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Intro to Shakespeare

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Diana Fox

on 31 March 2016

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Transcript of Intro to Shakespeare

England
Shakespeare's World
1) Shakespeare is considered by many to be the world's greatest playwright

2) Born in 1564 when England had already embraced the spirit of Renaissance creativity

3) Shakespeare helped carry the Renaissance to even greater heights in this time of new beginnings
Cultural Blossoming
1) Six years before Shakespeare was born Elizabeth I became queen of England

2) The period of her reign from 1558-1603 is known as the Elizabethan Age

3) Elizabeth I supported all the arts: literature, painting, sculpture, music and theater

4) During Elizabeth's reign London (the capitol of the nation) flourished

5) Elizabeth greatly influenced the development of the "Renaissance Man" and artistic achievements
Queen Elizabeth: Queen of the Arts
Shakespeare's Theater
The Life of William Shakespeare
Common Shakespeare Motifs and Themes
Characteristics of Shakespearean Tragedies
Why were Shakespeare's plays so popular?
1) All classes of people enjoyed Shakespeare's plays because they included something for everyone

2) This mixture was important to Shakespeare

3) Shakespeare was also a part of a commercial venture
The Stage
1) The Globe had no artificial lighting or heat

2) Performances were given in daylight and in warmer weather

3) The stage also had no scenery; the lines of dialogue told the audience where a scene was taking place

4) Dramatic costumes made up for the lack of scenery
1) Though the works of Shakespeare have probably been seen or read by more people worldwide than those of any other author, the man himself remains something of a mystery

2) The only information we have about Shakespeare's life are his documents from church records and property deeds
Off to London
1) In 1582 Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway (most likely daughter of a well-to-do Stratford farm family)

2) Had three children

3) Became a shareholder in the prestigious acting company the Lord Chamberlain's Men which had strong ties to Elizabeth's court

4) Skaespeare's plays helped make the company even more successful

5) Shakespeare was influenced to give up his acting to focus on his writing
A Small-Town Boy
The Years of Fame
1) By 1599 Shakespeare is known to have written 18 of his 38 plays,

2) He was a rich man
- Was a shareholder in the Lord Chamberlain's Men
- One of the owners of, the company's new home, the Globe Theater
- Had his plays and poetry produced and published
The Final Years
1) Shakespeare wrote no plays after 1613

2) No one knows when, where, or how he died

3) His gravestone is in Stratford's Holy Trinity Church and his date of death is listed as April 23, 1616
Tragic Hero
Soliloquy
* A speech given by a character alone on stage, used to reveal his other private thoughts and feelings

* May help the audience understand a character's motivation
Aside
* A character's remark, either to the audience or to another character, that no one else on stage is supposed to hear

* Lets the audience in on a character's thoughts or secrets
Dramatic Irony
* Results when the audience knows more than one or more of the characters


* For example, Caesar does not know that people are plotting against him, but the audience does


* Helps build suspense
* Is of high social rank - a king, a prince, or a general


* Has a tragic flaw, an error in judgment or a character defect, that ultimately leads to his or her downfall


* Suffers complete ruin or death


* Faces his or her downfall with courage and dignity
Costumes
Cross-Dressing
* Shakespeare wrote about 30 plays

* About one fifth of these plays involve cross-dressing

* Both male and female characters dressed as the opposite sex in his plays and this cross-dressing is central to both the complication and the resolution of the plot of the story
Supernatural
During the time of William Shakespeare there was a strong belief in the existence of the supernatural.

Thus, the supernatural is a recurring aspect in many of Shakespeare's plays.

In Shakespeare's Hamlet, Macbeth, and A Midsummer Night's Dream the supernatural is a major aspect of the plot
Lovers Pulled Apart
Strong Heroines
Regicide
Regicide: The action of killing a king

* Many of Shakespeare's plays involve a plot of killing the king or some high political power or leader
* Many of Shakespeare's plays focus on the tragic separation of lovers

* These plays often have characters that are so smitten and so in love that they end up making rash decisions that they later regret
Despite the fact that the "ideal woman" of Shakespeare's time was one who was silent, innocent, and obedient the women of Shakespeare's plays are mostly strong, outspoken, firm, and cunning to outwit the opposite sex in the most critical situations
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