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Elizabethan and jacobean theatre


ELIZABETHAN AND JACOBEAN THEATRE WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE FROM THE TEMPEST, IV, I (1610-11) Our revels now are ended. These our actors, As I foretold you, were all ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Elizabethan and jacobean theatre

Elizabethan and jacobean theatre
William Shakespeare From The Tempest, IV, I
  • Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
  • As I foretold you, were all spirits and
  • Are melted into air, into thin air
  • And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
  • The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
  • The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
  • Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
  • And like this insubstantial pageant faded,
  • Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
  • As dreams are made on, and our little life
  • Is rounded with a sleep.

Contemporary reactions
  • Will not a filthy play, with the blast of a
    trumpet, sooner call thither a thousand, than an
    hours tolling of a bell bring to the sermon a
    hundred? John Stockwood, A Sermon Preached at
    Pawles Cross, 1578
  • Yea, plays are grown nowadays into such high
    request as that some profane persons affirm they
    can learn as much both for example and edifying
    at a play, as at a sermon To compare a
    lascivious stage to this sacred pulpit and oracle
    of truth? To compare a silken counterfeit to a
  • Robert Milless Abrahams Suit to Sodom (1612)


1576 The Theatre, Finsbury Fields, Shoreditch, London
1577 The Curtain, Finsbury Fields, Shoreditch, London
1587 The Rose, Bankside, Surrey
1595 The Swan, Paris Garden, Surrey (See Top Picture)
1599 The Globe, Bankside, Surrey
1600 The Fortune, Golding Lane, Clerkenwell
1600 The Boar's Head, Whitechapel, London
1604 The Red Bull, Clerkenwell
1576 The Bear Garden  Bankside, Surrey
1576 The Bull Ring  Bankside, Surrey
1614 The Hope  Bankside, Surrey

Elizabethan and jacobean drama
  • Timeframe 1576-1642
  • Plural origins Mystery and Morality plays the
    explosion of classical learning popular sources
  • Heterogeneous audiences
  • The language of the theatre
  • Ex Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this
    bloodClean from my hand? No this my hand will
    ratherThe multitudinous seas incarnadine,Making
    the green one red.
  • (W. Shakespeare, Macbeth, II, ii 1604)
  • Conflict between disparate world views

Dominant dramatic genres
  • A characteristic fusion of tragedy and comedy
  • tragicomedy
  • Histories or chronicles
  • Tragedy
  • Subgenres revenge tragedy domestic tragedy
    Roman plays
  • Comedies
  • Subgenres comedy of humour romantic comedies
    city comedies
  • Courtly allegories, pastoral plays
  • Masques

  • Giovanni Battista Guarinis Pastor fido 1590
  • Sir Philip Sidney neither right tragedies, nor
    right comedies, mingling kings and clowns so as
    neither the admiration and commiseration, nor the
    right sportfulness, is by their mongrel
    tragicomedy obtained. (An Apology for Poetry,
  • John Fletcher A tragie-comedie is not so called
    in respect of mirth and killing, but in respect
    it wants deaths, which is enough to make it no
    tragedie, yet brings some neere it, which is
    enough to make it no comedie. (The Faithful
    Shepherdess, 1608)

  • A sketch of the typical Elizabethan public

The most significant playwrights
  • John Lyly (?1554-1606)
  • An interest in courtliness
  • Political allegory
  • Irony
  • Strongly felt influence of classical literature
  • Sapho and Phao 1584, Endimion 1588 Gallathea
    1585 Loves Metamorphosis 1590

The representative plays
  • Thomas Kyds The Spanish Tragedy c. 1587
  • Senecan influence
  • Probing the nature of justice, honour and
  • See also Cyril Turners The Revengers Tragedy
    1606 and The Atheists Tragedy 1610

The most significant playwrights
  • Robert Greene (1560?-1592)
  • Among the first professional authors
  • Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay 1589
  • A Looking Glass for London and England 1590
  • James IV 1590
  • George Peele (1558?-1597)
  • The Arraignment of Paris 1581 The Old Wives
    Tale 1590
  • The Love of King David and Fair Bethsabe 1587

The most significant playwrights
  • Christopher Marlowe (1564-93)
  • Pub. 1590 Tamburlaine the Great 1587, 1588
  • 1592? The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus
  • 1589 The Jew of Malta
  • 1592 Edward II

The most significant playwrights
  • Ben Jonson (1572-1637)
  • Evey Man in His Humour 1589 The Poetaster 1601
    Volpone1606 Epicoene, or The Silent Woman 1609
    The Alchemist 1610 Bartholomew Fair 1611
  • Sejanus 1603 Catiline 1611
  • John Marston (1575?-1634)
  • Antonio and Mellida and Antonios Revenge 1600-1
  • The Fawn 1604 The Malcontent 1604

The most significant playwrights
  • Thomas Dekker (1572?-1632)
  • The Shoemakers Holiday 1599 2 parts of The
    Honest Whore 1604
  • Thomas Heywood (1575?-1641)
  • The Four Prentices of London 1592? The Fair Maid
    of the West 1610, 1631
  • A Woman Killed with Kindness 1607 The English
    Traveller 1625

The most significant playwrights
  • Thomas Middleton (1580?-1627)
  • A Trick to Catch the Old One 1605 A Chaste Maid
    in Cheapside 1611
  • Women Beware Women 1621 The Changeling 1622
  • John Webster (1580?-1625?)
  • The White Devil 1612 The Duchess of Malfi 1614
  • George Chapman (1559?-1634)
  • Bussy DAmbois 1604 Caesar and Pompey 1605 The
    Revenge of Bussy DAmbois 1610

The most significant playwrights
  • Francis Beaumont (1584-1616) and John Fletcher
  • The Knight of the Burning Pestle 1607 The
    Faithful Shepherdess 1608 Philaster 1609 A King
    and No King 1611
  • John Ford (1586-1640?)
  • The Broken Heart 1629 Tis Pity Shes a Whore

September 1642 Parliaments First Ordinance
against Stage Plays and Interludes
  • Whereas public sports do not well agree with
    public calamities, nor the public stage-plays
    with the seasons of humiliation this being an
    exercise of sad and pious solemnity the other
    being spectacles of pleasure, too commonly
    expressing lascivious mirth and levity it is,
    therefore, declared that while these sad causes,
    and set times of humiliation continue, public
    stage-plays shall cease and be forborne instead
    of which, are recommended to the people of this
    land, the profitable duties of repentance, and
    making their peace with God.
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