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Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, and the Elizabethan Era
Transcript of Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, and the Elizabethan Era
and the Elizabethan Era
Baptized April 26, 1564. Since children were usually baptized 3-4 days after birth, we can
hat Shakespeare was born on April 23.
Grew up in Stratford-upon-Avon, a country-side town
Parents were middle-class folks
Shakespeare was educated in an all-boys grammar school. This was like the "public school" of the day. He would have studied Latin and classical authors (Ovid, Virgil, Cicero, etc.)
At the age of 18, Shakespeare married a woman named Anne Hathaway, who was 26 years old at the time. They had three children: Hamnet, Judith, and Susanna.
Their marriage happened fast for that day and age and six months after the wedding, Anne gave birth to a daughter.
Shakespeare: What's the Big Deal?
Shakespeare lived and died around 400 years ago. His language is archaic and sometimes hard to understand. So why do we all still read him?
i) He is considered one of the greatest writers in the English language
ii) He helped to shape the English language itself
iii) He wrote about issues that we're still
concerned about today
His complete works include 38 plays, 154 sonnets, and 2 long narrative poems.
But Shakespeare’s magic could not copied be;
Within that circle none durst walk but he.
- John Dryden (1631–1700) Essay of Dramatic Poesy
He was the man who of all modern, and perhaps ancient poets, had the largest and most comprehensive soul.
- John Dryden (1631-1700), Essay of Dramatic Poesy
He was not of an age, but for all time!
- Ben Jonson (1573-1637), Preface to the First Folio
During Shakespeare's lifetime, English grammar, spelling, and pronunciation were not as standardized as they are today.
The ways in which he used language helped to set a standard for the way we still use language now
He also created a large number of new words and phrases that are commonplace today
Words and Phrases Coined (or made popular) by Shakespeare
"a laughing stock"
"eaten out of house and home"
"as dead as a doornail"
"in a pickle"
"come what may"
"love is blind"
"vanish into thin air"
"too much of a good thing"
His biggest concerns included: love, death, war, fate,
violence, greed, lust, fear, aging, youth, and what it means to be human
Actor and Playwright
Sometime in the late 1580s or early 1590s, Shakespeare began his career in London.
By then he was well known enough that other playwrights were attacking him in writing. (One called him an "upstart crow"!)
Theatre company: The Lord Chamberlain's Men, name changed to The Kings Men after the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603
1599 - The Globe Theatre constructed on the bank of the river Thames
The Elizabethan Era
Theater was a major popular art form at the time.
Also part of the larger "Age of Exploration." Europe wanted to conquer the "new world."
1558 - 1603
Theatre became HUGE during this period.
Plays were performed at court and at public playhouses. In this era, drama was a unifying force, in that the Court and the commoners all saw the same works. Poor citizens could gain ground-level entry for just a penny. Poor theatergoers were known as "groundlings," and they had to stand up during the entire play.
The public theatres also became sites for bear-baiting, prostitution, gambling, and other "immoral" activities - they were therefore a target of opposition from Puritans and church officials.
No women were involved - boys or young men played all the female roles.
No lights, special effects, or elaborate backgrounds like we have today
first performed in 1599
Shakespeare's audience would have been familiar with the story
dares the audience to make connections between the fall of the Roman Republic and their own times
beginning of the play: the Roman Republic is in trouble.
as Rome expanded into an empire, faced with large areas to govern and increased power of the army
Questions to Consider
The Roman Republic functioned so well because of the high value it placed on friendship and on eloquence in speech in writing.
How do eloquence and friendship help to destroy the Republic in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar? In what ways are eloquence and friendship beneficial? dangerous?
Video: The Globe Theatre