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Shakespeare’s Life and Times/ Romeo and Juliet

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1 Shakespeare’s Life and Times/ Romeo and Juliet
Background Information

2 William Shakespeare Perhaps the most famous playwright/ author in the world to this day Born (April 23rd is celebrated as his birthday) Born in Stratford-upon-Avon, England (100 miles west of London) Agricultural center, market town Married Anne Hathaway of Stratford in 1582 Had three children with her “lost years” – not much is known about him.

3 William Shakespeare Theatres were closed due to outbreak of the plague During this time, it is believed that Shakespeare made social connections with others. .1594 Theatres reopened. Shakespeare is listed as treasurer of the Queens Chamber (an acting guild)

4 William Shakespeare Between 1594 and 1599
Shakespeare wrote a lot Principle actor and manager for Chamberlain's men Prospered financially, made investments 1599 – became part owner of the Globe Theater 1603 – James I becomes king of England – Shakespeare’s company performed for him 11 times. Around 1608 – stopped writing plays Died in 1616 at the age of 52. Credited with writing 37 plays and 154 sonnets

5 Shakespeare’s Works Four Main “types” of writing
Comedies Histories Poems/Sonnets Tragedies Also other works attributed to him called “Aprocrypha”

6 Shakespeare’s Works Comedies Histories
Has a happy ending – usually involves marriages Light-hearted tone Emphasis on situations, multiple plots Clever servants Examples – The Comedy of Errors, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, Taming of the Shrew Histories Mostly based on the lives of English kings Used other people’s writings of English and Roman history to write these plays Often viewed as Tudor propaganda Examples: King John, Richard II, Henry V, Henry VIII

7 Shakespeare’s Works Sonnets About 154 poems
Themes of love, time, beauty, mortality Structure: 14 lines total Three four-line stanzas (called quatrains) Final couplet (2 lines) in iambic pentameter Rhyme Scheme (ABAB CDCD EFEF GG)

8 Shakespeare’s Works Tragedies
Linked to Aristotle’s ideas about tragedy: Noble/Admirable Protagonist - Audience must like, understand, and sympathize with main character Protagonist has a tragic flaw – Hamartia – character flaw Hubris - pride Catastrophe/ Fall ending in death Fate/Fortune Catharsis – emotional purging – fall evokes pity and terror in audience (ie. The audience feels bad for the main character)

9 Shakespeare’s Works Tragedies ALSO influenced by Roman Tragedies
Revenge plays a big role Tyranny – main leader with a lot of power over others Excessive violence/bloody horror (everyone dies) Further influenced by the world he lived in Hierarchy of people (kings, nobles, serfs, etc.) Order is given by God Order is disrupted in tragedy Internal forces – human weakness External forces – bad luck/fortune Order is restored through an authority figure

10 Shakespeare’s Works Tragedies - Characteristics
Noble but flawed characters Motivated by – spiritual virtues, feelings, sincerity, glory/failure Plot - Key features - Cause and effect “tragic destiny” or fate Protagonist has an inner struggle Always ends in death. At the very end, might leave audience with some sort of “hope”. Examples: Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, Macbeth, Hamlet, Othello, and many more

11 The Theatre during Shakespeare’s Time
No women actors – women’s roles were usually played by younger boys The plays were usually written by actors, people kept in mind certain people to play certain roles Audience – close packed no reserved seats for commoners Would throw food/hiss/boo No scenery - words describe what is supposed to be “seen” Costumes were elaborate



14 Romeo and Juliet Based on existing material – old poems and plays
First published in 1597 Genre: tragedy Setting: Italian city of Verona (mostly) 14th century Protagonists: Romeo and Juliet

15 Romeo and Juliet Themes – a theme is a universal idea
Hastiness Infatuation Selfishness Forcefulness of love Individual vs. Society Inevitability of fate Motifs – help explore themes Light/dark Opposite points of view

16 Romeo and Juliet “comic relief” in the form of lesser characters
Specifically the nurse “fights” to get audience excited about the play “thumb-biting” – like giving the middle finger Shakespeare uses “puns” or plays on words to keep audience interested/entertained Characters divided into two “sides” – kind of like two gangs. Capulets vs. Montagues

17 Terms you should be familiar with
Theme, Motif, symbol , metaphor, simile, pun, allusion, analogy, aside, iambic pentameter, blank verse, characterization, irony, dramatic irony, monologue, oxymoron (you already defined these in web activity)

18 Terms you should be familiar with
Protagonist – “good guy” / who story is about Antagonist – “bad guy” works against the main character Dramatic structure – structure of the play Conflict – struggle between characters or forces Figurative language – language that is NOT meant to be taken literally. Foreshadowing – hints or clues about what is coming up.

19 Terms you should be familiar with
Imagery – language that appeals to senses Motivation – why a character does something Personification – figure of speech in which something non-human is described as human and/or given a personality Suspense – makes audience uncertain about what’s going to happen next Soliloquy – speech in which a character is alone on stage and expresses thoughts aloud

20 Irony – three types Irony – portrays differences between appearance and reality 1. dramatic irony – contrast between what the audience sees and what the character does not know 2. situational irony – contrast between what is EXPECTED and what actually happens 3. verbal irony – contrast between what is SAID and what is meant (most common)

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