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Hamlet Introductory Notes. William Shakespeare Nobody knows Shakespeare’s true birthday. The closest we can come is the date of his baptism on April the.

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Presentation on theme: "Hamlet Introductory Notes. William Shakespeare Nobody knows Shakespeare’s true birthday. The closest we can come is the date of his baptism on April the."— Presentation transcript:

1 Hamlet Introductory Notes

2 William Shakespeare Nobody knows Shakespeare’s true birthday. The closest we can come is the date of his baptism on April the 26th, 1564. By tradition and guesswork, William is assumed to have been born three days earlier on April the 23rd, a date now commonly used to celebrate the famous Bard's birthday. William married a woman nearly twice his age. Anne Hathaway was 26 years old when William married her at age 18. Few people realize that aside from writing 37 plays and composing 154 sonnets, William was also an actor who performed many of his own plays as well as those of other playwrights (Ben Jonson). Shakespeare and wife had eight children, including daughter Susanna, twins Hamnet, Judith, and Edmund. Shakespeare, one of literature’s greatest figures, never attended university As an actor performing his own plays, William performed before Queen Elizabeth I and later before James I who was an enthusiastic patron of his work. William never published any of his plays. We read his plays today only because his fellow actors John Hemminges and Henry Condell, posthumously recorded his work as a dedication to their fellow actor in 1623, publishing 36 of William’s plays. This collection known as The First Folio is the source from which all published Shakespeare books are derived and is an important proof that he authored his plays.

3 There are three major forms of Shakespearian drama: 1. Tragedy: this form of drama involves a serious moral struggle by the protagonist (“tragic hero”) who is doomed by  Fate  overwhelming circumstances; the actions of others  A personal flaw (“tragic flaw”)

4 Tragedy… Many have linked these plays to Aristotle’s precept about tragedy: that the protagonist must be an admirable but flawed character, with the audience able to understand and sympathize with the character. Certainly, all of Shakespeare's tragic protagonists are capable of both good and evil. The playwright always insists on the operation of the doctrine of free will; the (anti)hero is always able to back out, to redeem himself-- but, they move unheedingly to their doom.

5 3 forms of drama cont… 2. Comedy: in its Elizabethan usage, had a very different meaning from modern comedy. A Shakespearean comedy is one that has a happy ending, usually involving marriages between the unmarried characters, and a tone and style that is more light-hearted than Shakespeare's other plays. Shakespearean comedies tend to also include: – A struggle of old haters to overcome difficulty, often presented by young people – Separation and re-unification – Mistaken identities – A clever servant – Heightened tensions, often within a couple – One, intertwining plot – Frequent punning (pun: a play on words)

6 The Histories Shakespeare wrote about the lives of English kings in this collection. Some include: King John Richard III The “Henry’s”

7 Drama Term: foil A foil is a character who sets off another character by contrast. Shakespeare used this drama technique to heighten the contrasts between characters. Ex: Lady Capulet and the Nurse Young Hamlet and Young Fortinbras

8 Drama Term: protagonist The protagonist of a drama (or in literature) is the primary or main character. In a Shakespearean tragedy, the protagonist is called the “tragic hero” Tragic heroes are neither all good, nor all bad. They have both traits—like all of us.

9 Drama Term:antagonist The antagonist in a drama (or work of literature) is the counterpart to the main character and the source of a story’s main conflict. The person may not be “bad” or “evil” but he/she opposes the protagonist in a significant way.

10 The Play’s the Thing! Most Shakespearean plays typically follow a traditional plot line and development and contain 5 Acts. Act I: Exposition--introduces background information; sets up the conflict Act II: Conflict and rising action; subplots are also introduced as are more characters. Act III: Climax—the turning point in the story at which the end result becomes inevitable, usually where something suddenly goes terribly wrong; the dramatic high point.

11 Act IV: Falling Action– here the subplots being to be resolved Act V: Resolution—this final act brings together all of the plot strands and characters. Any mysteries are solved or revealed. In a tragedy, it usually ends with lots of people dying. In a comedy, there is usually a wedding! Shakespeare likes to have servants or minor characters reveal all at the end.

12 Starting/Ending Discord to Harmony Shakespeare usually starts his play out with a fight scene or chaos of some sort (remember the opening scene, Act I of Romeo and Juliet?) He almost always ends things, though, with harmony being achieved. The characters learn their lessons, as do the audience members. Mysteries are resolved. The kingdom will go on with a rightful (or at least, good, ruler). All that was wrong will be set right and made good again for those who remain.

13 The Divine Right of Kings This concept was popular in the time of Shakespeare (also called the “Elizabethan Era” or the “Renaissance”). Commoners believed that it was God who ordained the king or queen. If the proper monarch was on the throne, all was well. If the wrong monarch is in charge, all kinds of things go badly in the kingdom! (“Something's rotten in the State of Denmark…”)

14 Love that Latin! “cide” The Latin root “cide” means “to kill” Define the following terms based on their Latin roots: homicide (homo=“human being” or “person” from homo sapien) suicide (sui=_____________________) regicide (regent= _________________) genocide (genus= _________________) fratricide (fraternity= ______________) sororicide (sorority= _______________) matricide (mater=_________________) patricide (pater=__________________) filicide (fili=______________________) Insecticide, pesticide, herbicide, what others can you think of?

15 Claudius Claudius is the evil uncle in Hamlet. Like Scar in Disney’s The Lion King, he kills his brother (Hamlet Sr.—the rightful King of Denmark) to take his throne and marry his wife. What three “cide’s” would Claudius be guilty of committing?

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