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Shakespeare: His Life and Times

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  1. Shakespeare: His Life and Times Adapted from

  2. Early Life • Born 1564—died 1616 • Stratford-upon-Avon • Parents: John and Mary Arden Shakespeare • Mary—daughter of wealthy landowner • John—glovemaker, local politician

  3. Location of Stratford-upon-Avon From:

  4. Stratford-on-Avon in Shakespeare’s Time As reproduced in William Rolfe, Shakespeare the Boy (1896).

  5. Stratford-upon-Avon Today From Stratford’s web site:

  6. Shakespeare’s Birthplace From:

  7. Education • Probably attended King’s New School in Stratford • Educated in: • Rhetoric • Logic • History • Latin

  8. King’s New School From:

  9. Married Life • Married in 1582 to Anne Hathaway, who was pregnant at the time with their first daughter • Had twins in 1585 • Sometime between 1585-1592, he moved to London and began working in theatre.

  10. Anne Hathaway’s Cottage From:

  11. Theatre Career • Member and later part-owner of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, later called the King’s Men • Globe Theater built in 1599 by L.C.M. with Shakespeare as primary investor • Burned down in 1613 during one of Shakespeare’s plays

  12. The Rebuilt Globe Theater, London

  13. The Globe Theater

  14. Globe Playhouse, London

  15. The Globe Theatre • The "hell" at the bottom was a space for devils and others to emerge. • Roof or covering was called "the heavens."

  16. The Globe Theatre • Yard of the Globe was 80' in diameter; held 800 spectators. • "Groundlings" in front of the stage were rowdy.

  17. The Globe Theatre Platform for the thrust stage was 40' wide. The theatre probably held 1500 people in the galleries, making 2300 in all.

  18. The Plays • 38 plays firmly attributed to Shakespeare • 14 comedies • 10 histories • 10 tragedies • 4 romances • Possibly wrote three others • Collaborated on several others

  19. The Poetry • 154 Sonnets • Numerous other poems

  20. Shakespeare’s Language • Shakespeare did NOT write in “Old English.” • Old English is the language of Beowulf: • 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!)

  21. Shakespeare’s Language • Shakespeare did not write in “Middle English.” • Middle English is the language of Chaucer, the Gawain-poet, and Malory: • 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)

  22. Shakespeare’s Language • Shakespeare wrote in “Early Modern English.” • EME was not very different from “Modern English,”

  23. Shakespeare’s Language • A mix of old and very new • Rural and urban words/images • Understandable by the lowest peasant and the highest noble • Iambic pentameter

  24. New Words • Solidified the English language • Dante did the same for Italian • Luther and Goethe did the same for German • Used nouns as verbs • Over 2000 new words • critical, aggravate, assassination • monumental, castigate, countless • Obscene, forefathers, frugal, hurry • Majestic, homicide, summit, reliance • Coined Phrases

  25. "Shakespeare had a huge vocabulary. In the collected editions of his works--the first folio that was published seven years after his death--there are 27,000 different, individual words. In the King James translation of the Bible, which was published twelve years earlier, there are 7,000 words." --Excerpt from Professor Peter Saccio's course "Shakespeare: The Word and The Action"

  26. Elizabethan Theatrical Conventions

  27. Theatrical Conventions of Shakespeare's Theatre A theatrical convention is a suspension of reality. • No electricity • Women forbidden to act on stage • Minimal, contemporary costumes • Minimal scenery These control the dialogue.

  28. Theatrical Conventions of Shakespeare's Theatre • Soliloquy • Aside Types of speech Audience loves to be scared. • Blood • Use of supernatural

  29. Theatrical Conventions of Shakespeare's Theatre • Use of disguises/ mistaken identity • Last speaker—highest in rank (in tragedies) • Multiple murders (in tragedies) • Multiple marriages (in comedies)

  30. Elizabethan England

  31. Elizabeth (1533-1603) • Became queen 1558 • Creatively handled problems

  32. Acceptance Problems • Ascension confusion/dispute • Legitimacy • Personal image (turned liabilities to assets) • Young (25) • Out of power stream during Mary Tudor's reign • Female • Virgin • Coronation • Visits to the Lords • "Good Queen Bess"

  33. Money Problems • Lords support Elizabeth's visits • Stopped the wars • Promoted industry and trade • Privateers

  34. Religious Problems • Protestant versus Catholic division • Reaction to undo all of Mary's acts • Parliament dissolved ties to Catholicism • Puritan zealousness

  35. French Problems • England at war with France • Instigated by Mary Tudor • Elizabeth didn't worry about pride issue • Complication: Mary, Queen of Scots married to French king

  36. Scottish Problems • Independent (since 1314) and resentful Scotland • Mary Queen of Scots • John Knox’s religious movement • Husband, French king, dies and she returns to Scotland • Not well liked in Scotland (exiled Knox and others) • Married Darnley and had a son and then Darnley killed • Mary forced to abdicate (refuge in England) • James VI of Scotland

  37. Spanish Problems • Rivalry with England • Philip II interference • Privateers • Battle with Spanish Armada (1588)

  38. English Problems • Vision for the country • Merchants • Seafarers • Promotion of the Golden Age • Prosperity and leisure • Arts • Language • Drama

  39. “If you cannot understand my argument, and declare ‘It’s Greek to me,’ you are quoting Shakespeare; if you claim to be more sinned against than sinning, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you recall your salad days, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you act more in sorrow than in anger, if your wish is farther to the thought, if your lost property has vanished into thin air, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you have ever refused to budge an inch or suffered from green-eyed jealousy, if you have played fast and loose, if you have been tongue-tied, a tower of strength, hoodwinked or in a pickle, if you have knitted your brows, made a virtue of necessity, insisted on fair play, slept not one wink, stood on ceremony, danced attendance (on your lord and master), laughed yourself into stitches, had short shrift, cold comfort or too much of a good thing, if you have seen better days or lived in a fool’s paradise – why, be that as it may, the more fool you, for it is a foregone conclusion that you are (as good luck would have it) quoting Shakespeare;…

  40. …if you think it is early days and clear out bag and baggage, if you think it is high time and that that is the long and short of it, if you believe that the game is up and that truth will out even if it involves your own flesh and blood, if you lie low till the crack of doom because you suspect foul play, if you have your teeth set on edge (at one fell swoop) without rhyme or reason, then – to give the devil his due – if the truth were known (for surely you have a tongue in your head), you are quoting Shakespeare; even if you bid me good riddance and send me packing, if you wish I was dead as a door-nail, if you think I am an eyesore, a laughing stock, the devil incarnate, a stony-hearted villain, bloody-minded or blinking idiot, then – by Jove! it is all one to me, for you are quoting Shakespeare.” – Bernard Levin in The History of English by McCrum, et al

  41. Performances • The players were all men; the women's parts were played by boys. • --Shakespeare in Love • Specific parts were written for specific actors.

  42. Book Sizes • 1. Folio: Sheet folded in half to make 4 sides • 2. Quarto: Sheet folded twice so as to make 4 leaves or 8 pages, (9 1/2" x 12") • 3. Octavo: Sheet folded so as to make 8 leaves or 16 pages (6 x 9" ) • 4. Duodecimo: Sheet folded so as to make 12 leaves or 24 pages (about 5 x 7")

  43. Early Editions of Hamlet First Quarto (1603) • For Hamlet, the First Quarto presents a "bad" or memorially reconstructed text. • Some scholars believe that these came from minor players remembering and dictating the play, although others have discredited this theory. In Hamlet, they believe that the actor playing Marcellus does this.

  44. Early Editions of Hamlet • The First Quarto text of Hamlet presents a much more sympathetic vision of Gertrude; she swears to assist Hamlet in his revenge, for example. • A scene between Gertrude and Horatio exists in this version and disappears in later ones. Gertrude is told the news that Hamlet tells in his letter to Horatio, thus establishing her as Hamlet’s ally.

  45. Early Editions of Hamlet Second Quarto (1604). • J. D. Wilson showed in 1934 that this quarto was prepared from Shakespeare’s original manuscript or possibly from a corrected edition of the First Quarto. • The Second Quarto has about 200 lines not in the Folio.

  46. Early Editions of Hamlet First Folio (1623) • Contains 18 plays previously printed in quarto editions and 18 others that would not otherwise have survived.