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Intro to Shakespeare

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Joel Muszynski

on 12 February 2013

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Transcript of Intro to Shakespeare

An Introduction to Shakespeare, His Theater, and His Times For a long time, actors in England had performed either in courtyards or in houses.
Then, in 1576, the first theater was built in London. It was called "The Theatre."
Note: Theaters were also called "playhouses." The most famous theater of the times was The Globe Theater. Lord Chamberlain's men built it by tearing down The Theatre and moving the materials. The Globe Theater did not have a roof, nor does it have a roof today. It is lit by sunlight. People could pay money to sit in balcony seats, or they could pay only a penny to sit or stand around the stage. The Globe Theater had an upper level that could be used for high places such as balconies or castle walls. There was also a trap door in the floor so that characters could appear and disappear quickly. The theater could seat several thousand people, a remarkable feat for the times. Back in Shakespeare's time, different plays were advertized by flags. A black flag meant a tragedy. A white flag meant a comedy. A red flag meant a history. A trumpet blast would announce the beginning of a play. Shakespeare was baptized on April 23, 1564.
He grew up in Stratford-upon-Avon.
He was the third of eight children.
He most likely went to "petty" school and grammar school.
He married a woman named Anne Hathaway. She was twenty-six, while he was only eighteen. They had three children. For seven years (1585 - 1592), Shakespeare disappeared from history. No one knows for sure what he was doing then, except that he joined the theater before he was twenty-eight years old.

He also became a playwright. The first recorded performance of a Shakespearean play was in 1590. Shakespeare wrote four kinds of plays: In comedies, there is a good ending. All of the characters' problems somehow work out in the end. Examples:
A Midsummer Night's Dream
The Merchant of Venice
As You Like It
Much Ado about Nothing In tragedies, everything ends sadly.
There often aren't enough living characters left to drag the dead ones off the stage.
These sad endings supposedly gave the audience catharsis, or the purging of unhealthy emotions.
Shakespeare's most famous plays are tragedies. Examples:
Romeo and Juliet
Othello Shakespeare's histories retell an important bit of history.
You can easily tell a history play by its name. Examples:
Richard II
Henry V
Richard III
Henry VIII Romances have comedic endings in which family members are often reunited, but their stories can have tragic elements.
They often contain magic or fantasy.
They contain lyric poetry. The Romances:
Pericles, Prince of Tyre
The Winter's Tale
The Tempest Children had no rights other than those given by their parents, and they had to obey their parents until they married.
Wives were expected to obey their husbands.
Marriages were not arranged for love; instead, a girl's parents were concerned mainly with her health and safety.
Girls usually married when they were fourteen or fifteen.

Courtly love
Love is accompanied by agony and distress - love sickness.
A man is inspired to do great deeds for a woman.
Lovers reflect frequently on love itself, as well as on their own state of being in love.

Petrarchan conceit
It is an over-the-top metaphor comparing two extremely different things.
It is usually used by a distressed lover, either to explain his unhappy condition, or to praise the woman he admires. Examples:
"My lady is a sun."
"Her eyes are shining stars."
"I am a boat tossed by a stormy sea." Shakespeare worked closely with Lord Chamberlain's Men, an acting troupe. He both wrote plays and acted parts (in his own plays and in others'). He often took other writers' plays and made them his own. Now, here's a little about Shakespeare's theaters, which are very different from ours today. Now take a look at the different kinds of plays Shakespeare wrote. First, let us look at some information about "The Bard" himself. Finally, let's look at some background information for one of Shakespeare's most famous tragedies: Romeo and Juliet In families during Shakespeare's time . . . Here are some other important elements Shakespeare included in the play.
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