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Introduction to Shakespeare
William Shakespeare l Born 1564 in Stratford-on. Avon, died 1616. l Actor, charter member of Lord Chamberlain’s Men later known as the King’s Men. l Playwright, wrote 37 plays. l Poet, wrote over 150 sonnets.
Types of Plays l Shakespeare wrote: l Comedies - light and amusing, usually with a happy ending l Tragedies –serious dramas with disastrous endings l Histories – involve events or persons from history
The Theatre • The Globe Theatre: • Open ceiling • Three stories high • No artificial lighting • Plays were shown during daylight hours only
Spectators l Wealthy people got to sit on benches l The poor (called “groundlings”) had to stand watch from the courtyard l There was much more audience participation than today
Actors l Six to eight sharers and then an equal number of hired minor actors who played all of the roles. l Only men and boys. l Young boys whose voices had not changed played the women’s roles. l It would have been indecent for a woman to appear on stage.
The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet l Based on a poem by Arthur Brooke, “The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet” which was based on older Italian stories. l Tells the story of two starcrossed lovers doomed to disaster by fate and their tragic flaw of implusiveness.
The Montagues Lord Montague – father of Romeo Lady Montague – mother of Romeo Montague – son Benvolio – nephew of Montague and Romeo’s cousin Balthasar – servant to Romeo Abram – servant to Montague
The Capulets Lord Capulet – father of Juliet Lady Capulet – mother of Juliet Capulet – daughter Tybalt – nephew of Lady Capulet, Juliet’s cousin Nurse – takes care of Juliet Sampson and Gregory-servants to Capulet Peter – servant to Juliet’s Nurse An Old Man-servant
Royalty Prince Escalus – ruler of Verona Mercutio – kinsman of the Prince and friend of Romeo Count Paris – a young nobleman
Clergy Friar Laurence – a Franciscan priest Friar John – another Franciscan priest
Others An Apothocary- a druggist Page –to Paris Chief Watchman Three Musicians An Officer Citizens of Verona, Relatives, Maskers, Guards, Watchmen and Attendants
Things to think about… l What would you do if your parents did not approve of someone you were dating? l How important is the opinion of your family in decisions that you make? l Does violence solve problems?