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Shakespeare: His Life and Times. Adapted from\_321\_S2005/Introduction.ppt. Early Life. (Probably) Born April 23, 1564 Died April 23, 1616 Lived in Stratford-upon-Avon, England He was the 3rd born of 8 children Parents:

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shakespeare his life and times
Shakespeare: His Life and Times

Adapted from

early life
Early Life
  • (Probably) Born April 23, 1564
  • Died April 23, 1616
  • Lived in Stratford-upon-Avon, England
  • He was the 3rd born of 8 children
  • Parents:
    • Mary—daughter of wealthy landowner
    • John—glovemaker, local politician
location of stratford upon avon
Location of Stratford-upon-Avon


stratford upon avon in shakespeare s time
Stratford-upon-Avon in Shakespeare’s Time

As reproduced in William Rolfe, Shakespeare the Boy (1896).

stratford upon avon today
Stratford-upon-Avon Today

From Stratford’s web site:

shakespeare s birthplace
Shakespeare’s Birthplace


  • Thought to have attended King’s New School in Stratford
  • Left school at age 15
  • Educated in:
      • Rhetoric
      • Logic
      • History
      • Latin
king s new school
King’s New School


married life
Married Life
  • At 18, he married 26 year-old Anne Hathaway, who was pregnant at the time with their first daughter
  • First daughter was born in 1582
  • They had twins in 1585
  • Around 1587, they moved to London and William began working in theatre.
anne hathaway s cottage
Anne Hathaway’s Cottage


the poet
The Poet
  • He was first a successful poet, and published poetry in 1593
  • Two major poems:
      • Venus and Adonis
      • Rape of Lucrece
  • 154 Sonnets
  • Nickname: The Bard of Avon
the actor
The Actor
  • Member and later part-owner of an acting group called the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, later called the King’s Men
  • This successful group eventually decided to build a theatre that would bring together the social elite as well as common peasants… THE GLOBE THEATRE!
the playwright
The Playwright
  • 38 plays firmly attributed to Shakespeare:
      • 14 comedies
      • 10 histories
      • 10 tragedies
      • 4 romances
  • Collaborated on several others
  • Many of his plays were performed at the Globe Theatre
the globe theatre1
The Globe Theatre
  • Built in 1598 by Lord Chamberlain’s Men, with Shakespeare as primary investor
  • Open-air, octagonal amphitheater that could seat up to 3000
  • In 1613, the Globe burned down during a canon fire during Henry VII
  • It was rebuilt, only to be shut down by the Puritans in 1642
  • The new and improved Globe Theatre opened in May 1997 thanks to Queen Elizabeth II!
shakespeare s language
Shakespeare’s Language
  • Shakespeare did NOT write in “Old English.”
  • Old English is the language of Beowulf
  • (written in the 8th century):
    • “Hwaet! We Gardena in geardagum
    • Þeodcyninga Þrym gefrunon
    • Hu ða æÞelingas ellen fremedon!”
  • (Hey! We have heard of the glory of the Spear-Danes in the old days, the kings of tribes, how noble princes showed great courage!)
shakespeare s language1
Shakespeare’s Language
  • Shakespeare did NOT write in “Middle English.”
  • Middle English is the language of Chaucer, the Gawain-poet, and Malory (14th century):
    • We redeth oft and findeth y-write—
    • And this clerkes wele it wite—
    • Layes that ben in harping
    • Ben y-founde of ferli thing…
    • (Sir Orfeo)
shakespeare s language2
Shakespeare’s Language
  • Shakespeare wrote in
  • “Early Modern English.”
  • Shakespeare wrote most of his
  • works in the late 16th century and
  • into the early 17th century!
  • EME wasn’t very different from
  • “Modern English,” and Shakespeare
  • helped standardize the style of
  • today’s language.
shakespeare s language3
Shakespeare’s Language
  • Shakespeare coined many words we still use today:
    • Critical
    • Majestic
    • Dwindle
  • And quite a few phrases as well:
    • One fell swoop
    • Flesh and blood
    • Vanish into thin air
    • With bated breath


historical context
Historical Context
  • The Renaissance
    • -Cultural rebirth of Europe: music, art, lit
    • -14th - 17th centuries
  • Elizabethan Age
    • Named after Queen Elizabeth I
    • Ruled from 1558 - 1603
    • Her love and interest in the arts
    • influenced the time period
Theatrical Conventions
  • No electricity =

daytime only shows

  • Women forbidden

to act on stage

  • No scene changes
  • Minimal props & costume

These factors influenced the performance.

Theatrical Conventions
  • Soliloquy
  • Aside
  • Monologue
  • Dialogue

Types of speech

  • Blood and gore
  • Use of supernatural

Scare tactics

Theatrical Conventions
  • Use of disguises /

mistaken identity

  • Last speaker—highest in

rank (in tragedies)

  • Multiple murders

(in tragedies)

  • Multiple marriages

(in comedies)

Theatrical Conventions

Ultimately, Shakespeare delivered what would keep the audience intrigued:

  • Controversial Topics
  • Humor
  • Sex / Sexuality
  • Parties & Celebrations
  • Deaths & Action