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Published on March 8, 2014




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William Shakespeare’s historical background: Literature These slides have been repurposed by: REITUMETSE J MONWAMESTI THIRD YEAR EDUCATION STUDENT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF JOHANNESBURG

Shakespeare’s Life  English poet and playwright  Greatest writer in England  World’s pre-eminent dramatist

William Shakespeare 1564-1616

William Shakespeare

Shakespeare  Shakespeare was an English poet, baptized in1564 and died in 1616. His exact birth date is unknown.  Widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language  Shakespeare was a respected poet and playwright in his own day, but his reputation did not rise to its present heights until the 19th century.  His plays still remain highly popular today, and is still being performed, studied and reinterpreted.

Shakespeare’s Early Life  Little was known about Shakespeare’s early life  Born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon  Most likely educated at the King’s New School  Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway when he was 18, and had 3 children, one of which died the son’s name was Hamnet which inspired him to write a play called Hamlet.  Between 1585 and 1592, Shakespeare left few historical traces, and these years are referred to as Shakespeare’s “lost years”.

Let There Be Love… At the age of eighteen, Shakespeare fell in love with Anne Hathaway who was 26. They married and had three children. Susanna was the oldest, and Hamnet and Judith were twins. Hamnet died as a child.

Shakespeare’s Life as a Poet and Playwright  It is not known when Shakespeare began writing, but records of performances show that several of his plays were staged by 1592  Among his surviving works, there are 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems and several other poems  Shakespeare’s plays were performed by the Lord Chamberlain Men, later known as King’s Men, a company owned by players including himself  This was how he eventually became wealthy  He owned the second largest house in Stratford

Stratford Upon Avon: England SHAKESPEARE’S BIRTHPLACE

Shakespeare’s Birthplace

…As it is today.




Education William attended grammar school where he studied Latin grammar, Latin literature, and rhetoric (the uses of language). As far as we know, he had no formal education.

King Edward VI Grammar School at Stratford-upon-Avon


Queen Elizabeth I

Queen Elizabeth

Elizabethan Age  Shakespeare lived and wrote during what is known as the English Renaissance, which lasted from about 1485 through the 1660s  Period is also known as Elizabethan Age, named after Queen Elizabeth who ruled England from 1558-1603

Elizabethan Age  During the Queen’s reign, society celebrated poets  Elizabethans would be surprised to learn that their age would become best known for its theater, as most considered drama a less distinguished form of literature than poetry

Elizabethan Age  England was flourishing and London was becoming one of largest cities in Europe; however life was not easy for everyone  Catholics experiences religious persecution  Women were subject to many restrictions  Most English people endured crowded living conditions and an unsatisfactory diet

Elizabethan Age  Rich and poor alike were defenseless against bubonic plague  In 1564, the year Shakespeare was born, nearly one-third of his hometown died of the plague (lost many siblings to plague/son)

Elizabethan Age Fashion

Elizabethan Age Fashion

Elizabethan Age Fashion

Elizabethan Age Fashion

Elizabethan Age Fashion

Elizabethan Age Fashion

Globe Theater  Shakespeare and the Lord Chamberlain’s Men performed at Burbage’s theater until 1599, when they built their own playhouse, the Globe  Shakespeare referred to the Globe as “this wooden O,” a term that led scholars to believe it was a circular building

Globe Theater

Globe Theater Located just outside of London

A white flag indicates that there is a play these plays would take place during the day, the groundlings would stand by the stage.

The wealthy would sit in the upper decks.

Globe Theater  Attending Shakespeare’s theater was quite different from attending theater today, which is thought of as very quiet and austere  In Elizabethan England it was a noisy, popular gathering place for people of all ages and from all walks of life

Globe Theater  Drinking and eating were permitted in the pit, which often became very noisy  If a spectator did not like a particular character or scene, he or she would feel free to hiss or boo of throw anything he or she might have on hand

Globe Theater  It is possible that Shakespeare had this in mind when he included the phrase “with patient ears attend” in the Prologue of Romeo and Juliet  The rowdy atmosphere of the pit also accounted for the exaggerated acting that was common at the time

Globe Theater  To compensate for lines that the audience could not hear, the actors used exaggerated gestures and facial expressions, unlike the natural method of acting that is used today  Nature of the crowd contributed to haste with which the lines were spoken  Today, Shakespeare play takes almost 3 hours. Then, a play would have taken two hours or less! (“the two hours’ traffic of our stage”)

Globe Theater  The original theater was destroyed by a fire in 1613  It was rebuilt in 1614, closed in 1642, and demolished in 1644  A modern reconstruction of the original Globe, named “Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre” opened in 1997

Globe Theater  Today, audiences of this “wooden O” can sit in the gallery or stand as informally as a groundling…

Globe Theater …just as they would have done 400 years ago!

Inside Shakespeare’s Globe his is a photograph of the newly restored Globe Theater in England. This picture shows what the stage looks like. T

The Renaissance

The Renaissance  Renaissance means “rebirth” in French  It is a cultural movement from the 14th-17th century, which began in Florence, Tuscany in the Late Middle Ages  A rebirth of classical knowledge, learning and art, breaking away from the ideology on the absolute power of God, which the Catholic Church enforces on

Significant Events during the Renaissance  1348- Black Death  1450-Printing press begins in Europe  1500-The Reformation  1545-The Counter-Reformation  1564-1642-Galileo Galilei  1564-1612-William Shakespeare  1573-1610-Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio  1600-Formation of the British East India Company  During this period, there was also an event known as The Enlightenment, where reason based scientific theory explained things instead of religious beliefs

How did the Renaissance influence Shakespeare’s work?  Much of his work were influenced by the huge cultural shifts during his lifetime  He was one of the first to bring the core values of the Renaissance into the theatre  Playwrights like him found more freedom to be inquisitive and think differently, which influenced his works  Shakespeare’s characters are thus always psychologically very complex  Shakespeare also explored the humanity  of his characters, and even monarchs are given emotions and are prone to making mistakes  Shakespeare included the element of Greek and Roman classics in his plays, whose texts used to be

Shakespearean Actors and Accessories

Shakespearean Actors and Accessories

William Shakespeare Works of Literature  Along with acting, he also wrote some of the most renowned and studied literature written in the English language  Poems-famous for his sonnets  Plays-Comedies, Tragedies, and Histories

William Shakespeare Comedies  All’s Well that Ends Well  As You Like It  Comedy of Errors  Measure for Measure  Midsummer Night’s Dream  Taming of the Shrew  Much Ado About Nothing  Twelfth Night  Merchant of Venice

William Shakespeare Tragedies  Julius Caesar  Hamlet  Macbeth  Othello  Romeo  King and Juliet Lear

Romeo & Juliet Romeo & Juliet was written during a period when Shakespeare had found the strength of his writing. He would have been about 30 years old when he wrote it. It stands as a great play in its own right. Romeo & Juliet is believed to have been written around 1595. The Nurse in the play refers to "an earthquake eleven years past (Act II, scene 3, line 23). London experienced a strong tremor around 1580.

Romeo & Juliet 1968

Romeo & Juliet 1996

William Shakespeare Histories  King Henry V  King John  Richard II  Richard III

Retirement He retired from the theater to his native Stratford in 1612. Due to his widespread fame and success, he was able to buy the second-largest house in Stratford with a cottage, a garden, and 107 acres of soccer field In early 1616, he wrote his will, leaving his property to his daughter Susanna, 300 pounds to his other daughter, Judith, and his second-best bed to Anne because it was her favorite.

Death of William Shakespeare Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616, on his 52nd birthday. He was buried at Trinity Church in Stratford as an honored citizen. His tombstone bears the following inscription: Good Friend, for Jesus’ sake forbear To dig the dust enclosed here. Blest be the man that spares these stones, And cursed be he who moves my bones.

These are hardly the best of Shakespeare’s lines, but like his other lines, they seem to have worked. His bones lie undisturbed to this day.

Shakespeare Today Shakespeare’s plays are still produced all over the world. During a Broadway season in the 1980s, one critic estimated that if Shakespeare were alive, he would be receiving $25,000 a week in royalties for a production of Othello alone. The play was attracting larger audiences than any other nonmusical production in town.

Shakespeare continued hakespeare was in the acting company, Lord Chamberlain's Men (later called the King’s Men) He wrote: 37 plays, 154 sonnets, and 2 long poems His work was not published during his lifetime but four years later in the "First Folio" book Shakespeare is considered a "man for all seasons" because his plays appeal to everyone (all ages and across time) S

The End

Bibliography in alphabetical order: Work taken from: Hsiang, S.U. (2011). LA holiday task 1 Shakespeare PowerPoint. Available from: (Accessed 05 March 2014). Losch, M.K (2013). Exemplar PowerPoint Using Stratford-upon-Avon: Stratford on Avon Shakespeare’s birthplace. Available from: (Accessed 05 March 2014). Meo, C. (2013). William Shakespeare PowerPoint. Available from: 05 March 2014).

Pu, Z.F. (2011). Shakespeare. Available from: 05 March 2014). Scrogin, C. (2013). Shakespeare background info: Introduction to Shakespeare. Available from: 05 March 2014). Turner. B (2009). William Shakespeare. Available from: 05 March 2014)

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