Elizabethan Age - Notes
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Elizabethan Age and Shakespeare Notes
Era is named after Elizabeth I, monarch of England (1558-1603) During her reign, a Renaissance (French for re-birth) of the arts and sciences was occurring. The Renaissance (1350-1600) marked a transition from the medieval to the modern world in Western Europe. English drama produced during this time is known as Elizabethan Drama
In general, there was not much scenery in Elizabethan drama; costumes were quite elaborate and there were many props
For example, a pig bladder full of blood was used for Juliet’s death scene in Romeo and Juliet.
All roles were played by men. Sometimes actors had to learn as many as six parts at a time. Young boys played the female parts. That is why there are few romance scenes on stage.
Shakespeare’s Early Life
Born April 23, 1564 Birthplace: Henley Street, Stratford-on-Avon, not far from London Parents: John Shakespeare; Mary Arden, from a wealthy family
inherited land to William because he was the oldest of eight children
Married Anne Hathaway on November 27, 1582 (he was 18, she was 26) Oldest daughter, Susanna, was born six months later 1585- twins born - Hamnet and Judith Hamnet died at age 11 (profoundly affected Shakespeare; Hamlet is a variation of that name)
He wrote 154 sonnets and two long poems He wrote 37 plays. Most of his sonnets were written between 1592-1594 because the theaters were closed due to the Black Plague
By the time he was 32, he was considered the best writer of comedy and tragedy He died on his 52nd birthday (April 23,1616)
The Globe was the most important of the public theaters “Groundlings,” - paid a penny for admission, stood in the open court
Usually from the lower class liked to throw food yelled at the actors on stage and sometimes even sat on the stage, especially if they didn’t like what they were seeing.
The higher priced tickets were two and three cents.
History of The Globe
built in 1599 seated 2,100 people Shakespeare was one of ten owners 1613—burnt down (waterproof thatch roof caught on fire during a performance of Henry VIII--cannon)
Background to Romeo and Juliet
written about 1595 probably his 13th play idea taken from “The Tragical History of Romeo and Juliet,” a poem by Arthur Brooke (1562) Unlike his other tragedies, Shakespeare allows chance, or fate, to determine the destiny of the hero and heroine (Romeo and Juliet) more than their tragic flaws do.
Shakespearean Style and Figurative Language
Freytag’s Pyramid Act 3 : Climax Ac t 4: Falling Action Act 2: Rising Action Act 5: Resolution Act I: Exposition
The chief poetic form Shakespeare used was blank verse, or unrhymed iambic pentameter.
Examples: Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Soliloquies: a speech made by an actor who is alone on stage, intended to reveal his thoughts
Asides: remarks made by a character that are meant to be heard by the audience and perhaps one other character on stage, but no one else.
Asides are usually ironic because they inform the audience about something of which the other characters are ignorant.
Conventions: agreements between the artist and the audience.
For example, it was assumed that all characters spoke in poetic form unless they were commoners; the dialogue was meant to be blunt or the dialogue was relating serious information (as in a royal document or letter).
Anachronisms: out of place objects, customs or beliefs.
For example, the Romans in the play Julius Caesar didn’t wear Roman attire. Rather they wore elaborate Elizabethan costumes.
Tragic flaw: a flaw, or error, in the tragic hero that is the cause of his downfall.
Foil: two contrasting characters, used to highlight the differences between the two.
A comparison of two different things or ideas through the use of the words “like” or “as.” It is a stated comparison, where the author says one thing is like another
e.g., The warrior fought like a lion.
A direct comparison of two seemingly unlike objects
The author states the one thing is another. It is usually a comparison between something that is real or concrete and something that is abstract. e.g., Life is but a dream.
A kind of metaphor which gives inanimate objects or abstract ideas human characteristics.
e.g., The wind cried in the dark.
A deliberate, extravagant, and often outrageous exaggeration. It may be used either for serious or comic effect. e.g., The shot that was heard ‘round the world.’
The opposite of hyperbole. It is a kind of irony which deliberately represents something as much less than it really is. e.g., I could probably manage to survive on a salary of two million dollars per year.
A statement which contradicts itself. It may seem almost absurd. Although it may seem to be at odds with ordinary experience, it usually turns out to have a coherent meaning, and it reveals a truth that is normally hidden. e.g., The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.
A form of paradox which combines a pair of contrary terms into a single expression. This combination usually serves the purpose of shocking the reader into awareness.
e.g., sweet sorrow
A play on words which are identical or similar in sound but which have sharply diverse meanings. Puns may have serious or humorous uses. In Romeo and Juliet as Mercutio is dying, he says, “Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find me a grave man.”
Irony – contradiction between what is real and what is expected
Verbal irony – when what is said has a different meaning than what is normally intended.
It is simple to stop smoking. I’ve done it many times.
Situational Irony - When what happens contradicts what is expected.
For example, Romeo tries to make peace with the Capulets, ends up killing Tybalt, and is banished.
Dramatic Irony – When the audience knows something the characters do not.
For example, we know Juliet is not dead. Romeo believes she is dead and stabs himself (dummy).
A type of irony in which a person appears to be praising something while he is actually insulting it.
As I fell down the stairs head-first, I heard her say, “Look at that coordination.”
A direct contrast of structurally parallel word groupings generally for the purpose of contrast
sink or swim
A form of personification in which the absent or dead are spoken to as if present
Oh William Shakespeare, What dost thou mean by thy ramblings?
The inanimate is spoken to as if it is animate (alive).
A reference to a mythological, literary, historical, or Biblical person, place, or thing.
Hey Romeo, cool your jets and get your hands off my daughter!
A form of metaphor A part of something is used to signify the whole. Also, the reverse can be true where the whole can represent the part.
Canada played the U.S. in the hockey finals. (In reality, the Canadian team, played the U.S. team, not the entire country.)
Another form involves the container representing the thing being contained.
the pot is boiling. (In reality, the pot isn’t boiling, just the water in it).
Also, it can involve the material from which an object is made standing for the object.
The quarterback tossed the pigskin.
The name of one thing is applied to another thing with which it is closely associated
I love Shakespeare.
(A person doesn’t really love the man; he really means he loves to read Shakespeare’s plays.)