Romeo and Juliet. William Shakespeare

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1 Romeo and Juliet William Shakespeare

2

3 Author Bio Full Name: William Shakespeare Date of Birth: 1564 Place of Birth: Stratford-upon- Avon, England Date of Death: 1616

4 Brief Life Story Shakespeare s father was a glove-maker, and Shakespeare received no more than a grammar school education. He married Anne Hathaway in 1582, but left his family behind around 1590 and moved to London, where he became an actor and playwright. He was an immediate success. Shakespeare soon became the most popular playwright of the day as well as a part-owner of the Globe Theater. His theater troupe was adopted by King James as the King s Men in Shakespeare retired as a rich and prominent man to Stratfordupon-Avon in 1613, and died three years later.

5 Renaissance Literature Renaissance Literature refers to the period in European literature, which began in Italy during the 15th century and spread around Europe through the 17th century. This was a time of rebirth because many of the principles exposed during the classical time period in ancient Greece and Rome were the basis of Renaissance literature. The creation of the printing press by Johann Gutenberg encouraged authors to write in the local vernacular rather than in Greek or Latin classic languages, widening the reading audience and promoting the spread of Renaissance ideas.

6 Shakespeare William Shakespeare (baptized 26 April 1564 died 23 April 1616) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's preeminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His plays have been translated into every major living language, and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

7 Context William Shakespeare s career bridged the reigns of Elizabeth I (ruled ) and James I (ruled ), and he was a favorite of both monarchs. Indeed, James granted Shakespeare s company the greatest possible compliment by bestowing upon its members the title of King s Men. Wealthy and renowned, Shakespeare retired to Stratford and died in 1616 at the age of fifty-two. At the time of Shakespeare s death, literary luminaries such as Ben Jonson hailed his works as timeless.

8 Context Shakespeare s works were collected and printed in various editions in the century following his death, and by the early eighteenth century his reputation as the greatest poet ever to write in English was well established. Some people have concluded that Shakespeare s plays were really written by someone else Francis Bacon and the Earl of Oxford are the two most popular candidates but the support for this claim is overwhelmingly circumstantial, and the theory is not taken seriously by many scholars.

9 Context In the absence of credible evidence to the contrary, Shakespeare must be viewed as the author of the 37 plays and 154 sonnets that bear his name. The legacy of this body of work is immense. A number of Shakespeare s plays seem to have transcended even the category of brilliance, becoming so influential as to profoundly affect the course of Western literature and culture ever after.

10 About Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare did not invent the story of Romeo and Juliet. He did not, in fact, even introduce the story into the English language. A poet named Arthur Brooks first brought the story of Romeus and Juliet to an Englishspeaking audience in a long and plodding poem that was itself not original, but rather an adaptation of adaptations that stretched across nearly a hundred years and two languages. Many of the details of Shakespeare s plot are lifted directly from Brooks s poem, including the meeting of Romeo and Juliet at the ball, their secret marriage, Romeo s fight with Tybalt, the sleeping potion, and the timing of the lover s eventual suicides. Such appropriation of other stories is characteristic of Shakespeare, who often wrote plays based on earlier works.

11 Context Shakespeare s use of existing material as fodder for his plays should not, however, be taken as a lack of originality. Instead, readers should note how Shakespeare crafts his sources in new ways while displaying a remarkable understanding of the literary tradition in which he is working. Shakespeare s version of Romeo and Juliet is no exception. The play distinguishes itself from its predecessors in several important aspects: the subtlety and originality of its characterization (Shakespeare almost wholly created Mercutio); the intense pace of its action, which is compressed from nine months into four frenetic days; a powerful enrichment of the story s thematic aspects; and, above all, an extraordinary use of language.

12 Context Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet in full knowledge that the story he was telling was old, clichéd, and an easy target for parody. In writing Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare, then, implicitly set himself the task of telling a love story despite the considerable forces he knew were stacked against its success. Through the incomparable intensity of his language Shakespeare succeeded in this effort, writing a play that is universally accepted in Western culture as the preeminent, archetypal love story.

13 Features of Elizabethan theatre

14 Pace Plays were performed quickly - not garbling and rushing off the stage but without the long breaks to change scenes. Actors would have had to use their voices and bodies expressively to convey mood and meaning.

15 Times of Performances Plays were performed in the afternoon as there was no lighting for night performances.

16 The Stage Stages were round or polygonal and open to the sky although there was usually a canopy over the stage. Two doors at the back of the stage lead to the dressing rooms. There were no curtains, the audience could see everything.

17 Costumes More than costumes, actors wore classic Elizabethan wardrobes. Costumes were likely to be fashionable and contemporary (at the time) They were used to indicate the character s status or profession.

18 On Stage Music and dancing were part of the theatre form, as were sword fights. Elizabethan actors were accomplished at stage sword fighting since it was something that was usual to them.

19 Audience The groundlings paid a small entry fee and stood for the duration of the performance in front of the stage. Wealthy people bought seats in the galleries or sat on the stage itself.

20 Female Actors? Women were not permitted to act so female roles were played by young boys whose voices had not yet broken.

21 TOP 10 FACTS ABOUT ELIZABETHAN THEATRE! 1. There were no Elizabethan Theatres until plays were performed in the courtyards of inns - they were referred to as 'inn-yards' 2. James Burbage built the very first theatre in 1576 with his brother-in-law John Brayne, appropriately named 'The Theatre'. 3. The Globe was built in a similar style to the Coliseum, but on a smaller scale - other Elizabethan Theatres followed this style of architecture - they were called amphitheaters. 4. Elizabethan theatres were also used for bear baiting, gambling and for immoral purposes 5. Elizabethan theatres attracted huge crowds - up to 3000 people 6. Shakespeare and his company built TWO Globe Theatres! 7. The Globe theatre was built by a carpenter called Peter Smith together with his workforce. They started building in 1597 and it was finished in Many Londoners were strict Protestants - Puritans in fact, who abhorred the theatres and many of the people they attracted 9. Objections to the Theatres escalated from the Church and the City of London Officials 1. Respectable citizens added even more objections about the rise in crime and the bawdy nature of some of the plays, fighting, drinking not to mention the risk of so many people and the spread of the Bubonic Plague! In 1596 London's authorities were unwilling to ignore the growing complaints any longer and they banned the public presentation of plays and all Theatres within the City limits of London 10. All Theatres located in the City were forced to move to the South side of the River Thames

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