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William Shakespeare. Early Modern England. Shakespeare’s Time: Late 16 th and early 17 th century England (1564-1616) Columbus “discovered” America in 1495. Queen Elizabeth I was ruler of England (1533-1603) and then James I (1603-1625)

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William Shakespeare

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early modern england
Early Modern England
  • Shakespeare’s Time: Late 16th and early 17th century England (1564-1616)
  • Columbus “discovered” America in 1495.
  • Queen Elizabeth I was ruler of England (1533-1603) and then James I (1603-1625)
  • Protestant Reformation: Beginning with Martin Luther in 1517, Henry VIII cut off ties with Rome by 1536 and made himself head of the church of England
  • England primarily Anglican. Religious conflict continues.
how did people in early modern england think and live
How Did People in Early Modern England Think and Live?
  • Women: many could not read, did not attend school, once married were under the legal control of a husband (Queen Elizabeth as an exception)
  • Plague, disease, and violence was common
  • Life expectancy was shorter
  • London has a growing population (Urban)
  • People believed in witches!
  • Born: Probably April 23,1564 (baptized April 26)
  • Parents: John Shakespeare and Mary Arden
  • Stratford- upon- Avon
  • Attended Stratford Grammar School
  • No University education
Married Anne Hathaway in 1582
  • Had three children: Susanna, Hamnet and Judith
  • May have spent some time teaching
  • In London by 1580s
1592: Theatres close due to plague
  • Reopens in 1594
  • Theatre company: Lord Chamberlain’s Men (Shakespeare wrote the plays!)
  • Built Globe Theatre on the Thames’ south bank.
1603: Given the title the King’s Men
  • Retired in 1612
  • Returned to Stratford (had a very successful career)
  • Died 1616
  • First Folio:1623
  • 37 plays!
robert greene groats worth of witte 1592
Robert Greene:"Groats Worth of Witte" 1592

"Yes trust them not: for there is an upstart Crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tyger's hart wrapped in a Player's hyde, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blanke verse as the best of you: and beeing an absolute Iohannes fac totum [Jack-of-all-trades, Master of none], is in his owne conceit the onely Shake-scene in a countrey. O that I might entreate your rare wits to be employed in more profitable courses: & let these Apes imitate your past excellence, and never more acquaint them with your admired inventions."

“Good friend for Jesus sake forbeareTo digg the dust encloased heareBlessed by y man y spares hes stonesAnd curst be he y moves my bones”

-written on Shakespeare’s tomb stone

“I gyve unto my wief my second best bed with the furniture”

-in Shakeapeare’s Last Will and Testament

shakespeare s theatre
Shakespeare’s Theatre
  • Anyone could watch theatre (min. price was a penny)
  • Boys and Men as actors. No women.
  • Very little set.
  • Elaborate costumes.
  • Actors had a repertoire of plays.
  • Performances during the day.




Lady Macbeth





Old Man


First Murderer

Second Murderer

Third Murderer




Lady Macduff

Son of Macduff






Weird Sisters



Three other witches


Young Siward

English Doctors

(and other Lords, soldiers, attendants, messengers etc.)

Macbeth Character List: Fill These in as we read and write down what you think they are like, what they may look like, your impressions of them etc.

online version of the play
Online Version of the Play
  • http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/macbethscenes.html
  • http://www.enotes.com/macbeth-text/
  • The first option has definitions of some terms and words
  • The second option has a modern translation next to original text!