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Introduction to Shakespeare & Julius Caesar. Overview of the Life of William Shakespeare. Lived from 1564-1616 Important member of Lord Chamberlain’s Men starting in 1594 Many gaps in the knowledge of his life. Some speculate that he was not legitimate

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overview of the life of william shakespeare
Overview of the Life of William Shakespeare
  • Lived from 1564-1616
  • Important member of Lord Chamberlain’s Men starting in 1594
  • Many gaps in the knowledge of his life.
  • Some speculate that he was not legitimate
  • Others consider him the greatest writer of all time
shakespeare s early life
Shakespeare’s Early Life
  • Only 2 primary sources can identify his existence: church and court records
  • No birth record exists.
  • Baptized April 26, 1564 (Estimated birthday: April 23)
  • 3rd child of John Shakespeare and Mary Arden
  • Most likely attended King’s New School
shakespeare s married life
Shakespeare’s Married Life
  • Married Anne Hathaway in November 1582
  • He was 18; she was 26
  • First child, Susanna, born in May 1583
  • Twins born in 1585: Hamnet & Judith
  • Hamnet died at age 11
shakespeare s lost years
Shakespeare’s Lost Years
  • No record of Shakespeare’s life from 1585-1592
  • Called “lost years”
  • Could have been hiding for poaching game
  • Could have worked as assistant schoolmaster in Lancashire
  • Arrived in London in mid to late 1580s
shakespeare joins the theater
Shakespeare Joins the Theater
  • 1592- Earning a living as actor and playwright in London
  • Early 1590s: Managing partner in Lord Chamberlain’s Men
  • Lord Chamberlain’s Men became the King’s Men in 1603
  • Greatly involved in the Elizabethan and Jacobean courts
  • Wrote plays dedicated to and inspired by Queen Elizabeth and King James
shakespeare as playwright
Shakespeare As Playwright
  • Published 15 of 37 plays by 1597
  • Purchased New House for his family
  • Rarely visited Stratford
  • 1599: Built theater on the Thames River with partners
  • This is the well-known Globe Theater
the globe theater
The Globe Theater


Inner Stage

The “Heavens”

Tiring House

Upper Stage

Main Stage



Open Yard

the globe theater1
The Globe Theater
  • The “Wooden O”
  • Held up to 3,000 people
  • Opened in 1599 with “As You Like It”
  • 1613: Accidental fire
  • 1614: Reconstructed
  • 1642: Puritans shut down the Globe
  • 1644: Leveled for housing
  • 1993: New Globe opens
shakespeare s writing style
Shakespeare’s Writing Style
  • Early Works:
    • Conventional
    • Elaborate metaphors
    • Rhetorical phrases didn’t always align
  • Later Works:
    • Adapted traditional style to his purposes
    • Created a freer flow of words
  • Preferred Unrhymed Iambic Pentameter
  • Used writing style to indicate social class
    • Iambic Pentameter for royalty
    • Simple prose for lower class
early works histories comedies
Early Works: Histories & Comedies
  • Early 1590s: first plays were mainly histories
    • Exception: Romeo & Juliet
    • Included Richard II, Henry VI, and Henry V
  • The Early Period also includes comedies
    • Comedies often had a great deal of romance
    • A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, and Twelfth Night
later works tragedies tragicomedies
Later Works: Tragedies & Tragicomedies
  • After 1600, Shakespeare wrote tragedies:
    • Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, and Macbeth
    • Strong impressions of universal temperaments
    • Moral failures drove the twists/turns that destroyed the hero and his loved ones
  • Several tragicomedies
    • Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest
    • Graver topics than earlier comedies but not as dark as the tragedies
    • End with reconciliation and/or forgiveness
shakespeare s death
Shakespeare’s Death
  • Church records indicate Shakespeare was buried April 5, 1616
  • Left bulk of possessions to eldest daughter Susanna
  • Only bequeathed Anne his “second-best bed”
    • Speculation of meaning
      • Could show their lack of closeness/relationship
      • “First-best bed” was used for house guests and “second-best bed” was the marital bed
controversy legacy
Controversy &Legacy
  • Questioning Authorship
    • About 150 years following Shakespeare’s death
    • Several theories are discussed
    • Official records show the existence of a W. Shakespeare, but he’s not listed as a playwright
    • Lack of education is biggest issue
  • Many scholars have argued that a multitude of playwrights could be Shakespeare.
    • Christopher Marlowe, Edward de Vere (an Earl), Sir Francis Bacon, or William Stanley (an Earl)
christopher marlowe
Christopher Marlowe
  • Born in 1564 and in the same social class
  • University educated
  • Talented translator 
  • Atheist
  • Similar writing style
  • Killed in a bar fight in 1593 "over an unpaid bill"
  • Assassinated?
  • Staged?
shakespeare s julius caesar
Shakespeare's Julius Caesar
  • One of Shakespeare's tragedies
  • First performed at the Globe Theater in 1599
  • Published in 1623 First Folio
  • Source: a translation of Plutarch'sLives (especially Brutus and Caesar)
  • Elizabethan England was entranced by Romans
shakespeare s julius caesar1
Shakespeare's Julius Caesar
  • Based on assassination of Julius Caesar and the civil war that follows
  • Anachronisms: hats, doublets, clocks, other common items in Elizabethean England
  • Special connection to contemporary Elizabethan politics
  • Tragic Hero: Not Caesar, but Brutus. 
    • A sympathetic portrayal of the traitorous friend.
group research on rome
Group Research on Rome
  • Group 1: Caesar's assassination, include pre- and post events
  • Group 2: Roman Senate/ Roman government before and during Caesar's rule
  • Group 3: Julius Caesar, person and leader
  • Group 4: Marcus Brutus, person and leader
  • Group 5: Marc Anthony, person and leader
  • Group 6: Plutarch'sLife of Brutus, the source