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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 l.jpg

William Shakespeare

Widely regarded as the greatest writer in English Literature

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  • 1563-1616

  • Stratford-on-Avon, England

  • wrote 37 plays

  • about 154 sonnets

  • started out as an actor

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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

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Shakespeare wrote:

  • Comedies

  • Histories

  • Tragedies

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Romeo and Juliet

  • Written about 1595

  • Considered a tragedy

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

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The Theater

  • Plays produced for the general public

  • Roofless>open air

  • No artificial lighting

  • Courtyard surrounded by 3 levels of galleries

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  • Wealthy got benches

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

  • All but wealthy were uneducated/illiterate

  • Much more interaction than today

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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

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  • No scenery

  • Settings > references in dialogue

  • Elaborate costumes

  • Plenty of props

  • Fast-paced, colorful>2 hours!

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  • 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

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Elizabethan (QE1) Words

  • An,and: If

  • Anon: Soon

  • Aye: Yes

  • But: Except for

  • E’en: Even

  • E’er: Ever

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QE1 Words (contin.)

  • Haply: Perhaps

  • Happy: Fortunate

  • Hence: Away, from her

  • Hie: Hurry

  • Marry: Indeed

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QE1 Words (contin.)

  • Whence: Where

  • Wilt: Will, will you

  • Withal: In addition to

  • Would: Wish

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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

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  • 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?

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  • The sequence of events in a literary work

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  • The plot usually begins with this:

    • introduces>>>>

      • setting

      • characters

      • basic situation

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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

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  • The struggle that develops

    • man vs. man

    • man vs. himself

    • man vs. society

    • man vs. nature

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

    • protagonist>good guy

    • antagonist>bad guy

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

    • Thus begins the falling action

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  • The end of the central conflict

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  • The final explanation or outcome of the plot

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

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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

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  • Central idea or >>

  • Insight about life which explain the downfall

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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

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Dramatic Foil

  • A character whose purpose is to show off another character

    • Benvolio for Tybalt

      • look for others in R & J

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Round characters

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

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Flat Characters

  • One-dimensional, embodying only a single trait

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

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Static Characters

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

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Dynamic Character

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

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  • 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

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  • 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.

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

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  • 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

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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?”

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Dramatic Irony

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

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Verbal Irony

  • Words used to suggest the opposite of what is meant

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Situational Irony

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

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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