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Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Era


The young men are dressing up to take the female roles. The play is about to begin! ... Male superiority. Return to Protestantism. Improvement of the ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Era

Shakespeareand the Elizabethan Era
James 1, after 1603
  • 1564-1616
  • Queen Elizabeth 1

Died 1603
Welcome to Renaissance England.
Before Elizabethan times.
  • Introduction
  • Throughout the middle ages plays were performed
    by workers in towns and were based on religious
    issues, often retelling stories from the Bible.
  • However, this ended after Henry VIIIs break from
    Rome and formation of the Church of England in
  • After this, playwrights took inspiration from the
    Roman theatre and writers like Seneca, who wrote
    about crime, revenge, witches and ghosts.
  •       Elizabethan writers introduced theatre
    audiences to horror, the supernatural and GORE

  • William born 23rd April 1564, 3rd of 8 children
  • Born in Stratford on Avon, son of John
    Shakespeare, a prosperous glove maker and
    meat/wool trader, grandson of Richard a
    successful farmer in Snitterfield. His mother was
    Mary Arden, of the rich Arden family of Wilmcote.
    In 1565 John became an Alderman, but in 1577, he
    ran into debt and in 1586 turned his back on the
  • Attended local school in Stratford till age 13/14
  • Apprenticed as glove maker
  • 1582 married Anne Hathaway ( daughter of farmer
    in Shottery) - they had 3 children
  • The lost years till 1593. We know nothing else
    till Shakespeare is in London

Shakespeare - the writer
  • The development of Elizabethan drama was
    primarily due to Christopher Marlowe( 1564-1593-
    Tamburlaine, Faustus) but Marlowes early death (
    stabbed in a tavern brawl) left the field open
    for another dramatist.
  • Shakespeare was a member of Lord Stranges Troupe
    performing in the Rose Theatre as actor and
  • 1594 , Shakespeare was a member of the company of
    Chamberlains Men based at the Theatre. From
    1594 on, he wrote an average of two plays a year
    till 1608 and consolidated his place in the
    company and became, in his lifetime, the most
    highly sought after dramatist of the Elizabethan
    and Jacobean stage

In memoriam
  • Shakespeare is buried in Holy
  • Trinity Church in Stratford on
  • Avon. He wrote his own
  • epitaph and it reads
  • Good friend, for Jesus sake
  • forbear, to dig the dust enclosed here!
  • Blest be the man who spares these stones
  • and curst be he who moves my bones
  • http//

Shakespeare - the successful writer
  • 1596 the Shakespeare family was granted a coat
    of arms with the motto non sanz droict not
    without rights

The description of the coat of arms Gould, on a
Bend, Sables, a Speare of the first steeled
argent . And for his creast or cognizaunce a
falcon, his winges dispplayed Argent standing
on a wreath of his coullers.
1602 sketch
Its time to don your doublet!
Tighten your trussing!
Get on your galligaskins!
Females, fit on your farthingales!
Smooth your stomachers!
Remember your ruffs!
Slip on your shoes!
And grab your gloves!
Is everybody ready?
Were going to the theatre!
(No Transcript)
The Globe!
Shakespeares theatre is located just outside of
London, England.
The Playhouses
Playhouses of the time
  • The contract for the building of the Fortune
    gives useful information about the size of the
    theatre, and the accommodation for the audience.
  • The building was to be three stories in height,
    with four "gentlemen's rooms," "sufficient and
    convenient divisions for twopennie roomes," and
    seating in all the galleries.
  • The stage area measurements indicate quite a
    large area

The FortunePlayhouse
  • .

The stage area is measured in feet
A white flag is flying. Theres a play today!
  • The Performances
  • The theatres often had mechanisms that allowed
    angels and gods to be lowered down onto the
    stage. Stages were also equipped with a trapdoor
    leading to a Hell beneath the stage. The
    trapdoor was also used as a grave in theatrical
  • There was very little scenery available for
    theatres, so the writers often used to dialogue
    to explain to the audience where the scene was
    taking place.
  • Costume was very important in Elizabethan
    theatre. Actors wore colourful and elaborate
    costumes that would tell the audience the
    characters status, family ties or profession.
  • The emphasis that was given to a characters
    clothing made the theme of disguise a common
    convention of Elizabethan theatre. In order to
    exchange places with another character or conceal
    his identity, all an actor needed to do was to
    change his costume.
  •  The Elizabethan theatre also used a variety of
    sound effects. Music played an important role in
    the setting the mood of the plays. Other sounds
    created were thunder, running horses, falling
    rain, and cannon blasts.

Its afternoon, time for the play to start.
  • The groundlings have paid their penny (1/12 of
    weekly salary) and are standing to watch the
    play, while the very rich sit upstairs in the
    covered gallery for 6 pence a seat
  • A quarto edition of the play cost 6 pence
  • The stage is a lower class profession, and no
    women will appear there.
  • The young men are dressing up to take the female

Its one of Shakespeares tragedies!
The play is about to begin!
(No Transcript)
Were in for a real treat
  • The wealthy are in the upper decks

Its good the plague is over and the theatres are
open again.
Now, let the show begin!
London in the 1500s
  • a labyrinth of tiny streets, with only one route
    across the Thames, the river which dominated the
  • Most of the 200,000 population was crammed within
    the city walls( 50,000 in time of Henry VIII,
    increased under Elizabeth 1)
  • The lord mayor ran the city
  • The houses and palaces of the nobility lay to the
    west, near Westminster
  • People worked long hours, with workers often
    living on the work premises with their masters
  • Theatres were outside the walls of the city, with
    the brothels and bear gardens

Elizabethan Age
  • 1558 to 1603 (Elizabeth I's reign)
  • Time of exploration and discovery
  • Diffusion of knowledge (inventions...)
  • Renaissance
  • Male superiority
  • Return to Protestantism
  • Improvement of the educational system
  • English language gains importance
  • Literary movements and developments
  • Drama, theatres and Shakespeare

The Plague ( Bubonic Plague)
  • Ravaged London in 1564, in 1592-93, 1603,1632
    causing over 100,000 deaths
  • The plague spread from the suburbs to the centre
  • It was seen as God punishing the wickedness of
    the city and theatres were closed immediately
    there was an outbreak
  • Rosemary was used as a remedy people put it to
    their noses and in their ears
  • Houses were branded with a Red Cross and boarded
    up with the occupants sealed off from the outside
    world, whether they were ill or not

The plague an artists impression
Transmission of the Plague
  • The Cycle


Daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn
Succeeded her half-sister Mary (daughter of
Catherine of Aragon) Received a humanist
education Spoke French and Italian fluently
could read Latin and Greek Her status was
justified through comparisons with other female
leaders body natural ? female gender body
politic ? role as a monarch timeless absolute
Elizabeth 1
Queen Elizabeth I
  • Believed in royal absolutism
  • Rising against her and her laws was not only
    criminal but also a blasphemous act
  • Had an immense influence over the country
    politically and socially
  • Reckless, unpredictable
  • execution of Mary, Queen of Scots
  • imprisonment of Sir Walter Raleigh
  • Persecution of Catholics

Some of the issues of the time.
  • The Plague
  • Elizabeths lack of an heir
  • England v Spain
  • Emgland v France
  • Catholicism v Protestanism
  • Taxation increases
  • and Deforestation

The Spanish Armada
Have you heard these phrases?
  • I couldnt sleep a wink.
  • He was dead as a doornail.
  • Shes a tower of strength.
  • They hoodwinked us.
  • Im green-eyed with jealousy.
  • Wed better lie low for awhile.

They are just some of the many expressions coined
by that master of language, William Shakespeare.
Sources Used
  • Fashion pictures from High Fashion in
    Shakespeares Time by Andrew Brownfoot, Five
    Castles Press Ltd., 1992
  • Of the timeShakespeares Book of Insults,
    Insights, Infinite Jests, by John W. Seder,
    Templegate Publishers, 1984
  • The Story of English by Robert McCrum, et. al.,
    Penguin Books, 1987