Shakespeare’s Language IS: Complex and often hard to decipher Full of words and phrases that seem alien to us or now have completely different meanings (marry=indeed, ho=hey! Soft=hold/wait a minute) Full of altered sentence structure (to achieve rhyme, effect, or balance) Over 400 years old. BUT, it is almost-modern English as opposed to…
OLD ENGLISH: 8th-11th Century Germanic Language that is the “oldest” form of English Influenced mainly by Latin/Old Norse (Scandinavian)
= Hwæt! We Gardena in geardagum, þeodcyninga, þrym gefrunon, hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon. So. The Spear-Danes in days gone by and the kings who ruled them had courage and greatness. We have heard of those princes’ heroic campaigns.
Middle English 12th-15th Century Language became more dialect-based Inflections changed (softened) Grammar changed
Chaucer: The Canturbury Tales Whan that aprill with his shouressoote The droghte of march hath perced to the roote, And bathed every veyne in swichlicour Of which vertuengendred is the flour; When April with his showers sweet with fruit The drought of March has pierced unto the root And bathed each vein with liquor that has power To generate therein and sire the flower;
Shakespeare wrote in… Early Modern English 1480-1650 Romeo and Juliet written between 1591-1595 and published about 1597
The PROLOGUE 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. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life; Whose misadventured piteous overthrows Doth with their death bury their parents' strife. The fearful passage of their death-marked love, And the continuance of their parents' rage, Which, but their children's end, nought could remove, 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.
So, what’s going on here? What do you notice about the language? What’s going on here? What does Shakespeare want you to know after reading the prologue? Pair Search: grab a partner and read through the prologue looking for “2’s” or the idea of pairs. Underline them. What do you think they mean? On the back of this half sheet, make two predictions about the play based on the information in the prologue. (We know they’re going to die, so sorry, that one’s off the table.)
Pairs and Predictions What are the pairs you notice? What predictions did you draw from them?
Warm-Up: Tragedy What is your definition of a tragedy? What are some modern-day tragedies (personal or worldly)? What does a tragedy in literature usually contain? In what ways do you think that Romeo & Juliet will be a tragedy?
Vocabulary: 1) Tragedy: A play that depicts serious and important events in which the main character(s) come to unhappy ends. The tragic hero(s)’ downfall is usually caused by a character flaw, but can also result from forces beyond human control.
Vocabulary: Elements of a Tragedy Prologue/Act I: Exposition Act II: Rising action, or complications Act III: Crisis, or turning point Act IV: Falling Action Act V: Climax and resolution
William Shakespeare: Born the 3rd of 8 children in April 23, 1564 in Stratford (100 miles north of London). Family was financially comfortable (father was a shopkeeper). William attended grammar school where he studied Latin grammar, Latin, literature, and the use of language. No record of further study exists. Married Anne Hathaway at 18 (she was 26), they had twins girls and a boy.
Shakespeare in London: Moved to London after his children are born, leaving his family in Stratford. By 1592, known in London for being an actor and playwright. Romeo and Juliet is one of his earlier plays. By 1612 he’s returned to Stratford, well-off, with 37 plays, and numerous sonnets to his name.
Shakespeare in London: • Member of Lord Chamberlain’s Men (later, The King’s Men), a company of actors/writers working in the theater under the support of a rich benefactor. Acted in the famous Globe Theater.
Shakespeare’s Final Retirement: • Though his work lives on, Shakespeare died April 23, 1616 at the age of 52. • His gravestone is still intact, reading: “Good friend, for Jesus' sake forebeare Todigg the dust enclosed heare; Bleste be the man that spares thes stones, And curst be he that moves my bones”
Romeo and Juliet: A Real Tragedy? Like most of Shakespeare’s plays, R&J is based off an older story. Long narrative poem by Arthur Brookes (1562) that depicts two young lovers who fall in love at first sight, and marry. Shakespeare changes the moral of Brookes’ story that revolves around “just punishment” and makes R and J “star-crossed” lovers playing with fate. Debate around the “real” Capulet and Montagues’ existence, but history does portray warring families in Verona
Act I: Scene I--characters 1) Sampson 2) Gregory: servants in Capulet house 3) Abram 4) Balthasar: servants of Montague house 5) Benvolio: Romeo’s friend, nephew of Lord Montague 6) Tybalt: Juliet’s cousin, enemy of Montague family 7) Citizens of Verona 8) Lord and Lady Capulet 9) Lord and Lady Montague 10) Prince 11) Romeo