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William Shakespeare His Life and Times J. Fink & K. Marsh Glenforest Resource Centre April 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "William Shakespeare His Life and Times J. Fink & K. Marsh Glenforest Resource Centre April 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 William Shakespeare His Life and Times J. Fink & K. Marsh Glenforest Resource Centre April 2009








9 The latest discovery …




13 A typical family scene during this time period.

14 Shakespeare's Family Joan, born 1558, died before 1569. Margaret, born 1562, died 1563 (aged 5 months). (William, born 1564, died 1616.) Gilbert, born 1566, haberdasher, died 1612. (A haberdasher sells hats, clothes, thread, ribbons etc.) Joan, born 1569, married William Hart, died 1646. Anne, born 1571, died 1579. Richard, born 1574, occupation unknown, died 1613. Edmund, born 1580, "player," died 1607. There are no known living relatives of William Shakespeare




18 Formal schooling was for boys but not girls.


20 William & Anne, sitting in a tree



23 Country Life was traditionally divided into two parts:

24 1. Activities inside the house and yard which were the responsibility of: The Housewife.

25 2. And, activities outdoors which were the responsibility of: The Husbandman.

26 The husband was the head of the household; the wife and children were subordinate and expected to obey.

27 City Life: London in the 1600s.

28 The London Bridge The River Thames was considered "the great highway of London"

29 Labour was differentiated in the city as well.

30 War, warfare & soldiering were very prominent during this time.

31 A typical pub scene (tavern)

32 Violence (blood & gore) was a part of everyday life.

33 And so was sickness and death.

34 Discoveries in science and medicine were emerging.

35 It was widely believed that the Earth was round and at the centre of a spherical universe.

36 At the centre of the universe were the four elements: earth, water, air, fire. Then the 7 planets.

37 Religion provided stability. Here we see the depiction of the Story of Creation.

38 King Henry VIII Father of Elizabeth I, April 1509 – 28 January 1547

39 King Edward, Elizabeth's half brother 1547 - 1553

40 Henry's elder daughter, Queen Mary Known as "bloody Mary". When Mary died she was succeeded by her Protestant half-sister, Elizabeth. 1553 - 1558

41 When Mary died she was succeeded by her Protestant half-sister Elizabeth I 1558-1603

42 Year: 1564 Shakespeare's birth English and Scottish statues against witchcraft. Plague in London. Potatoes are introduced to England from America by John Hawkins, slave trader. John Shakespeare is listed among Stratford capital burgesses, and gives money for relief of plague victims. John Hawkins begins second voyage to the New World. Galileo is born

43 Potatoes are introduced to England from America by John Hawkins, known as Elizabeth's slave trader.

44 And so, exploration to the New World emerges ….


46 which brings many new & exciting riches to Elizabethan society …


48 Mary Queen of Scots



51 Queen Elizabeth 1

52 Did you know? Elizabeth I ate so many sweets that her teeth just rotted away and turned black! As she grew older, servants kept mirrors away from her. It’s a good thing that people back than didn’t usually show their teeth when they smiled! I in most of Elizabeth I’s portraits, she is wearing enormous dresses with puffy sleeves. Although it wasn’t the fashion, she wore them to make her look big and powerful so that people didn’t take advantage of her being a woman. Playing cards came into existence when people in the Elizabethan Era put miniature portraits of royalty on playing cards? The most popular kind was the queen of hearts- it symbolized love for Queen Elizabeth I. Elizabeth I always had a young looking face in her portraits because she created a face pattern—when she found a portrait of her that she liked very much, all other artists painted her face like the “face pattern".

53 The Globe Theatre is built 1599-1601 1599 Feb. 21: land for The Globe Theatre is leased to the Lord Chamberlain's Men; Shakespeare is listed as one of the leading shareholders. The Chamberlain's Men permanently occupy The Globe. The population of England and Ireland is estimated at 5 1/2 million; the population of London and its suburbs reaches about 250,000.




57 James I of England 1576–1621

58 Shakespeare's Death 1616 - 1619 Apr. 23. Shakespeare dies.dies Apr. 25. Shakespeare is buried in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford.

59 The First Folio

60 The Globe Theatre: Present Day

61 The Stage

62 Physical Nature of the Stage Projected (people stood on 3 sides of it) Elevated stage Three levels (stage, inner stage, balcony) Two trap doors (depicting heaven & hell) Two doors at side (led to dressing rooms) Pit for groundlings Lower aristocracy in galleries or on stage

63 How the stage differs from today's Modern day has: –Elaborate props –Revolving stages –Backdrops –Curtain –Lighting –Sound –Orchestra –All members of audience are seated

64 The Modern Day Stage Princess of Wales & The Royal Alex

65 Actors & Props (back in the day) Men or boys only 1 or 2 major characters Very little stage furniture Major actions indicated by a few people Stage hung in black for tragedy, bright colours for comedy Flag atop theatre indicated performance (blue for comedy, black for tragedy) Costumes were expensive and elaborate

66 Examples of Costumes

67 Audience Rabble (commoners) for the pit Held about 800 Stood Ate Gossiped Threw fruit and insults Illiterate Lower Aristocracy Women only if disguised or under male protection Seats for 1500 Mire educated Those seated on stage were often seeking attention Social meeting point No upper aristocracy (had private theatres in their own homes)

68 Why did people attend? Topical allusions No language barriers Bloodlust & violence Intellectual overtones Patronage of court (snobbery) Few other amusements available Nature of characters in the plays

69 Three types of plays Comedies –Play ended happily for the protagonist Histories –Chronicles (a narrative of events in the order which they appeared) –A political guide Tragedies –Protagonist dies; tragic hero –This always occurs when the essential good is wasted (through disaster or death) in the process of driving out evil

70 The next slide is dedicated to: Mr. E. Gerner

71 Why do we study the works of William Shakespeare today? Timeless stories He was a literary and dramatic genius and was considered this as early as 1598 It is the dramatic presentation of his works that reveal its true value Shakespeare is a master of plot Shakespeare is LOGICAL (he presents a knot and then he unties it)

72 Willie is alive & well today All corners of the world All’s well that ends well As dead as a doornail As pure as the driven snow Come what come may Eaten out of house and home Good riddance Love is blind Make your hair stand on end Too much of a good thing

73 A Midsummer’s Night Dream Phrases we still use: –footloose and fancy free –what fools these mortals be Words that originated in the play: –bedroom –moonbeam –palefaced –rival

74 Origin of our phrases in Elizabethan times... The 'rule of thumb' has been said to derive from the belief that English law allowed a man to beat his wife with a stick so long as it is was no thicker than his thumb. It’s raining cats and dogs derives from the fact that cats and dogs were washed from thatched roofs during heavy weather. Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May Brides/groomsmen buy flowers to mask the body odour The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt, hence the saying "dirt poor." Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man "could bring home the bacon." They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and "chew the fat." Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with a high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing lead poisoning and death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

75 And there’s more... Lead cups were used to drink ale or whiskey. The combination would sometimes knock them out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up--hence the custom of holding a "wake.” England is old and small and they started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a "bone- house" and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, one out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they thought they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the "graveyard shift") to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be "saved by the bell" or was considered a "dead ringer."

76 People who have studied Shakespeare … Have a broader view of the world in general. Have little trouble in other language classes. Do well in logic and philosophy. Appreciate other art forms as well: music, drama, art, costume, writing. Have an easier time grasping the concepts of character, plot, irony, universal truth, advanced vocabulary, etc. Usually go on to post secondary studies; can better judge what is a good book. Understand concepts in clear speaking. Have a broader view of important historical events. Have a greater understanding of human nature (greed, faithfulness, love, power, gentleness, poor choices, honesty, integrity, popularity, danger, patriotism, selfishness, self-sacrifice, etc.) Are way better looking.

77 Some basic information about A Midsummers Night’s Dream...

78 A Midsummer Night's Dream is a romantic comedy which portrays the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of amateur actors in a moonlit forest, and their interactions with the fairies who inhabit it. Comedy - in simple terms means that the play will end happily Romantic comedy is usually based on a mix-up in events or identities. Shakespeare’s comedies often move towards tragedies (a death or lack of of resolution) but are resolved in the nick of time. Comedy – despair to happiness  Tragedy – happiness to despair Shakespeare’s comedies often end with a wedding. A Midsummer Night’s Dream was written by William Shakespeare in approximately 1595.

79 A Midsummer Night's Dream is unusual among Shakespeare's plays in lacking a specific written source for its plot. Shakespeare, however may have used other sources for inspiration. The wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta was described in Chaucer's "Knight's Tale" and elsewhere. The theme of a daughter who wants to marry against her father's desires was a common theme in Roman comedy and shares similarities with Shakespeare’s tragic play Romeo and Juliet. Bottom and his friends are caricatures of the amateur players of the time and they satirize many of the theatrical conventions of the time; for example, using young men to play the roles of women.

80 History indicates the prior to Elizabethan times, fairies were considered evil spirits who stole children and sacrificed them to the devil. Shakespeare, along with other writers, redefined fairies during this time period, turning them into gentle, albeit mischievous, spirits. Puck, for example, brags about his ability to perform harmless pranks. The title draws on the summer solstice, Midsummer Eve, occurring June 23 and marked by holiday partying and tales of fairies and temporary insanity.

81 There are several theories at to the origins of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. 1)Some have theorized that the play might have been written for an aristocratic wedding; numerous such weddings took place in 1596. 2)Others suggest it was written for the Queen to celebrate the feast day of St. John. The feast of John the Baptist was celebrated as an English festival on June 24 (Midsummer Day) It was believed that on Midsummer Night that the fairies and witches held their festival. To dream about Midsummer Night was to conjure up images of fairies and witches and other similar creatures and supernatural events. In either case, it would also have been performed at The Theatre, and, later, The Globe in London.

82 Obvious plot links exist between A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet, and critics disagree about which play was written first. Not only do both dramas emphasize the conflict between love and social convention, but the plot of “Pyramus and Thisbe,” the play- within-the-play of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, parallels that of Romeo and Juliet. Critics have wondered if Romeo and Juliet is a serious reinterpretation of the other play, or just the opposite: Perhaps Shakespeare is mocking his tragic love story through the burlesque of “Pyramus and Thisbe” performed by the craftsmen in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

83 THE THREE WORLDS of 1. THE ATHENIANS: Theseus and his bride, Hippolyta (Theseus represents law and order.) The four lovers: Hermia, Helena, Demetrius, Lysander (They represent adolescent rebellion.) Egeus (Hermia’s father)

84 Left to right: Helena, Demetrius, Lysander, Hermia Helena and Demetrius Theseus and Hippolyta

85 2. THE ACTORS: Bottom (the rather vain “leader” of the group who wishes to play all the parts Other members of the cast: Quince, Flute, Starveling, Snout, Snug, Philostrate

86 3.THE FAIRIES: Their realm is the woods where they interact with the humans who wander there. This setting is outside the walls of Athens and so disorder prevails. Titania (Queen) Oberon (King) Puck (a.k.a. Robin Goodfellow) – Oberon’s loyal helper Puck and Oberon Bottom and Titania

87 The three worlds come together in the woods at night: a place of magic and mystery where illusion reigns! Shakespeare cleverly weaves together not only fairies and lovers, but also social hierarchies with the aristocratic Theseus and the "rude mechanicals," or the artisans and working men. This allows the play to become more lyrical, since it is able to draw on the rougher language of the lower classes as well as the poetry of the noblemen.

88 In act One, Lysander laments: “The course of true love never did run smooth” (1.1.134). The play deals with the trials of those “in love” both in the world of the Athenians and the world of the fairies. Because the play is a romantic comedy, the audience can enjoy the conflicts, mix ups, and misunderstandings without ever doubting that all will turn out well. Other topics (besides “love”): Reality versus illusion Friendship Parental authority Dreams

89 The play is a study in Some of the contrasts in the play: Reality vs. Illusion (Dreams) Athens vs. the forest Day vs. Night Order vs. Confusion Aristocrats vs. Workmen Tall vs. Short True love vs. False love Lyrical language vs. Rough prose The contrasts add balance to the play.


91 List of Sources An Introduction to A Midsummer’s Night Dream 000FC7CD/S0BF89905.0/A%20Midsummer%20Night's%20Dream%20Pwr%20Pt..ppt 000FC7CD/S0BF89905.0/A%20Midsummer%20Night's%20Dream%20Pwr%20Pt..ppt Shakespeare's Life & Times Google Images History of London Kings and Queens of England Toronto Theatres National Post Encyclopedia of Children & Childhood Ross Farrelly – Why Study Shakespeare?

92 Thank you.

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