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Elizabethan Age and Shakespeare Notes


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Title: Elizabethan Age and Shakespeare Notes

Elizabethan Age and Shakespeare Notes
  • Era is named after Elizabeth I, monarch of
    England (1558-1603)
  • During her reign, a Renaissance (French for
    re-birth) of the arts and sciences was occurring.
  • The Renaissance (1350-1600) marked a transition
    from the medieval to the modern world in Western
  • English drama produced during this time is known
    as Elizabethan Drama

  • In general, there was not much scenery in
    Elizabethan drama costumes were quite elaborate
    and there were many props
  • For example, a pig bladder full of blood was used
    for Juliets death scene in Romeo and Juliet.
  • All roles were played by men. Sometimes actors
    had to learn as many as six parts at a time.
  • Young boys played the female parts. That is why
    there are few romance scenes on stage.

Shakespeares Early Life
  • Born April 23, 1564
  • Birthplace Henley Street, Stratford-on-Avon,
    not far from London
  • Parents John Shakespeare Mary Arden, from a
    wealthy family
  • inherited land to William because he was the
    oldest of eight children

  • Married Anne Hathaway on November 27, 1582 (he
    was 18, she was 26)
  • Oldest daughter, Susanna, was born six months
  • 1585- twins born - Hamnet and Judith
  • Hamnet died at age 11 (profoundly affected
    Shakespeare Hamlet is a variation of that name)

Shakespeares Career
  • He wrote 154 sonnets and two long poems
  • He wrote 37 plays.
  • Most of his sonnets were written between
    1592-1594 because the theaters were closed due to
    the Black Plague
  • By the time he was 32, he was considered the
    best writer of comedy and tragedy
  • He died on his 52nd birthday (April 23,1616)


Public Theaters
  • The Globe was the most important of the public
  • Groundlings, - paid a penny for admission,
    stood in the open court
  • Usually from the lower class
  • liked to throw food
  • yelled at the actors on stage
  • and sometimes even sat on the stage, especially
    if they didnt like what they were seeing.
  • The higher priced tickets were two and three

History of The Globe
  • built in 1599
  • seated 2,100 people
  • Shakespeare was one of ten owners
  • 1613burnt down (waterproof thatch roof caught on
    fire during a performance of Henry VIII--- cannon)

(No Transcript)
Background to Romeo and Juliet
  • written about 1595
  • probably his 13th play
  • idea taken from The Tragical History of Romeo
    and Juliet, a poem by Arthur Brooke (1562)
  • Unlike his other tragedies, Shakespeare allows
    chance, or fate, to determine the destiny of the
    hero and heroine (Romeo and Juliet) more than
    their tragic flaws do.

Shakespearean Style and
Figurative Language
Freytags Pyramid
Act 3 Climax
Ac t 4 Falling Action
Act 2 Rising Action
Act 5 Resolution
Act I Exposition
Blank Verse
  • The chief poetic form Shakespeare used was blank
    verse, or unrhymed iambic pentameter.
  • Examples Shall I compare thee to a summers

  • Soliloquies a speech made by an actor who is
    alone on stage, intended to reveal his thoughts
  • Asides remarks made by a character that are
    meant to be heard by the audience and perhaps one
    other character on stage, but no one else.
  • Asides are usually ironic because they inform the
    audience about something of which the other
    characters are ignorant.

  • Conventions agreements between the artist and
    the audience.
  • For example, it was assumed that all characters
    spoke in poetic form unless they were commoners
    the dialogue was meant to be blunt or the
    dialogue was relating serious information (as in
    a royal document or letter).
  • Anachronisms out of place objects, customs or
  • For example, the Romans in the play Julius Caesar
    didnt wear Roman attire. Rather they wore
    elaborate Elizabethan costumes.

  • Tragic flaw a flaw, or error, in the tragic
    hero that is the cause of his downfall.
  • Foil two contrasting characters, used to
    highlight the differences between the two.

  • A comparison of two different things or ideas
    through the use of the words like or as.
  • It is a stated comparison, where the author says
    one thing is like another
  • e.g., The warrior fought like a lion.

  • A direct comparison of two seemingly unlike
  • The author states the one thing is another.
  • It is usually a comparison between something that
    is real or concrete and something that is
  • e.g., Life is but a dream.

  • A kind of metaphor which gives inanimate objects
    or abstract ideas human characteristics.
  • e.g., The wind cried in the dark.

  • A deliberate, extravagant, and often outrageous
  • It may be used either for serious or comic
  • e.g., The shot that was heard round the world.

Understatement (Meiosis)
  • The opposite of hyperbole.
  • It is a kind of irony which deliberately
    represents something as much less than it really
  • e.g., I could probably manage to survive on a
    salary of two million dollars per year.

  • A statement which contradicts itself. It may seem
    almost absurd.
  • Although it may seem to be at odds with ordinary
    experience, it usually turns out to have a
    coherent meaning, and it reveals a truth that is
    normally hidden.
  • e.g., The more you know, the more you know you
    dont know.

  • A form of paradox which combines a pair of
    contrary terms into a single expression.
  • This combination usually serves the purpose of
    shocking the reader into awareness.
  • e.g., sweet sorrow

  • A play on words which are identical or similar in
    sound but which have sharply diverse meanings.
  • Puns may have serious or humorous uses.
  • In Romeo and Juliet as Mercutio is dying, he
    says, Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find me
    a grave man.

Irony contradiction between what is real and
what is expected
  • Verbal irony when what is said has a different
    meaning than what is normally intended.
  • It is simple to stop smoking. Ive done it many

  • Situational Irony - When what happens contradicts
    what is expected.
  • For example, Romeo tries to make peace with the
    Capulets, ends up killing Tybalt, and is
  • Dramatic Irony When the audience knows
    something the characters do not.
  • For example, we know Juliet is not dead. Romeo
    believes she is dead and stabs himself (dummy).

  • A type of irony in which a person appears to be
    praising something while he is actually insulting
  • As I fell down the stairs head-first, I heard her
    say, Look at that coordination.

  • A direct contrast of structurally parallel word
    groupings generally for the purpose of contrast
  • sink or swim

  • A form of personification in which the absent or
    dead are spoken to as if present
  • Oh William Shakespeare, What dost thou mean by
    thy ramblings?
  • Or
  • The inanimate is spoken to as if it is animate

  • A reference to a mythological, literary,
    historical, or Biblical person, place, or thing.
  • Hey Romeo, cool your jets and get your hands off
    my daughter!

Synecdoche (Si-neck-da-key)
  • A form of metaphor
  • A part of something is used to signify the whole.
  • Also, the reverse can be true where the whole can
    represent the part.
  • Canada played the U.S. in the hockey finals. (In
    reality, the Canadian team, played the U.S. team,
    not the entire country.)

Synecdoche (contd)
  • Another form involves the container representing
    the thing being contained.
  • the pot is boiling. (In reality, the pot isnt
    boiling, just the water in it).
  • Also, it can involve the material from which an
    object is made standing for the object.
  • The quarterback tossed the pigskin.

  • The name of one thing is applied to another thing
    with which it is closely associated
  • I love Shakespeare.
  • (A person doesnt really love the man he really
    means he loves to read Shakespeares plays.)
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