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Introduction to the English Renaissance & Shakespeare

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1 Introduction to the English Renaissance & Shakespeare

2 The English Renaissance
Time of the English Renaissance is Period not just about Britain….there were many changes occurring all over the world. WORLD EVENTS: 1492: Columbus lands in Western Hemisphere 1503: Leonardo de Vinci paints the Mona Lisa 1514: Ponce de Leon explores Florida 1604: Spain—Part I of Don Quixote published 1620: North America-Pilgrims land at Plymouth Rock

3 1534: Church of England is established 1558: Elizabeth I becomes queen
British Events 1534: Church of England is established 1558: Elizabeth I becomes queen 1564: April 23rd—Shakespeare born 1588: English navy defeats Spanish Armada 1590: Edmund Spencer publishes “The Faerie Queen, Part I” 1594: Shakespeare writes Romeo and Juliet 1605: Shakespeare’s Macbeth first performed 1611: King James Bible is published Main focus=Literature

4 Historical Background
Tudor dynasty, founded in 1485, opened a new era English life Monarchs assured stability by increasing their own power and undercutting the strength of the nobles. The first Tudor monarch was Henry VII He rebuilt the nation’s treasury and established law and order, by the time of his death in 1509 Henry VIII Practicing Catholic—had good relationship with church and Pope until he asked a question regarding his marriage to Catherine. His marriage to Catherine had not produced a son and he wanted an annulment so he could marry Anne Boleyn His request was denied but he remarried anyway He broke away from the church and dissolved monasteries He married 6 times and had a son with Jane Seymour (wife #3) His name was Edward

5 His half-sister, Mary I, took the throne after his death
Edward become king at the age of nine and died at the age of 15 (He took throne as Edward VI) He replaced Latin in the church ritual with the prayer book, the Book of Common Prayer His half-sister, Mary I, took the throne after his death She restored Roman practices to the Church of England She ordered the execution of nearly 300 Protestants and strengthened the Catholic sentiment within England Became known as “bloody Mary” after this occurrence Elizabeth I (Mary’s half-sister) took throne after her death She was strong, clever, and probably England’s best monarch since William the Conqueror She instituted a policy of religious moderation She restored the Book of Common Prayer in the church of England Main adversary was her cousin, Mary Stuart, queen of Scotland Mary Stuart instigated many plots against Elizabeth I…Parliament ordered Mary’s execution…she was beheaded in 1587. Before her death, Elizabeth I named James VI of Scotland as her successor

6 James (Took the throne as James I) was a Protestant and was successful as a leader…he helped further England’s position in world power. Sponsored the establishment of England’s first successful American colony---Jamestown, VA Persecuted the Puritans and struggled with Parliament and the House of Commons…eventually leading to their migration to America and the establishment of the Plymouth Colony. Literature: Poetry was a favorite of the period Lyrical poetry---meant to be songs and sonnets Two major writers: William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe—these two become rivals Other writers: Sir Walter Raleigh, John Milton and Andrew Marvell

7 William Shakespeare

8 William Shakespeare’s Life
One of the world’s greatest playwrights. Born on April 23, 1564 in Stratford on Avon (England). Son of John Shakespeare & Mary Arden Married Ann Hathaway in 1582; he was 18, she was 26. Settled in London & by 1592 he became a well-known actor & playwright. Children: Suzanna (1583), Hamnet, & Judith (twins) (1585) He died on his birthday in 1616.

9 Not all of his plays were published in his lifetime.
Plays were not regarded as good literature: usually written at speed (often more than 1 writer), and performed times and then discarded. His plays were performed during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, & it was known as the Elizabethan Period. Shakespeare wrote 37 plays, 154 sonnets, & 2 narrative poems. His plays fall primarily into 2 categories: Comedy & Tragedy (the other would be History)

10 *In 1594 Shakespeare joined the acting group called “The Lord Chamberlain’s Men” *One of the leading tragic actors of the time was Richard Burbage *His early Masterpieces included: *Richard III, The Comedy of Errors, The Taming of the Shrew and Romeo and Juliet *These masterpieces lead to financial success for Shakespeare. This success allowed him to: 1) become a partner in the Globe Theater 2) buy home---called it New Place 3) bought a coat of arms for his father (generally only done for royalty) *In 1603—James I becomes King and becomes the primary patron of the acting group. *The name of the acting group was changed to “The King’s Men” to honor their patron James I

11 Characteristics of a Tragedy Tragic hero comes to an unhappy end
Shakespeare’s plays: Comedies: dramatic work with a happy ending Tragedies: tragic hero comes to an unhappy end (generally brought on by excessive pride) **Tragedies were used to arouse pity and fear in the audience. Pity for the hero and fear of humans with their character flaws. Characteristics of a Tragedy Tragic hero comes to an unhappy end Tragic hero is usually a person of importance Tragic hero exhibits tragic flaw—an error in judgment or weakness Antagonist contributes to the hero’s downfall A series of events lead inevitable to the catastrophe (Tragic resolution)

12 The Theatre Theatres were not well-known at the time.
1st theatre was built in 1576 – “The Theatre” by James Burbage Other theaters followed as popularity grew: “The Curtain,” “The Rose,” “The Swan,” and “The Blackfriars” The Lord Chamberlain’s Men perfomed here and Shakespeare was one of the shareholders. Very little scenery was used, therefore the writer had to rely heavily on dialogue to set the scene Flags were used to signify the genre of a play—Black = tragedy, white = comedy

13 The Globe Theater 1598/99, Shakespeare & his fellow actors built their own theatre, “The Globe”. It was different b/c it broke away from the traditional rectangular shape; called it “The Wooden O” Held up to 3,000 people for different performances Had two areas of viewing: the “pit” and the galleries “The Globe” was destroyed by fire during a performance in 1613. It was rebuilt several years later and then torn down in 1644 (outbreaks of illnesses and unpopularity of theaters) It was rebuilt again in June 1997

14 “The Theatre” was situated outside the city to avoid conflict w/authorities. Many disapproved partly on moral & political grounds & partly because of the danger of spreading the plague. Groundlings simply stood around the 3 sides of the stage in the open air. This was called “the pit” areas. Those who were better off could pay extra for a seat under cover, called the galleries. During the plays, there was little to no scenery; the audience used its imagination. Women, during Shakespeare’s time, were not permitted to act; young boys were used to play the roles of women.

15 Plot Structure Act 1: Exposition (sets the scene; intro)
Act 2: Rising Action (problems begin) Act 3: Climax (turning point of the story) Act 4: Falling Action (action coming to a close) Act 5: Resolution (conflict is resolved)

16 Shakespeare's Plays: Comedies: Tragedies: Taming of the Shrew Hamlet
A Midsummer Night’s Dream Othello Macbeth Merchant of Venice King Lear Twelfth Night Antony & Cleopatra Merry Wives of Windsor


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