Background Notes. William Shakespeare and Romeo and Juliet

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1 Background Notes William Shakespeare and Romeo and Juliet

2 Shakespeare: A brief biography Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564 in Stratford-on-Avon, England to an upper/ middle class family.

3 Shakespeare: A brief biography He learned Latin and Greek history in his grammar school as a child. This would explain the Latin and Greek references in his works. There is not evidence that Shakespeare continued his schooling after elementary school.

4 Shakespeare: A Brief Biography In 1582 at the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway who was 26. She was pregnant before they were married.

5 Shakespeare: A Brief Biography After a few years of marriage, Shakespeare left Stratford-on-Avon and his family for London to pursue his career in acting and writing.

6 Shakespeare: A Brief Biography Shakespeare wrote and acted with The Lord Chamberlain s Men. This was an acting troupe that would perform during Shakespeare s time.

7 Shakespeare: A Brief Biography It is believed that Shakespeare died on April 23, In his will, Shakespeare left his daughters the majority of his wealth and possessions. He left his wife his second best bed.

8 Shakespeare: A Brief Biography The inscription on his tomb states: "Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare, To dig the dust enclosed here. Blessed be the man that spares these stones, And cursed be he that moves my bones. Shakespeare wrote this because in his time, old bodies were dug up and burned to make room for new burials. Shakespeare despised this treatment of bodies, so he wrote this.

9 Romeo and Juliet and Elizabethan Theater Shakespeare did not create the story of Romeo and Juliet. In fact, it was done at least twice before. The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet was written by Arthur Brooke in This is considered Shakespeare s chief source for Romeo and Juliet. However, the Roman myth, Thisbe and Pyramus, is also a story with the same plot as Romeo and Juliet.

10 Romeo and Juliet and Elizabethan Theater Much of Shakespeare s wealth came from his investment in The Globe Theater. The Globe Theater was the primary home of Shakespeare s acting company beginning in late 1599.

11 Romeo and Juliet and Elizabethan Theater Anyone could attend a performance at The Globe. However, where the person watched it from depended on how much he or she could afford. Groundlings, or poor people, stood closest to the stage, which cost a penny. People could pay a $.02 to sit in a seat and another penny for a cushion. Queen Elizabeth also frequently attended the theater. This time was called The Elizabethan Era.

12 Romeo and Juliet and Elizabethan Theater Because of the lack of special effects in the Elizabethan Era, the scenery, costumes, and language were used to set the mood for the play. During the Elizabethan Era, all parts were played by males (even female parts).

13 Romeo and Juliet By William Shakespeare

14 The Feud Romeo s family, the Montagues, have a long standing feud with Juliet s family, the Capulets. While the audience never learns about the source of the ancient quarrel, we do learn that it has recently grown stronger.

15 Comedy and Tragedy Romeo and Juliet begins as a comedy but ends as a tragedy. Elements of a comedy A struggle of young lovers to overcome difficulty that is often presented by elders Separation and unification Heightened tensions, often within a family Elements of a tragedy Must have a tragic hero/heroine Ends in the death of many of the main characters The shift from comedy to tragedy is what sets Romeo and Juliet apart from the rest of Shakespeare s plays.

16 Themes Love The power of love Love as a cause for violence Hate Hate as a forced emotion Fate The inevitability of fate

17 Interesting Star-crossed lovers refers to two people who are in love but have conflicting astrological signs. In Shakespeare s times, people believed the course of their lives was determined by the exact second they were born.

18 - Is a Montague - 16 years old - Cute, smart, sensitive and romantic Romeo

19 Romeo s Mom Lady Montague

20 Lord Montague Romeo s dad Worries about Romeo s sadness

21 Romeo s servant Balthasar

22 Abram Montague s servant Fights Sampson and Gregory in the beginning

23 Romeo s cousin & friend Tries to break-up fights and keep the peace. Benvolio

24 Juliet is a Capulet, 13 yrs old Juliet is very close with the nurse.

25 Juliet s dad Lord Capulet

26 Lady Capulet Juliet s mom Ineffectual motherrelies on the nurse to mother Juliet

27 Has cared for Juliet since she was born Vulgar, long-winded, loyal and a confidante to Juliet Nurse

28 Gregory & Sampson Servants to the Capulets Start a fight w/ Montagues at the beginning of the play

29 Juliet s cousin Quick tempered Tybalt

30 Mercutio Related to the prince Good friends W/ Romeo Believes love is about the physical contact and nothing else.

31 Prince Escalus Prince of Verona Related to Mercutio and Paris

32 Count Paris Related to the prince Preferred by the Capulets to marry Juliet

33 The woman who Romeo is obsessed with at the beginning of the play. Rosaline

34 The Apothecary Like a pharmacist He sells the poison to Romeo. Values money more than morals

35 Friar Lawrence Friend to Romeo and Juliet Kind, civic-minded Secretly marries R & J in hopes that their marriage will end the feud. He is a Catholic holy man and also familiar with potions and herbs.

36 A Catholic holy man Friar John

37 Setting The story is set in the late 1500s mostly in the town of Verona, Italy. However, there are a few acts set in Mantua, Italy a smaller town just a few miles away.

38 Timeline Sunday Act One Monday Act Two Tuesday Act Three Wednesday Act Four Thursday Act Five

39

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