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Widely regarded as the greatest writer in English Literature

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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 contin13
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?
  • 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
      • look for others in R & J
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
  • 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
  • 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