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Shakespeare. William Shakespeare. Widely regarded as the greatest writer in English Literature. Shakespeare. 1563-1616 Stratford-on-Avon, England wrote 37 plays about 154 sonnets started out as an actor. Stage Celebrity. Actor for Lord Chamberlain’s Men (London theater co.)

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william shakespeare

William Shakespeare

Widely regarded as the greatest writer in English Literature

  • 1563-1616
  • Stratford-on-Avon, England
  • wrote 37 plays
  • about 154 sonnets
  • started out as an actor
stage celebrity
Stage Celebrity
  • Actor for Lord Chamberlain’s Men (London theater co.)
  • Also > principal playwright for them
  • 1599> Lord Ch. Co. built Globe Theater where most of Sh. Play’s were performed
shakespeare wrote
Shakespeare wrote:
  • Comedies
  • Histories
  • Tragedies
the theater
The Theater
  • Plays produced for the general public
  • Roofless>open air
  • No artificial lighting
  • Courtyard surrounded by 3 levels of galleries
  • Wealthy got benches
  • “Groundlings”>poorer people stood and watched from the courtyard (“pit”)
  • All but wealthy were uneducated/illiterate
  • Much more interaction than today
  • Only men and boys
  • Young boys whose voices had not changed play women’s roles
  • Would have been considered indecent for a woman to appear on stage
  • No scenery
  • Settings > references in dialogue
  • Elaborate costumes
  • Plenty of props
  • Fast-paced, colorful>2 hours!
romeo and juliet
Romeo and Juliet
  • Written about 1595
  • Considered a tragedy
  • West Side Story (Movie) based on R&J
blank verse
Blank Verse
  • Much of R & J is written in it:
    • unrhymed verse
    • iambic (unstressed, stressed)
    • pentameter( 5 “feet” to a line)
      • ends up to be 10 syllable lines
  • Ordinary writing that is not poetry, drama, or song
    • Only characters in the lower social classes speak this way in Shakespeare’s plays
    • Why do you suppose that is?
tragedy shakespearean
Tragedy (Shakespearean)
  • Drama where the central character/s suffer disaster/great misfortune
    • In many tragedies, downfall results from>
      • Fate
      • Character flaw/Fatal flaw
      • Combination of the two
metaphorical language
Metaphorical Language
  • Comparison of unlike things >
    • Paris standing over the “lifeless body” of Juliet, “Sweet flower, with flowers thy bridal bed I strew…”
    • “Thou detestable maw…”Gorged with the dearest morsel of the earth…” Romeo
dramatic foil
Dramatic Foil
  • A character whose purpose is to show off another character
    • Benvolio for Tybalt
      • look for others in R & J
static characters
Static Characters
  • Characters within a story who remain the same. They do not change. They do not change their minds, opinions or character.
dynamic character
Dynamic Character
  • Characters that change somehow during the course of the plot. They generally change for the better.
  • One person speaking on stage > may be other character on stage too
    • ex > the Prince of Verona commanding the Capulets and Montagues to cease feuding
  • Long speech expressing the thoughts of a character alone on stage. In R & J, Romeo gives a soliloquy after the servant has fled and Paris has died.
  • Words spoken, usually in an undertone not intended to be heard by all characters
dramatic irony
Dramatic Irony
  • A contradiction between what a character thinks and what the reader/audience knows to be true
comic relief
Comic Relief
  • Use of comedy within literature to provide “relief” from seriousness or sadness.
  • In R & J, look for moments of comic relief that help “relieve” the tragedy of the situation
elizabethan language
Elizabethan Language
  • Type of speech spoken and written by Shakespeare
  • Many words now “Extinct”
  • Many words spelled differently than modern translations