*Describe or list the most important characteristics of the kind of public theater (i.
e., the Globe) in which Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed, including how it was shaped, how many floors it had, where the audience watched from, how many people it could hold, what the stage and associated acting areas were like, etc.
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The Globe Theatre’s platform-stage was encircled on three sides by the standing spectators or groundlings (who paid a penny for admittance), so that the production–if not quite in the round–employed what today we call arena staging.
*List the most important conventions of acting and play production on the Renaissance English stage (especially the plays Shakespeare wrote), including how costumes, props, scenery, scene shifts, character types, soliloquies, etc., were used.
All parts in Shakespeare’s plays were played by men, Shakespeare often uses a rhyming couplet at the end of a scene, Shakespeare’s plays (and other plays of the time) used soliloquies and asides, Generally, speaking a character who appears in one scene will not appear at the beginning of the very next scene, and In addition to sometimes speaking in prose, Shakespeare’s characters often speak in verse, most often in blank verse but sometimes in rhyming verse.
*During what time of day were plays performed in the public theaters of Shakespeare’s time?
According to the General Introduction, how did Shakespeare usually introduce a location (and its characteristics)?
It was usually by what people said. He made no designations in the scene changes.
*What poetic device is often used in Shakespeare’s plays to indicate the end of a scene.
Shakespeare often uses a rhyming couplet at the end of a scene
What is blank verse? What are some of the different functions or effects of blank verse, prose, and rhyme in Shakespeare’s plays? How does the style of Shakespeare’s blank verse change in the course of his career?
He used a mixture of them, but over the course of his career he started using rhyming verse less often and his blank verse became more flexible.
What was the size of Shakespeare’s vocabulary (i.e.
, how many different words does he use in the plays)?
Well over 21,000 words.
List some important characteristics of Shakespeare’s language and style (incl. imagery, metaphor, etc.
The main meter Shakespeare uses in his plays is iambic pentameter, Shakespeare’s use of imagery–and often clusters of related images–functions structurally and thematically, “linking together a train of ideas or projecting a scheme of values” as well as helping to convey characters.
Besides being a playwright, what else did Shakespeare do “for a living” (in or out of his acting company)?
He was an actor and invested in some property and had a share in some businesses.
What were the names of Shakespeare’s children?
Susanna, Hamnet, and Judith.
What were William Shakespeare’s parents’ names?
John and Mary Arden.
Note some details of John’s life
He was a glover and a whittawer (dresser of light-colored leather), for a time he dealt illegally in the wool trade, by the time of Shakespeare’s birth he was one of Stratford’s 14 burgesses; later he became an alderman; and in 1568, he “was elected bailiff for the year, the highest office in the town.” In the 1570s and 1580s and into the 1590s, he seems to have had financial difficulties, including serious debts. There is no definite evidence he could write, though the mark he used to sign documents was not the “awkward” cross “of the totally illiterate” but instead a “fine pair of compasses.
What Saint’s day is celebrated as Shakespeare’s birthday?
St. George, the patron saint of England.
What’s written on Shakespeare’s grave? Where (city & building) is the grave located?
Good friend, for Jesus’ sake forebeareTo digg the dust enclosed heare; Bleste be the man that spares thes stones, And curst be he that moves my bones.
He was buried in the Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, England.
Why Shakespeare’s will does not mention his books or papers?
These would be part of his household goods (which the will bequeathed to his daughter Susanna and her husband John Hall). Because they were included among his household goods, his books and papers did not need to be specifically mentioned in the will.
What two languages (other than English) was Shakespeare “conversant with”?
Latin and French
What were the two names of the acting company Shakespeare belonged to through most of his career?
The Queen’s Men and The King’s Men
Note also other important acting companies in London during this time.
The Lord Admiral’s Men, Lord Strange’s Men (Earl of Derby’s Men), and The Lord Chamberlain’s Men
Who was the Italian poet who wrote really famous poets?
Unrequited, miserable love, unattainable woman.
What specific influences from growing up in Stratford can be seen in his literary works?
During the time young William lived in Stratford, there were at least thirteen visits by companies of players. William may have traveled to nearby Kenilworth to see the spectacular entertainments given by the earl of Leicester for the queen in 1575, or may have seen the cycle of mystery plays still being performed annually at Coventry until 1578. William would have regularly attended church and there been exposed to the Book of Homilies (sermons), the Book of Common Prayer, and the language of the Bible in English, all of which would have influenced the language of Shakespeare’s plays
What type of education did Shakespeare probably have?
William almost certainly attended Stratford’s grammar school (the “King’s New School,” now known as King Edward VI’s School), where he would have learned an immense amount of Latin literature and history, including passages or works from Livy, Cicero, Plautus, Terence, Seneca, Virgil, and Ovid, writers who influenced Shakespeare’s later writing and even served as sources for some of his plays.
What three ancient writers were models for Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies, and “amorous poetry”?
Tragedy: Seneca. Amorous poetry: Ovid.
The main source for Shakespeare’s history plays was?
through Plutarch and through the British chronicles
*Name of a writer who collaborated with Shakespeare or revised some of his work (specifically Timon of Athens, Measure forMeasure, and Macbeth)
Evidence Shakespeare was known as a player (actor) and writer (incl. reference to him as an “upstart crow”)
Writer and work, published in 1592, refers to Shakespeare as “an upstart Crow, that . . .
supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blanke verse as the best of you; and . . . is in his own conceit the only Shake-scene in a countrey.”Robert Greene (or possibly Henry Chettle writing under Greene’s name) in Greenes Groats-Worth of Witte
The point of Ben Jonson’s mocking line “Not without mustard”
The design of the coat of arms of Shakespeare (which uses the color yellow) and the motto (Non sancz droict, meaning “Not without right”) are both mocked with the phrase “Not without mustard.”
*The relation of Shakespeare’s poetry and plays to older and newer ideas about the cosmos (i.e.
, astrology and astronomy)
Shakespeare’s poetry and plays reflect both old ideas about the cosmos as in Sonnet 15’s reference to the “secret influence” of the stars and new ideas such as questions about the nature of the stars and the assertion of the central position of the sun instead of the earth, as in Hamlet’s lines “Doubt thou the stars are fire, / Doubt that the sun doth move”.
Who was the head of the Church of England during the first part of Shakespeare’s career?
What religious group opposed plays in general and played a major role in the shut down of theaters after Shakespeare’s time?
*Name two plays listed in the introduction that pay homage to Queen Elizabeth.
Henry VIII & Midsummer Night’s Dream
Shakespeare’s works are not written in “Old English,” but in ______________________.
Early Modern English (or Early New English).
What was the average age of first marriage for men and for women in Shakespeare’s time?
Whose consent was required in Shakespeare’s time for a valid marriage? Who else should ideally consent to the marriage?
The bride and groom had to consent. It was ideal if the parents consented, too.
What are the best answers to the 15 “quiz” questions on the “Renaissance family life” worksheet?
Specifically, what does historical evidence indicate about the purposes of marriage, the relationships of husband and wife and parents and children, the role of love in marriage, and gender roles and attitudes in England during Shakespeare’s time?
Marriage was about love, families were about good relationships, women had more rights than we sometimes think, etc.
*Is the assumption that Shakespeare’s life is not well documented true or false?
Why theories questioning Shakespeare’s authorship are unlikely to be true (according to ODNB)
The alternative author proposed by many of these theories died long before many of Shakespeare’s plays were performed or otherwise known to exist. Such theories deal with this inconvenient fact (the early death of the supposedly “real” author) by arguing that the “real” author of the plays wrote all of them before dying, but that many of the plays were not released (made available for performance, publication, etc.) until AFTER the death of the “real” author and were released gradually, over a period of years.
*Shakespeare’s Sonnets seem to be addressed to (or describe the poet’s real or fictional relationship with) two persons. Who (in a descriptive phrase for each) are these two persons? Who are the two most plausible candidates for the “young man” of the sonnets?
A young man, whom he professes to love and whom he encourages to marry. This man could be Henry Wriothesley (third Earl of Southampton) or William Herbert (third Earl of Pembroke).
The “dark lady,” toward whom he has ambivalent feelings.
What type of love does Shakespeare express for the “Dark Lady”? What is she like?
Give three or four characteristics of the Shakespearean or English sonnet form (meter, length, rhyme scheme, etc.).
What is a quatrain? A couplet? What is iambic pentameter?
Iambic pentameter, 14 lines, ends in a couplet, rhyme scheme: abab cdcd efef gg.
Who was Petrarch? Compare Shakespeare’s sonnets with those of Petrarch especially in light of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130. Howdoes this sonnet respond to the conventions of “Petrarchan love” and Petrarchan love poetry?
Shakespeare is more straight-forward and practical.
*List four themes discussed in Shakespeare’s sonnets. Give examples.
Old ideas about the cosmos as in Sonnet 15’s reference to the “secret influence” of the stars
What problematic aspect of human life do many of the sonnets refer to? What do Shakespeare’s sonnets say about death, time, and mutability, and ways of dealing with them? Name four specific means mentioned in the Sonnets of overcoming death and time
Check study guide
*If presented with one of Shakespeare’s sonnets, what would you note about its structure (and how the structure is used), language (incl. imagery, figurative language, word choice, & sound patterns), and themes (& how the themes connect it with other sonnets)?
Check study guide.
*What are some important characteristics of Shakespearean comedy in general?
Happy ending, marriage, fool/clown, humor (wordplay, slapstick, situational, dramatic), disguise/deception (cross-dressing, crossing class boundaries), romantic love, mirth & celebration, multiple plots, no death
*Name and describe four types of comedy and note (with detailed examples) specific ways The Merchant of Venice fits each type. (festive, satirical, romantic, dark)
Festive: There is a masquerade which Jessica is told not to attendsatirical: Exaggeration of the character Shylock (cutting off flesh) in order to explore the theme of Justice and Mercy.
romantic: Pastoral setting in Belmont. The mysterious “test” of Portia’s father to wed his beautiful daughter.dark: The discrimination/racism of Antonio and Shylock is never resolved.
What is meant by “romantic” when labeling Shakespeare’s plays (and where does the term come from)?
Unrealistic, wonder, sublime
*What is a “dark comedy”? Which of the plays we have read or discussed so far is classified as a “dark comedy” or “problem play”?
A comedy that is a little too serious to be a comedy.
The Merchant of Venice.
What is Shylock supposed to receive if Antonio forfeits the bond (doesn’t repay the loan on time)?
A pound of flesh.
What is Shylock’s punishment at the end of the trial scene? (Be specific.)
Half his wealth to the state, the other half to go to his daughter’s husband at his death as well as his possessions, become a Christian
*What is Shylock’s “turkis” (turquoise ring) and what is its significance? What happens to it?
A ring his wife gave him that he loves. Jessica traded it for a monkey. It shows he is faithful in a way that some of the other characters are not.
Which characters in the play are or have been married? To whom?
Shylock was married to Leah.
Portia married Bassanio. Gratiano marries Nerissa. Jessica marries Lorenzo.
*What are the three caskets? Who chooses them? What is the significance of the choices (and of each casket, including its metal andinscription)?
Prince of Morocco: gold: “who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire” don’t be deceived by appearanceso Prince of Arragon: silver: “who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves” presumptuous to assume he deserves Portiao Bassanio: lead: “who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath” give your all to your wife
What kind of comedy it is; how it resembles and differs from the plays called “dark comedies.”
It is a problem comedy. There is darkness, but nobody dies.
What possible motivation does the clergy have for endorsing the war against France?
So a bill they do not like will not be passed.
Who says, “The sin upon my head, dread sovereign,” and what is the significance of this quotation? What “sin” is being referred to, and why should it be on the speaker’s head?
The clergy. They are saying that if the war is wrong, the win of it is on their heads. It is a reference to the Jews saying that the crucifixion of Christ should be on their heads.
*In what specific ways does the Branagh Henry V differ from the text as Shakespeare wrote it?
There are flashback scenes. He also adds more emotion, and even though the movie seems more realistic, he keeps the chorus. He also says the speech at the end instead of the queen.
Who wins the war in Henry V? To what does Henry attribute the victory?
He attributes it to God.
What mock treasure does the Dolphin (Dauphin) give Henry? Why?
Tennis balls. He is mocking Henry’s wilder youth.
What article of clothing did Henry give Williams, filled with coins?
On what day did Henry have his big battle with the French?
Saint Crispin’s day.
According to Henry V, how many French and English were killed at the Battle of Agincourt? How many were actually killed on each side according to historians?
10,000 vs. 29.
History says more like 4,000-6,000 vs. 400-600
Explain the significance of the Salic Law in Henry V. How does it relate to Henry’s claim to France?
The Salic law, a french law, says that only men can inherit. England doesn’t follow that law, and by England’s law, Henry would inherit the law
What does Henry pray about the night before the Battle of Agincourt? Why?
That he will not be cursed for how his father took the throne badly. He wants God to legitimize his claim.
Critics have divided the history plays into two tetralogies, plus two orphans (plays that don’t fit into the tetralogies). Group the ten histories into the tetralogies and the non-sequential plays. (First Tetralogy; Second Tetralogy; Ungrouped)
1st tetralogy: Henry VI part 1, Henry VI part 2, Henry VI part 3, Richard III. Orphan 1: King John. 2nd tetralogy: Richard II, Henry IV part 1, Henry IV part 2, Henry V.
Orphan 2: Henry VIII
In what order did Shakespeare write his history plays? Considering the actual order of the historical events portrayed in them, what would be the proper chronological order of Shakespeare’s history plays?
Henry VI part 2o Henry VI part 3o Henry VI part 1o Richard IIIo Richard IIo King Johno Henry IV part 1o Henry IV part 2o Henry Vo Henry VIII