A biographical look at William Shakespeare s Life

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1 A biographical look at William Shakespeare s Life

2 SHAKESPEARE S CHILDHOOD Born April 23, 1564 to John Shakespeare and Mary in Stratford Upon Avon. John Shakespeare, William s father, was a tanner by trade. A tanner is a person who works specifically with leather and animal hide. He also served a successful political appointment in Stratford. The Shakespeare family was solid, middle-class stock, and they lived a comfortable lifestyle in Stratford. As a boy, Shakespeare attended a free-school. A free-school is comparable to our current-day public school system. For his time, Shakespeare was well educated, a privilege most children did not have.

3 SHAKESPEARE S YOUNG ADULTHOOD At eighteen, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway. Anne was twentysix when they married in November of Six months later, Anne gave birth to their first child, Susanna. Three years later, Anne also gave birth to twins, Judith and Hamnet

4 THE EARLY THEATRE SCENE In his early twenties, Shakespeare decided to leave Stratford for the big city life of London. In London, Shakespeare pursued his initial theatre expertise--acting! Shakespeare s travels to London allowed him the opportunity to seek fame, fortune, and popularity in the theatre--much like aspiring actors who leave for Hollywood.

5 THE EARLY THEATRE SCENE CONT... Upon arriving in London, Shakespeare joined The Lord Chamberlain s Men in which he both acted and wrote. He later became a stockholder in this acting company. The plays were attended by many nobles, including Queen Elizabeth herself.

6 SHAKESPEARE AS A POET From , Shakespeare pursued a career in poetry. A rampant plague in London, essentially closed all theatres. During this time period, Shakespeare began writing his famous sonnets.

7 THEATRE REVIVED After the plague in London, Shakespeare resumed his theatre career and 1590 s, Shakespeare s popularity soared. He served as an apprentice under Christopher Marlowe. He began writing as many as two plays a year, and his stock earnings made him a very wealthy man!

8 THEATRE REVIVED CONT... Records indicated that Shakespeare bought two very expensive houses in Stratford, but seldom returned there. Most of his time was spent in London. In 1594, he wrote 1 st major play The Comedy of Errors. In 1603, King James VI issued a license to The Lord Chamberlain s Men, and renamed the acting troupe, The King s Men. The King s Men became the official acting company of London.

9 THE GLOBE THEATRE The Globe Theatre was perhaps the most famous of its kind. It was built i1599 specifically for The Lord Chamberlain s Men. The Globe was built by English architect, Cuthbert Burbage. 50% of The Globe s assets were given to Burbage, and the other 50% was divided between five members of The Lord Chamberlain s Men--including Shakespeare himself.

10 THE GLOBE S STRUCTURE Globe theatre had the capacity for 2000 to 3000 spectators. All performances were performed during the day because there was no artificial light. A flag indicated the type of play being performed. The entire theatre was open to the outside; therefore acoustics were terrible. Actors depended on strong enunciation and exaggerated physical gestures to deliver their lines.

11 THE AUDIENCE AND ACTORS Generally speaking, The Globe opened itself up to all walks of life--the poor and noble combined. In front of the stage, sat the groundlings. These were the audience members who could not afford a covered seat. The galleries (above the ground) housed the nobility. The Galleries 16th century acting was not a noble profession! In fact, most people considered it a bit vulgar. Burned in 1613 The Groundlings

12 THE GLOBE The actual play began when an actor playing the Chorus stepped onto the stage. There was no curtain. There were very few props and scenery. The box office got its name when patrons dropped their coins into a box for payment. Actors were ONLY male but BOTH adult and children.

13 Apron Stage Proper Inner Stage Stage 2 nd Level Stage 3 rd Level Galleries Pit

14 THE AUDIENCE AND ACTORS The theatre itself was located in the sporting district -- commonly called the red-light district, and actors were often arrested on the grounds for vagrancy. The profession was technically illegal, along with cockfighting, bear-baiting, and tavern attractions, but because The Globe Theatre operated outside of the city limits, city officials could not take action against its owners. Against Puritan religion. When Queen Elizabeth I and James VI began patronizing the theatre, however, the general elitist attitude changed, and The Globe Theatre was set apart from other illegal activities.

15 RETURNING TO STRATFORD Shakespeare eventually retired to Stratford Upon Avon in his early fifties. His oldest daughter, Susanna, married a doctor, and his youngest and only remaining child, Judith, married a Stratford neighbor. He wrote 37 plays 2 per yr) Plays are divided into The Histories, The Comedies, and The Tragedies Ironically, Shakespeare s death is recorded on April 23, the day of his birth. He was said to have left only the next best bed to his wife.

16 DRAMA 1. Written in dialogue 2. Performed by Actors on a stage. 3. Performed in front of an audience.

17 2 MAJOR TYPES OF DRAMA 1. Comedy - Literary work that is amusing and ends happily. 2. Tragedy - Literary work in which the main character(s) meet an unhappy or disastrous end

18 DIVISIONS OF DRAMA Act: a major division of a play Scene: a minor divison of a play - a scene falls within an act Dialogue conversations held between 2 or more characters

19 TYPES OF DRAMATIC SPEECHES Monologue a long, uninterrupted speech given by a character in the presence of other characters on stage. Soliloquy a long, uninterrupted speech given by a character who is alone on stage. - Character reveals his/her inner thoughts & feelings Aside Words spoken by a character in a play, usually in an undertone, NOT to be heard by the other characters.

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