Presentation on theme: "What was life like when Shakespeare wrote his plays? Queen Elizabeth I ruled England. Many citizens moved to London from the country during her reign;"— Presentation transcript:
What was life like when Shakespeare wrote his plays? Queen Elizabeth I ruled England. Many citizens moved to London from the country during her reign; consequently, the population of London doubled during Shakespeare’s lifetime, despite the fact that plague killed more people than were born in the city.
The theater was a new and exciting business that attracted many intelligent and educated young men, particularly those who were intellectually ambitious but not well enough connected to join the elite world of the court. Many of these men eventually died in horrible poverty since there were no royalties or copyright laws, and writers were paid a pittance for scripts.
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. In addition to his fee, the playwright was given all the receipts (minus company expenses) at the second performance (but remember, if the show was bad, there probably wasn’t a second performance). William Shakespeare was one of these playwrights, but he went on to become one of the most famous writers of all time!
Little is known about Shakespeare’s early years, but a few details have been gathered from town and church records etc. William Shakespeare was born in 1564 to a successful middle- class glove-maker in Stratford- upon-Avon, England. His baptism took place on Wednesday, April 26, 1564. Since we know Stratford's famous Bard lived with his father, John Shakespeare, we can presume that he grew up in Henley Street, some 100 miles northwest of London.
They had three children: Susanna, Hamnet (who died at the age of eleven) and Judith. Shakespeare attended grammar school, but his formal education proceeded no further. In 1582 he married an older woman, Anne Hathaway. Anne Hathaway’s CottageAnn Hathaway
Shakespeare became a joint shareholder in one of the London theater companies (The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, which later became The King’s Men) for which he received a percentage of the gate (cover charge) and made a fine living, enough to restore his family’s fortunes. Around 1590, he left his family behind and traveled to London to work as an actor and playwright. Public and critical success quickly followed, and Shakespeare eventually became the most popular playwright in England.
Shakespeare performed for most of his career at the Globe Theatre (his own playhouse) in bankside. The Globe theatre was destroyed by a fire in 1613 during a production of Henry V but was rebuilt the following year.
Shakespeare’s career bridged the reigns of Elizabeth I (1558–1603) and James I (1603–1625), and he was a favorite of both monarchs. James Igranted Shakespeare’s company the greatest possible compliment by bestowing upon its members the title of The King’s Men.
Wealthy and renowned, Shakespeare retired to Stratford and died in 1616 at the age of fifty-two. Literature's famous Bard is buried at the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. Written upon William Shakespeare’s tombstone is an appeal that he be left to rest in peace with a curse on those who would move his bones..
A Midsummer Night's Dream is a romantic comedy that 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. Shakespearean comedies tend to end with a wedding. A romantic comedy is usually based on a mix- up in events or identities. Shakespeare’s comedies often move toward tragedies (a death or lack of of resolution) but are resolved in the nick of time. A Midsummer Night’s Dream was written by William Shakespeare in approximately 1595.
A Midsummer Night's Dream is unusual among Shakespeare's plays because it lacks a speci- fic 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.
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 alludes to the summer solstice, Midsummer Eve, occurring June 23 and marked by holiday partying and tales of fairies and temporary insanity.
There are two theories as to the origins of A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Some have theorized that the play might have been written for an aristocratic wedding. 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.
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 mocks his tragic love story through the burlesque of Pyramus and Thisbe performed by the craftsmen in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
THE THREE WORLDS of 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)
Helena, Demetrius, Lysander, Hermia Theseus and Hippolyta
THE ACTORS Bottom is the rather vain “leader” of the group who wishes to play all the parts. Other members of the cast include Quince, Flute, Starveling, Snout, Snug, Philostrate.
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 (Robin Goodfellow) – Oberon’s loyal helper
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.
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.
The play is a study in 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.
Shakespeare writes in both VERSE and PROSE VERSE – elevated passages, significant ideas, speeches by high ranking individuals PROSE – comic scenes, dialect or broken and speeches by commoners POETRY is usually blank verse – iambic pentameter without rhyme IAMBIC PENTAMETER – five beats (feet) per line with a light/ heavy stress pattern (ten syllables). RHYME is used to illustrate the close of scenes or important passages.