William Shakespeare1564 1616ActorPoetPlaywright
Family BackgroundBaptized: April 26, 1564 in Stratford-upon-AvonParents: John & MaryJohns Occupations: tanner, glover, dealer in grain, and town official of StratfordMiddle-Class familyPaid to obtain a coat of arms for his father an effort to improve his familys social status
Family Background ContMarried Anne Hathaway on November 28, 1582Anne was 26 and Shakespeare was 18Anne was 3 months pregnant when they marriedThey had 3 childrenSusanna (1583)Twins Hamnet & Judith (1585) Hamnet dies at 11Finished his education at 14 never attended college
The Lost Years1585 1592There is no record of Shakespeares activities between these yearsMany scholars believe that at this time Shakespeare was perfecting his dramatic skills and collecting sources for the plots of his plays.
Englands MonarchyQueen Elizabeth IHeld the throne from 1558 16031588 defeats Spanish Armada making England a powerful nationSupported the theatreKing James I (cousin of Elizabeth)King of England from 1603 1625Supported theatre, changed the name of Shakespeares acting companyCreated new translation of the Bible
Living ConditionsConditions are bad!Thames River polluted with raw sewagePovertyBathing was considered dangerousBody odor was strongChildhood diseasesChildren often died before 5 years
Living Conditions ContSmall PoxBubonic PlagueDestroyed 1/3 1/2 of European populationNo running waterOpen sewersCrowdedClothes one set was used all year long, rarely washed
ShakespeareThe PlaywrightShakespeare relocates to London sometime after the birth of his twins1592-1594 the theatres closed due to the Black PlagueShakespeare used this time to write his sonnets - 154 (published 1609)
Shakespeare ContShakespeare became good friends with the upper classHe bought a share of the company, Lord Chamberlains Men (his acting company)This investment led to his most productive years
The GlobeBuilt in 1599Most magnificent theatre in LondonHome to Lord Chamberlains MenShakespeare called it the Wooden OHad no artificial lighting performed in open-air during daylight
The Globe ContShakespeare was 1/5 owner earned 10% of total profits1608-1613 -Retired to Stratford & lived on the profits he earned from the Globe1613 Globe burned to the ground during a performance of Henry VIII
Globe PerformancesActors:Besides having to memorize lines, they had to sing & dance, wrestle & fence, clown & weepAll actors were men, with boys usually playing female rolesDue to the scandalous nature, women were not allowed in the theatreAudience:Groundlings paid a penny to stand and watch the play, higher class sat in the balconyMembers would throw food or jeer
The Plays1590s Early plays were mainly comedy and historiesComedy is social: leads to happy resolution and social unityEarly 1600s Focus on tragedy/dramatic themesTragedy is individual: concentrating on the suffering of a single, remarkable hero leading to individual torment, waste & death
LanguageProse:Language without metrical structureVerse:Poetic language and styleBlank Verse:Unrhymed iambic pentameterIambic Pentameter:Five beats of alternating unstressed and stressed syllables; ten syllables per lineSo FAIR/ and FOUL/ a DAY/ I HAVE/ not SEEN
Unusual Word OrderShakespeare uses unusual word order to emphasize an action, a word, an emotion, or just create a rhyme.I ate the sandwich.I the sandwich ate.Ate the sandwich I.The sandwich I ate.Ate I the sandwich.The sandwich ate I.
Tips for deciphering unusual word order:Find the subject of the sentence.Find the verb.Find the object.Rearrange the sentence to make it easier to understand.I ate the sandwich.I = subjectAte = verbSandwich = object
MiscellaneousThe Bible is the only book that has been published more times than Shakespeares plays.Lord Chamberlains Men changed its name to the Kings Men when King James took the thrown.Richard Burbage was the leading actor of this time.
Miscellaneous ContSome scholars believe that Shakespeare did not write his plays and poetry because:There is little information about his lifeHis origins and education are poor or humblePossible authors include: Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, Queen Elizabeth I, Edward de Vere Earl Of Oxford, William Stanley Earl of Derby
The Curtain FallsShakespeare dies on April 23, 1616The Puritans closed the Globe theatre and in 1644 they tore it down and replaced it with tenement housing.The Puritans did not approve of the theatre and believed it was a useless form of entertainment.