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Shakespeare, English Renaissance Theater, and His Globe

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Lauren Rachal

on 22 January 2013

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Transcript of Shakespeare, English Renaissance Theater, and His Globe

Shakespeare, English Renaissance Theater,
and His Globe Facts:
He is generally known as the world's
greatest writer in the English language.
His plays are more widely translated than any other work except the Bible. He was born in Stratford-upon-Avon northwest of London. We don't know his exact birthdate but he was baptized on April 26, 1564. (Note: Back then, people didn't
keep exact records) Shakespeare was born in the middle class.
His father was a glove maker. Although his dad also
once served as the equivalent of mayor in Stratford. He attended the local grammar school in Stratford but never went on to a university. instead, at 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children, Susanna and the twins, Hamnet and Judith. Not THAT Anne Hathaway.... THIS Anne Hathaway! Shakespeare didn't resurface again for several years. When he did, he was in London, working as an actor and beginning to be noticed as a playwright. (Note: His head was not that big... We think.) During this new time in London, the theater became a bustling place. Queen Elizabeth I supported the arts and spent much of her time in London. The mighty and the humble became avid theatergoers. Shakespeare became a member of the Lord Chamberlain's Men, a company of actors whose patron was an influential member of Elizabeth's court. His plays made the company so successful that the Queen even attended its productions. His fame was accompanied by a financial success that allowed him to become a partner in London's new Globe Theater and to purchase a fine home, called New Place, in Stratford. The Globe Theater was a three-story wooden structure that could hold as many as 3,000 people. Plays were performed in the open air on a platform stage that jutted out into a roofless courtyard in the theater's center, where the poorer patrons, or "groundlings", stood to watch the performance. Except for the part directly behind the stage, the theater building consisted of covered galleries where wealthier patrons sat, protected from the elements. The Fate of the Globe In 1613, the Globe's roof caught fire during a performance and the theater was destroyed. It was quickly rebuilt at the same location, however this time with a tiled gallery roof. The doors were closed by suppressive groups. It was later torn down in 1644. After more than 300 years, a new Globe Theatre now stands only 200 yards from the original site. It opened in June of 1997 with a performance of Henry V. The new Globe features three levels of wooden benches surrounding an open yard and a platform stage. It seats 1,500 (fewer than the original theater held). Back to Shakespeare... When Elizabeth's Scottish cousin James succeeded her in 1603, the Lord Chamberlain's Men became the King's Men, and the company's domination of the London stage continued. After 1608, Shakespeare curtailed his theatrical activities and spent more time back in Stratford. He wrote no plays after 1613; his last complete dramas are believed to be The Winter's Tale and The Tempest. He died in 1616 and was buried in his parish church in Stratford. Shakespeare's Epitaph Shakespeare's Relevance Today Shakespeare wrote 37 plays and 154 sonnets. Why is Shakespeare still so relevant today? Just ask the director's of these films Shakespeare's plays contain themes, symbols, and motifs that will ALWAYS be relevant to our society. And the authors of these books (Both of these titles were inspired from Macbeth) And these music artists Elvis Costello Taylor Swift The Killers Sting The Elizabethan Era William Shakespeare's career is the product of a perfect match between a man's talents and his time. Shakespeare was born during the Renaissance, the flowering of art, culture, and thought that swept through Western Europe toward the end of the Middle Ages. It was a time of great expansion for people's horizons and minds. The printing press made it possible for more people than ever before to translate and read classical texts. It's impossible to overstate how important this classical education was to Shakespeare's development as an author—and indeed, how important literature in general was to the development of Renaissance England. In continental Europe (particularly Italy), the Renaissance was a triumph of the visual arts—think of Leonardo da Vinci or Michelangelo or Raphael or Donatello. (Yes, that was just a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles joke.) England's Renaissance, however, was one of words. The advent of the printing press meant that more people had access to books than ever before. Classical texts were being translated and distributed at an unprecedented rate. Queen Elizabeth I and her successor, King James I, were both big fans and patrons of literature. Under their rule, writers like Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, Edmund Spenser, and John Milton were able to thrive. All of those men read the same books Shakespeare did while they were growing up. These classical texts, with their allegories and archetypal characters, formed the collective knowledge of a Renaissance audience. Today, we can refer off-handedly to Darth Vader or Harry Potter (or Ninja Turtles) in conversation and know that we probably won't have to explain what we're talking about. Renaissance writers like Shakespeare could take comfort in knowing that their audience would just as easily understand a reference to Ovid or Homer. Feudalism In a feudalism society, there is a strong class structure in which the leading classes control the land and therefore the lives of all the workers (also known as peasants or serfs). In Romeo and Juliet, The two main families, Montagues and Capulets, are the leading powers in the area. In the play, their desire to control their offspring (Romeo and Juliet) could be linked to their usual capability to control the people around them. Journal: What is a feud? Do you know any stories that might be based on feuds? What do feuds seem to have in common? What does it usually take to resolve a feud? A component of any feud - and sometimes a part of our own teasing and arguing - is the insult. What kinds of insults might be exchanged during a feud? Let's find out!
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