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William Shakespeare:. Life in the Elizabethan Theater. How much do you Already Know? True or False:. The Elizabethans were superstitious and believed the future of a person’s life was determined by the placement of the stars at that person’s birth.

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william shakespeare

William Shakespeare:

Life in the Elizabethan Theater

how much do you already know true or false
How much do you Already Know? True or False:
  • The Elizabethans were superstitious and believed the future of a person’s life was determined by the placement of the stars at that person’s birth.
  • Before coming to London, Shakespeare married an older woman who was already pregnant.
  • William Shakespeare attended Oxford University where he spent years perfecting his writing.
4. Shakespeare wrote over 150 sonnets and 38 plays.

5. When Romeo and Juliet was first performed in 1595, Juliet was played by a young boy.

6. Shakespeare’s plays came straight from his imagination.

7. Shakespeare’s theater, The Globe, burned down in 1613 and was not open again until 1997.

How’d you do?! Let’s see…

elizabethan times beliefs about the universe
Elizabethan Times:Beliefs About the Universe
  • Elizabethans believed that Earth was the center of the universe and fixed firmly in place.
  • Seven planets– the moon, Mercury, Venus, the sun, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn– rotated around Earth
  • Astrologers thought they could predict future events by knowing the conjunction of stars, and the future course of a person’s life could be known ahead of time by knowing the placement of the stars at that person’s birth (astrology).
what do you think
What do you think?
  • Do we have similar beliefs today?
  • What role will fate and predictions play in Romeo and Juliet?
the father of english
William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon.

He was born into a moderate life; his family could not afford to send him to university.

He was married to Anne Hathaway on November 28, 1582. William was 18 and Anne was 26—and pregnant.

Their first daughter, Susanna, was born on May 26, 1583. The couple later had twins, Hamnet and Judith; Hamnet died in childhood at the age of 11.

“The Father of English”
father of english continued
“Father of English”… continued
  • He wrote his first play when he was 25 years old.
  • He wrote approximately 38 plays and 154 sonnets in his lifetime.
  • Many of his plays are autobiographical: comments on the royal society or reflective of his fatherhood concerns.
  • He died in 1616 at the age of 52, most likely on his birthday.
  • He never published any of his plays. We only read them today because his actors recorded his work as a posthumous dedication to him.
other fun facts
  • William Shakespeare’s nickname: The Bard
  • All of Shakespeare’s 38 plays have been made into films
  • Shakespeare created approximately 2,000 words throughout his career, including lonely, champion, hint, tranquil, and zany
about shakespeare s plays
About Shakespeare’s Plays

Shakespeare’s plays are divided into 3 categories:


Henry IV, V, and VI, and Richard III.


A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, and As You Like It.


Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, and Othello

about romeo and juliet
About Romeo and Juliet
  • Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy about two young “star-crossed” lovers in Verona, Italy.
  • The plot of the play is revealed by the Prologue.
  • All of Shakespeare’s tragedies are in five acts, and ends with the deaths of the main characters.
      • Act I: Exposition
      • ACT II: Rising Action, complications
      • ACT III: Crisis, Turning Point
      • ACT IV: Falling Action
      • ACT V: Climax, resolution
attending shakespeare s theater
Attending Shakespeare’s Theater
  • Shakespeare’s plays were performed at the Globe Theatre in London.
  • The theater was round and covered only the outside galleries- many playgoers got wet in the frequent London rains.
attending shakespeare s theater1
Almost half of the theater-goers stood on the ground and were called “groundlings.”

People paying higher prices got seats in the galleries for their money and a roof to keep off the rain.

Attending Shakespeare’s Theater
attending shakespeare s theater2
No one went to the theater at night- the stage was in the middle of the audience and was lighted by the sun.

No women or girls acted in the plays- boys played all female parts

There was no scenery, few props, and only costumes that the actors provided for themselves.

Attending Shakespeare’s Theater

Why were women prohibited to act during this time period?

What were the established gender roles?

the globe theatre old and new
The Globe Theatre: Old and New
  • In 1613, the old Globe Theatre burned to the ground after being set on fire by a spark from a cannon during a performance of Henry VIII.
  • Reconstruction on a replica of the original Globe Theatre began in 1993 and was completed in 1996.
  • Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the Globe in May of 1997.

Image: Shakespeare’s Globe