Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. The Globe Theatre. This was where Shakespeare’s play were performed. It housed everyone from common drunks to the Queen! It had no roof and plays were performed at 2pm because they had no electricity to light the stage. The Globe.
This was where Shakespeare’s play were performed. It housed everyone from common drunks to the Queen! It had no roof and plays were performed at 2pm because they had no electricity to light the stage.
The floor was muddy and made worse by people urinating on it (because they’d been to the local tavern before). You had to pay extra for a cushion on your seat (but if you had a seat you were pretty rich anyway!).
Most people watching the play were illiterate and if they didn’t understand or didn’t enjoy the play they would throw whatever was handy at the actors on the stage! Objects ranged from their shopping or shoes to clumps of wee soaked mud from the floor.
So, to ensure they didn’t get heckled off stage, Shakespeare used the most dramatic words, included some very shocking (at the time) themes and created some very intriguing and entertaining characters.
The fact that his plays are still extremely popular over four hundred years later proves he was doing something right!
The story is, of course, about a pair of star-crossed lovers. Two teenagers pursue their love for each other despite the fact that their families have been at odds with each other for decades. The story combines sword fighting, disguise, misunderstanding, tragedy, humour, and some of the most romantic language found in literature all in the name of true love.
Love at first sight – common 16th century belief that if you didn’t fall in love at first sight then you weren’t really in love.
Do a few lies here and there matter?
The Prologue – Remember the play was written to be performed, not read. Also, the majority of the audience weren’t as intelligent as you so they needed a bit of a helping hand.
The Prologue, (meaning ‘before speech’) gave them a few hints about what they were about to see and asked them to try and understand even if it didn’t all make perfect sense. Just what I’m asking you to do!
(You don’t have to belch & wee on the floor like the groundlings though... Please!)
Two households, both alike in dignity,In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
The Montagues & Capulets
Both very wealthy & powerful families.
The old feud between the families. No one knows the reason why they fell out.
The feud continues with new generations of Montagues & Capulets
Suggesting that many civilians are guilty for killing others.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foesA pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;Whole misadventured piteous overthrowsDo with their death bury their parents' strife.
Loins are your privates! What they do with their loins results in their death.
Their meeting was destined to happen through fate.
It was an adventure that went wrong
But one good thing came from it in that it stopped all the hate & bloodshed
The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,And the continuance of their parents' rage,Which, but their children's end, nought could remove,
Suggests they died at the hands of fate.
Rage at the other families. Their parents never knew of the romance until they were dead.
Only the death of their own children would make them stop hating the other family & make them call a truce.
Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage;The which if you with patient ears attend,What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.
You need to listen & be patient
If you don’t quite understand what I’ve just said in this prologue...
I’ll work hard to help you understand in the action that’s about to happen!