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William Shakespeare. (Whoever That Was) 1564-1616. Birth and Early Years. Baptized: April 26, 1564 Born: probably a few days before baptism Born in Stratford-Upon-Avon About 100 miles NW of London Education: Probably attended grammar school and church at Stratford-Upon-Avon

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william shakespeare

William Shakespeare

(Whoever That Was)


birth and early years
Birth and Early Years
  • Baptized: April 26, 1564
  • Born: probably a few days before baptism
    • Born in Stratford-Upon-Avon
      • About 100 miles NW of London
  • Education:
    • Probably attended grammar school and church at Stratford-Upon-Avon
      • Elizabethan school: began at dawn, lasted most of the day, 6 days a week. He would have learned Latin, and the classics there. There is some indication Billy did not finish school.
      • Elizabethan church: MANDATORY
what we know for sure
What We Know For Sure
  • Born c. 1564
  • Baptized 1564
  • Married to Anne Hathaway Nov 28, 1582.
  • Children: Susanna (1583), twins Hamnet and Judith (1585)
  • Probably lived in or around Stratford until 1585.
  • Died c. 1616
  • There are some killer poems and plays attributed to him. (1585-1613)
  • Joined and became part owner Lord Chamberlin’s men (later called The Kings’ Men), a theater troupe. (c. 1585-1592)
    • Shakespeare acted and wrote plays for this group.
elizabethan society
Elizabethan Society
  • The English Renaissance
    • cultural and artistic movement in England dating from the early 16th century to the early 17th century.
    • More about music and literature, as opposed to Italian Rennaissance, which had notable visual arts
    • “The Age of Shakespeare,” or “The Elizabethan Era”
  • Religion
    • There was an uneasy truce between Catholics and Protestants in 16th century England.
      • Historically, the Catholic Church held about as much power as the king
      • Elizabeth recognized the Church of England (protestant) and put herself in charge of it.
  • The Arts
    • In particular, the puritans, a sect of Protestantism, were very much against the theater, perceiving it as a den of vice and generally a distraction from the Lord.
    • Fortunately for Billy Boy, Queen Elizabeth loved the theater, despite being Protestant! And so the show went on…
elizabethan theater
Elizabethan Theater
  • Comedy – Everyone gets married at the end.
          • More like what we call “romantic comedy”
  • Tragedy – Everyone dies at the end.
          • The main character either “falls to ruin” or is killed
          • Often the protagonist’s fate is a result of a flaw in their character, or a moral weakness
            • This is known as a tragic flaw.
  • History – Stories about Kings. Sometimes serialized (like a soap opera)
  • 5 Act plays and the 5 elements of plot
    • I: Exposition IV: Falling Action
    • II: Rising Action V: Resolution and Denoument
    • III: Climax
the globe theater1
The Globe Theater

Basically a thrust stage, with audience on all three sides

Very little in the way of a set; great costumes though!

Creating the world of the play relied on compelling and descriptive language

Thousands of attendees, representing all levels of society

“Cheap Seats” in the pit



Cost of a play – about a penny

    • Blue collar workers made about 5-6 pennies a day; rent was about 12 pennies (a shilling)
  • Attendees typically not as well behaved as a modern audience
  • Theater was considered to be somewhat unseemly; the Globe was built on the outskirts of town
romeo and juliet
Romeo and Juliet
  • Written and originally performed c. 1596
    • Makes it one of Billy’s earlier works
  • R and J is a Tragedy
    • “Two star-cross’dlovers take their life”
  • Setting
    • 15th Century Verona
      • (A city in Italy)
    • Before Italy was a unified country
      • City-States, ruled by noblemen (Dukes)
    • Two feuding families
      • Montagues (Romeo’s family)
      • Capulets (Juliet’s family)
why do they talk to funny
Why do they talk to funny?
  • 1) Language changes – the meanings and associated meanings of words change over time.
  • 2) Figurative Language – metaphors, puns, imagery, etc.
  • 3) Blank Verse (unrhymed iambic pentameter)
  • 4) Allusions – things that were hip in the 16th century are now pretty obscure!
note time
Note Time!
  • Make a page in your notebook for “Shakespeare Vocabulary”
  • Take notes over pages 986-987 in your textbook
  • Written/performed c. 1605
    • At the height of Shakespeare’s and his company’s popularity
  • “The Scottish Play”
    • Commissioned by then king of Scotland
    • Set in Scotland- 11th century (c. 1040AD)
    • Costume considerations
  • Would have been originally performed in private halls, to wealthy crowds (so NOT in the Globe)