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What was life like when Shakespeare was writing his plays? Queen Elizabeth I was on the throne of England. The population of London doubled during Shakespeare’s.

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Presentation on theme: "What was life like when Shakespeare was writing his plays? Queen Elizabeth I was on the throne of England. The population of London doubled during Shakespeare’s."— Presentation transcript:


2 What was life like when Shakespeare was writing his plays? Queen Elizabeth I was on the throne of England. The population of London doubled during Shakespeare’s lifetime (from about 100,000 to approximately 200,000).

3 The theater was a new and exciting business. An actor’s profession was limited to men (considered disreputable) No royalties or copyright existed so writers were paid a pittance for scripts.

4 Scholars estimate that until about 1603 the average payment for a play was £6 (six pounds); by 1613 the price had risen to £10 or £12. William Shakespeare was one of these playwrights, but he went on to become one of the most famous writers of all time!

5 Few details are known about Shakespeare’s life (gathered from town and church records etc.) Born in 1564 to a middle-class family in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. His baptism took place on Wednesday, April the 26th, 1564.

6 They had three children: Susanna, Hamnet (who died at the age of eleven) and Judith. Shakespeare attended grammar school (standard education at the time). In 1582 he married an older woman, Anne Hathaway. Anne Hathaway’s Cottage

7 Became a joint shareholder in the Lord Chamberlain’s Men (later called the King’s Men), receiving received a percentage of the profits. Around 1590, Shakespeare moved to London to work as an actor and playwright. Quickly became very successful. The Globe

8 Shakespeare performed for most of his career at the Globe Theatre. The Globe theatre was destroyed by a fire in 1613 during a production of Henry V but was rebuilt the following year.



11 Shakespeare’s career bridged the reigns of Elizabeth I (ruled 1558–1603) and James I (ruled 1603–1625), and he was a favorite of both monarchs. James granted Shakespeare’s company the greatest possible compliment by bestowing upon its members the title of King’s Men.

12 Wealthy and renowned, Shakespeare retired to Stratford and died in 1616 at the age of fifty-two. The famous Bard is buried at the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford.. Good friend, for Jesus´ sake forbeare To digg the dust enclosed here! Blest be ye man that spares thes stones And curst be he that moues my bones

13 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 – simply, the play will end happily Romantic comedy - 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.

14 A Midsummer Night's Dream sources: Story of Pyramus and Thisbe was borrowed from Ovid’s Metamorphosis. The wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta was described in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. The theme of a daughter who wants to marry against her father's desires was explored in 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.

15 Fairies: prior to Elizabethan times, considered evil spirits who stole children and sacrificed them to the devil. Shakespeare 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.

16 There are several theories at to the origins of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The play might have been written for an aristocratic wedding. Possibly written for the Queen to celebrate the feast day of St. John the Baptist (celebrated on June 24. It was believed that on Midsummer Night’s Eve the fairies and witches held their festival.

17 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)

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

19 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

20 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

21 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.

22 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

23 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.

24 Motifs Eyes – sight as a powerful weapon Flowers – beauty of nature, associated with love Love potion – fickle nature of love Contrast – characters have opposites

25 Shakespeare writes in both VERSE and PROSE VERSE – elevated passages, significant ideas, speeches by high ranking individuals PROSE – comic scenes, dialect or broken English (slang/not proper) and speeches by commoners are in prose (written or spoken word) POETRY is usually blank verse – iambic pentameter lines without rhyme IAMBIC PENTAMETRE – five beats (feet) per line with a light/ heavy stress pattern (ten syllables). RHYME is used (couplet or sonnet) to underline important passages (e.g.soliloquy – the act of speaking when alone or regardless of any listeners, often a character’s inner thoughts)



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