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William Shakespeare: Poet, Playwright, Actor, Director, Bard (1564-1616)

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Presentation on theme: "William Shakespeare: Poet, Playwright, Actor, Director, Bard (1564-1616)"— Presentation transcript:

1 William Shakespeare: Poet, Playwright, Actor, Director, Bard ( )

2 Shakespeare: Pre-London Born and raised in Stratford, England The city is often known as Stratford-upon-Avon – Avon is the name of the river which flows through the town Attended the local grammar school and learned French, Latin, and other subjects Married Anne Hathaway when he was 18 (she was 26) Six months later his first child was born

3 Early Life in London Shakespeare moved to London and started to work in a theatrical troupe Worked for Lord Chamberlain’s Men Lord Chamberlain was the patron Thus he fronted the money for the troupe So since he supplied the financial backing, he also received the first profits

4 Life in a Troupe Everyone is the troupe does more than act They also have to work the ticket counter They also provide the refreshments (if any) And someone has to write the play And someone has to create the costumes and props These things are all done by the members of the troupe And they (of course) clean up after the play is done for the afternoon

5 Massive Sickness Creates a Delay In his early days as a playwright, the city of London was struck severely by the plague This is a disease which spreads rapidly among large crowds of people Thus the theatres were closed for three years until the contagion was eliminated Do note that no one back then really knew what caused the plague but they were wise enough to know that large crowds help spread it Much like Chaucer 200 years earlier, Shakespeare was affected by the deaths of the plague

6 Shakespeare then went back to Stratford since his plays could not be acted in London Thus he started to write sonnets Almost all of his famous sonnets were written during this plague era Many writers of this era were writing “love sonnets” so this was more fashionable than that of love Shakespeare is now just as famous for his sonnets as he is for his plays A Result of the Plague

7 His Return to London Upon Shakespeare’s return, he rose to prominence with his plays Richard II, Love’s Labour’s Lost, and Romeo and Juliet were released at this point Later moved his Globe Theatre from the inner city of London to across the Thames River His most famous plays were in the Globe during this period

8 His Greatest Period Starting in 1600, Shakespeare wrote his most famous tragedies Hamlet (1600) Othello (1602) King Lear (1605) Macbeth (1606)

9 Other Theatrical Notes The theatres were only open during the day The city gates close every day at dusk And since the Globe was located on the other side of the Thames (and outside the city walls), the plays needed to end before dusk Don’t forget that England is far north so the days are much shorter in the winter Thus shorter plays were held earlier in the day during the winter

10 Order of Plays Nowadays a theatre only has one or two plays going on at any particular time Back then it was much different Almost every day had a different play being acted Thus the actors needed to know multiple plays with multiple lines (and wear multiple costumes) at any particular time

11 Gender and the Theatre In the Elizabethan era, females were not allowed to act on the stage It was viewed as immoral Thus only male actors could perform The female roles were taken by boys They were shorter, had higher voices, and did not have beards which would set them apart

12 King James Upon the death of Elizabeth I in 1603, King James I took the throne James I was already King of Scotland so he then became the King of England and Scotland (Great Britain) James I loved the theatre so he purchased the rights of Lord Chamberlain’s Men He then renamed the acting troupe The King’s Men Shakespeare then prepared his opening nights for each play before King James I

13 The History Behind Macbeth Shakespeare initially wrote and produced Macbeth in 1606 He used info from a historical book written by Raphael Holinshed This info greatly inspired him and then adapted it to make his own play He changed certain aspects as the crazy women were turned into witches

14 How the Plays Survived None of the plays were initially written down and published No copyright laws at the time so anyone could have produced his plays – Nowadays people cannot do that So after his death, some of his famed actors decided to write down all of the plays’ lines from memory That was quite a prodigious effort as each play consisted of thousands of lines

15 More Bits Shakespeare did not divide his plays into specific acts, scenes, and lines either This was all created later to make reading him easier Afterward his plays were then divided into five acts with different amounts of scenes within them These plays were all written on papers called folios which were then folded into four folds called quartos The first release of Shakespeare’s plays by his former actors was under the title First Folio

16 Miscellaneous Shakespeare created many new words within his texts The term for creating a new word is neologism (literally “new word”) In his 20,000 plus words used in his plays, over 1,700 words were created by him Many are still used today

17 Famous Quotes Shakespeare has a multitude of famous lines. “To be or not to be” –Hamlet “Out damn spot!” –Macbeth “Cowards die many times before their death.” – Julius Caesar “All the world’s a stage” –As You Like It “Nothing can come of nothing” –King Lear “Yakka!” –The Wonderful Life of Mr. Erb


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