Considered by many to be the greatest writer in the English language.
Lived in England during the Renaissance.
› A time in history marked by a renewed
interest in science, commerce, philosophy,
and the arts.
› Renaissance thinking was a new emphasis
on the individual and the freedom of choice.
Shakespeare started his literary career
during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.
› During the period between 1558 and 1603.
› Often referred to as the Elizabethan Age.
London was the center of the
The Lord Chamberlain's Men were the
company that both the rich and
powerful and the common people both
In 1599, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men,
along with William Shakespeare, a part
owner, became joint owners of the
The Globe was a three-story wooden
structure with an open air courtyard in the
Actors performed on a raised stage within
The theater could hold as many as 3,000
spectators, many of whom stood in the part
of the courtyard near the stage called the
These customers were known as
groundlings, and paid the lowest admission
Rich theatergoers sat in partially enclosed
galleries, or inner balconies which
surrounded the courtyard.
Audiences would become emotionally
involved in the performances, openly showing
their pleasure or disappointment.
Theatergoers relied heavily on their
› The theater had no curtains, no artificial lighting, and
very little scenery.
› Props, sound effects, and lines of dialogue would let
the audience know when and where a scene took
› Elegant costumes also added to the spectacle and
helped the audience imagine that women were
playing the female roles.
In Shakespeare’s day, no women belonged to the
acting companies. It was considered improper for
women to be on stage.
The boys underwent rigorous training in order to be
move gracefully and speak convincingly on stage.
The original Globe was built in 1599. It burned to the ground in 1613, and was
immediately rebuilt. The original structure was closed in 1642.
Almost 400 years later, The Globe Theater was rebuilt.
The picture represents the restored Globe Theater, built in 1997.
Shakespeare is known for
his clever imagination, the
way he plays with words
and their meanings, and
creating striking images,
that once heard, are
more words and
expressions than any
other writer. Among these
are bump, assassination,
Other expressions that are
“dead as a doornail” Up Next:
-Henry IV, Part 2 Shakespearean Drama
“laughing-stock” Literary Terms…
-The Merry Wives of
Windsor (found on page 986)
“the green-eyen monster”
“for goodness’s sake”
A tragedy is a drama that ends in catastrophe—most often
death—for the main character, and often, for several other
Usually someone who is nobly born, and who may have
great influence in his or her society.
This characters has, however, a tragic flaw—a weakness
or serious error in judgment—that leads to his or her
Although the events in a tragedy are often set in motion by an
action of the tragic hero, fate may also play a role in the course that
the events take.
In his tragedies, Shakespeare often includes comic relief, a
humorous scene, incident, or speech that relieves the overall
This helps the audience absorb the earlier events and get ready
for the ones to come.
This has a practical use as well. Theater companies liked to use
all of their star performers in each play, including those who
specialized in comedic roles.
Allusion is a brief reference,
within a work, to something
outside the work that the
reader or audience is
expected to know.
Shakespeare’s plays often contain allusions to ancient Greek
and Roman mythology and to the Bible.
A character whose
personality or attitudes are in
sharp contrast to those of
another character in the
By using a foil, the writer highlights the other character's traits or
The kind of behavior of one character, for example, will be
made clearer presented in sharp contrast to another
characters who is not at all kind.
What are some opposing character traits
that might make good character foils?
Like all playwrights, Shakespeare makes use of what are called,
dramatic conventions—devices that theater audiences accept
as realistic, even though they do not reflect the way people
A speech that a character
gives when he or she is alone A character’s remark, either
on stage. to the audience, or another
character, that others on
It’s purpose is to let the stage are not supposed to
audience know what the hear.
character is thinking.
It’s purpose, too, is to reveal
the character’s private
Shakespeare’s plays are
written in blank verse—a
form of poetry that uses
unrhymed lines of iambic
Lines that have FIVE unstressed
syllables each followed by a
Each set of two syllables is
called a foot.
The pattern is not perfect…sometimes there are breaks in the pattern!
Romeo and Juliet is one of the world’s most famous love stories.
It is based on a 16th century English poem.
The play takes place in the city of Verona in the 14th century when Italy
was not a unified country, but a group of separate city-states. Each was
ruled by a different hereditary ruler, usually called a Prince or a Duke.
At the time the play takes place, most European marriages, especially
ones in the upper classes, were arranged by families for social and
Because life spans were shorter than they are today, marriages took
place at a younger age, and parents made marriage plans long before
the wedding actually took place.
Romantic love was recognized as a powerful force, but society did
not generally view it as the basis of a sound marriage.
What is your favorite love story?
› Why? It is believable? Does it seem real?
Did the romance end happily or not?
What were the complications of the love
What obstacles did the couple face?
› Were these obstacles caused by the couple
themselves, or by social factors or other
outside forces beyond the couple’s control?
Lord and Lady Montague Lord and Lady Capulet
› The heads of the household › The heads of the household
› Son of Montague (more on › Daughter of Capulet (more
him later) on her later…)
› Nephew of Montague, and › Nephew of Lady Capulet
friend of Romeo Nurse
Balthasar › To Juliet
› Servant to Romeo Peter
Abram › A servant to Juliet’s house
› Servant to Montague Sampson
› Ruler of Verona
› Kinsman of the Prince and friend of Romeo
› A Franciscan Priest
› Another Franciscan Priest
› A young nobleman; kinsman of the Prince
› Sells medicine and other remedies
› To Paris (also known as a servant)
The 14th Century
Mantua, in Northern Italy