Indeed

Qe1 words contin1

QE1 Words (contin.)

  • Whence:Where

  • Wilt:Will, will you

  • Withal:In addition to

  • Would:Wish

Blank verse

Blank Verse

  • Much of R & J is written in it:

    • unrhymed verse

    • iambic (unstressed, stressed)

    • pentameter( 5 “feet” to a line)

      • ends up to be 10 syllable lines



  • 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?

William shakespeare


  • The sequence of events in a literary work



  • The plot usually begins with this:

    • introduces>>>>

      • setting

      • characters

      • basic situation

Inciting moment

Inciting Moment

  • Often called “initial incident”

    • the first bit of action that occurs which begins the plot

    • Romeo and Juliet “lock eyes” at the party



  • The struggle that develops

    • man vs. man

    • man vs. himself

    • man vs. society

    • man vs. nature



  • The point where the protagonist’s situation will either get better or worse

    • protagonist>good guy

    • antagonist>bad guy



  • The turning point of the story>everything begins to unravel from here

    • Thus begins the falling action



  • The end of the central conflict



  • The final explanation or outcome of the plot

    • If this is included in literature, it will occur after the resolution.

Tragedy shakespearean

Tragedy (Shakespearean)

  • Drama where the central character/s suffer disaster/great misfortune

    • In many tragedies, downfall results from>

      • Fate

      • Character flaw/Fatal flaw

      • Combination of the two



  • Central idea or >>

  • Insight about life which explain the downfall

Metaphorical language

Metaphorical Language

  • Comparison of unlike things >

    • Paris standing over the “lifeless body” of Juliet, “Sweet flower, with flowers thy bridal bed I strew…”

    • “Thou detestable maw…”Gorged with the dearest morsel of the earth…” Romeo

Dramatic foil

Dramatic Foil

  • A character whose purpose is to show off another character

    • Benvolio for Tybalt

      • Brutus and Marc Antony

      • Macbeth and Banquo

Round characters

Round characters

  • Characters who have many personality traits, like real people.

Flat characters

Flat Characters

  • One-dimensional, embodying only a single trait

    • Shakespeare often uses them to provide comic relief even in a tragedy

Static characters

Static Characters

  • Characters within a story who remain the same. They do not change. They do not change their minds, opinions or character.

Dynamic character

Dynamic Character

  • Characters that change somehow during the course of the plot. They generally change for the better.



  • One person speaking on stage > may be other character on stage too

    • ex > the Prince of Verona commanding the Capulets and Montagues to cease feuding

    • Mercutio’s “Queen Mab”



  • Long speech expressing the thoughts of a character alone on stage. In R & J, Romeo gives a soliloquy after the servant has fled and Paris has died.



  • Words spoken, usually in an undertone not intended to be heard by all characters

William shakespeare


  • Shakespeare loved to use them!!!

    • Humorous use of a word with two meanings > sometimes missed by the reader because of Elizabethan language and sexual innuendo

Direct address

Direct Address

  • Words that tell the reader who is being addressed:

  • “A right fair mark, fair coz, is soonest hit.”

  • “Ah, my mistresses, which of you all/ Will now deny to dance?”

Dramatic irony

Dramatic Irony

  • A contradiction between what a character thinks and what the reader/audience knows to be true

Verbal irony

Verbal Irony

  • Words used to suggest the opposite of what is meant

Situational irony

Situational Irony

  • An event occurs that directly contradicts the expectations of the characters, the reader, or the audience

Comic relief

Comic Relief

  • Use of comedy within literature that is NOT comedy to provide “relief” from seriousness or sadness.

  • In R & J, look for moments of comic relief that help “relieve” the tragedy of the situation

  • Porter scene in Macbeth

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