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William Shakespeare's World. To be, or not to be, that is the question. This above all, to thine own self be true. William. The Man That Would Be Shakespeare. Born 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon Started out performing with “The Lord Chamberlain’s Men” Gave him a chance to write a play

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To be, or not to be, that is the question...

This above all, to thine own self be true...

the man that would be shakespeare


The Man That Would Be Shakespeare
  • Born 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon
  • Started out performing with “The Lord Chamberlain’s Men”
  • Gave him a chance to write a play
  • Henry IV, Pt. 1- It stunk but they gave him another shot
  • Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616 at the age of 52. He was buried in the church at Stratford, where his grave can still be seen today.
  • His career bridged the reigns of Elizabeth I (1558-1603) and James I (ruled 1603-1625); was a favorite of both monarchs.
  • Died wealthy and renowned.
shakespearean significance why are we so obsessed
Shakespearean Significance– Why are we so obsessed??
  • By the time he retired, Shakespeare had written 37 plays (comedies, histories, tragedies, and romances) and 154 sonnets.
  • Did he write them all??...Answer is probably yes.
  • Shaped the course of Western Literature.
  • Writes about universal truths we can all relate to (love, jealousy, ambition); understands people extremely well.
  • We quote him all the time without even knowing: “the be all and end all,” “livelong day,” “one fell swoop,” “wear my heart upon my sleeve”

The Globe

  • Many playwrights with nowhere to “play”
  • James Burbage built the first permanent theater just outside the city of London, called “The Theatre.”
  • Burbage fell behind on his rent payments for “The Theatre” and had to move it across the Thames River.
  • When it was reassembled on the other side, it became known as “The Globe.”
  • Shakespeare referred to the Globe as “The Wooden O.”

Reconstructed in the 1990’s



  • The Queen/King
  • The Groundlings!
when in a play
When in a play...
  • Only men were permitted to perform
  • Boys or effeminate men were used to play the women
  • Costumes were often the company’s most valuable asset
the cost of a show
The Cost of a Show
  • 1 shilling to stand
  • 2 shillings to sit in the balcony
  • 1 shilling was 10% of their weekly income
  • Broadway Today:
    • $85 Orchestra
    • $60 Balcony
    • 10% of a teacher’s weekly salary

The tragedy of


  • Written in 1606
  • Set in Scotland in 1200s
  • Written for King James I (formerly of Scotland, now England)
  • Shakespeare researched The Chronicles - Banquo is an ancestor of King James I
  • Shakespeare is writing to make his boss, King James I, look good.
  • Theory of the divine right: kings are given their power by God; only God can judge an unjust king
King Duncan of Scotland
    • Murdered by cousin Macbeth
    • Honest and good
  • Malcolm & Donalbain
    • Sons of the King
    • Malcolm is the eldest son
  • Macbeth
    • Duncan’s most courageous general
    • Ambition to become king corrupts him causing him to murder Duncan

The Characters

    • General and Macbeth’s best friend
    • Suspects Macbeth in Duncan’s murder
    • An actual ancestor of King James I
  • Lady Macbeth
    • As ambitious as her husband
    • A dark force behind his evil deeds
  • Macduff
    • Scottish general, suspects Macbeth of murdering the king
    • Macbeth has his family murdered
    • Swears vengeance
Definition: “Man of high standard who falls from that high because of a flaw that has affected many” - Aristotle
  • Macbeth is one of the most famous examples of the tragic hero.
shakespearean language
Shakespearean Language
  • Don’t be scared! It IS the same language, and it WILL get easier over time.
  • Some important terms:
    • Blank verse: (blank = unrhymed, verse = poetry) unrhymed iambic pentameter
    • Iambic Pentameter:
      • Iamb = unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable; e.g. be GONE!
      • Penta: 5
      • Meter: regular pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables when speaking
      • SO iambic pentameter just means 5 iambs (pairs) in a line of verse

For example: I am a pirate with a wooden leg: i AM a PI rate WITH a WOOD en LEG

“It is a tale told by an idiot” “it IS a TALE told BY an ID i OT.”

so what really happens
So what really happens?
  • Good guy goes bad
  • Guy wants power
  • Married to a pushy control freak
  • She wants power
  • Kills people- LOTS of people
  • Gets power
  • Gets paranoid (a.k.a. goes crazy)
  • Ticks off a lot of people
  • Want more power! Kill! Kill!
  • Gets what’s coming to him in the end

Best Line!

“Life’s but a walking shadow; a poor player / That struts and frets his hour upon the stage / And is heard of no more: / it is a tale Told by an idiot, / full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.”

- Act V; s.5

essential questions
Essential Questions
  • What makes this play a tragedy?
  • What is more important: fate or our own choices?
  • What does the play say about power and masculinity?
  • Watch the movie:
  • Helpful notes: