THE PATTERN OF A TRAGEDY
1.    Establish the enveloping situation, the environment or "world" in which the action will
      take place.

2.    Establish the specific situation.

3.    Introduce the hero (tragic protagonist) and boldly exhibit the qualities of his character
      that will ultimately destroy him.

4.    Show the temptation of the hero.

5.    Show the hero in self-debate that ends in self-commitment.

6.    Show the fatal act itself.

7.    Represent the hero in a succession of "fatal decisions" made in accord with his
      previously established character.

8.    Mark the climax or turning point.

9.    Represent the "falling action", the worsening of the hero's position that runs straight on
      to his destruction and the defeat of all his hopes.

10. Provide the final "lift".

After 1300, living conditions in many parts of world changed dramatically. Famines, wars, invasions
and, worst of all, plague, swept across Europe and many parts of Asia, bringing death and

THE BLACK DEATH Plague, in particular, had a disastrous psychological effect. People became
anxious and depressed. They feared that the world might be coming to an end, or that they were
being punished by God for their sins. In Europe, 15th-century preachers suggested that children were
killed by the plague because they disobeyed their parents: it may be that for vengeance of this sin of
un-worshipping and despising their fathers and mothers, God slayeth children by pestilence (Plague)
as you see everyday . . . .

These disasters were followed by a slow period of recovery, until, by about 1500, life was almost
'back to normal.'

RECOVERY However, the series of disasters had left their mark. The world in 1500 was a very
different place from the world 200 years earlier. Old beliefs had been shaken, new governments had
seized power, and different ways of fighting, farming and manufacturing had been introduced. In
some countries, economic recovery had brought with it a sense of excitement and possibility, and a
wish to explore, question and make discoveries.

In 15th-century Italy, the movement known as the Renaissance (re-birth) led to great changes in
learning, philosophy and the arts. In Germany, the invention of printing allowed these new ideas to be
spread throughout Europe much faster than before.

TRAVEL AND EXPLORATION In the Muslim world, intrepid travelers like Ibn Battuta covered vast
distances, recording and commenting on all the sights they had seen. Chinese voyagers journeyed
westward to India and beyond, while in Europe, sailors and adventurers sailed southward along the
west coast of Africa to try and discover new routes to the rich East.

The most important of these late-medieval discoveries was the accidental landing in America by
European explorers in the late 15th century. Although it is incorrect to drink of either North or South
America as empty, undeveloped land, the realization that there was a vast area of the earth's surface
that no-one in Europe or Africa had previously known about had an enormous impact on people living
in Europe at the time.

At the same time as many countries and civilizations were recovering from the 14th century crises,
they were also developing a whole new way of looking at the world.

Even though many parts of Europe prospered during the later 14th and 15th centuries, many people
must still have been miserable and frightened. Most families knew someone who had died of the
plague. Worse still, nobody really understood how the disease spread, and so people lived in the
constant fear that soon it might be their turn to die.

As a result, many religious brotherhoods and sisterhoods were formed. Many beautiful paintings,
statues, prayer books and other works of art on religious subjects were given to churches. Wandering
preachers thundered out their message to packed congregations, urging them to abandon their sinful

THE BEGINNING OF THE RENAISSANCE However, at the same time as all this intense religious
activity, a new, confident, and non-religious way of looking at the world was emerging. The
Renaissance (it means `Re-birth'), as this movement was called, began as a collection of artistic and
philosophical ideas. They first became popular in Italy, but were soon discussed by artists and
scholars all over Europe.

A NEW LOOK AT THE WORLD Renaissance painters, sculptors, teachers and thinkers combined a
keen interest in the remains of ancient Greek and Roman culture with the wish to create something
totally new. They abandoned the old medieval styles of painting and writing. Instead, they tried to
show the world with scientific accuracy. They studied the human body, plants, rocks and animals, and
experimented with new ways of drawing, so that they could reproduce 'real' landscapes and 'real'
people in their pictures. They examined ancient statues and carvings, to learn from the skills of artists
who had lived hundreds of years ago.

THE IMPORTANCE OF PRINTING Renaissance scholars also studied Greek and Roman texts, and
translated, edited and printed them so that the ideas they contained could become widely understood.
Printing, which was invented in Germany during the 15th century (although a similar system had been
known in China for many years), was very important in spreading Renaissance ideas throughout
Europe. Many Renaissance artists and philosophers lived as Christians. But for others, the newly
available Greek and Roman ideas, and their own observations from nature, led them
to challenge the teachings of the Church. Some, like the astronomer Galileo, were even prepared to
die for their beliefs.

PATRONAGE Who paid for all this artistic and scholarly activity? Wealthy patrons demanded new
buildings, paintings, sculptures and books, all produced in the Renaissance style. Kings, nobles and
city governments competed with one another to employ the most skilful artists, and the most
intelligent philosophers. Powerful men and women became interested in Renaissance ideas, and in
discussing what made the ideal Renaissance society.

Thus, the Renaissance changed Europe in several ways.

Italy was not a unified country at the time of the Renaissance. Instead, if was divided Info many
smaller city-states, usually consisting of a busy town and the fields and farms surrounding the town.
Some of these city-states were rich and powerful, like the great ports of Venice and Genoa. Others
were small and impoverished. Wars were frequent among the Italian states.

Key Figures of the Italian Renaissance
Filippo Brunelleschi (137714.16) was an architect who studied Ancient Roman buildings and
sculpture. He built the dome of Florence cathedral in classical Roman style.
Piero delta Francesca(14201492) perfected the art of perspective drawing. This was an important
Renaissance technique which enabled painters to depict space accuratelv and realistically in their
Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499) was a Renaissance humanist who studied the writings of ancient
Greek and Roman philosophers. He believed that human achievements, rather than God's will, could
bring about a 'golden age of peace, beauty and goodwill.
Sandro Botticelli (1444-1510) was a painter who combined traditional Christian religious subjects
with Renaissance humanist ideas. The style of his paintings was greatly influenced by Ancient Greek
and Roman art.
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) was a painter, scientist, military engineer and inventor. He studied
human anatomy and the world of mature, and portrayed them accurately in iris works. He designed
many extraordinary pines. including a nature and a helicopter.

Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) was a writer on politics, who offered advice to Italian Renaissance
princes. He is famous fur suggesting that, m politics, 'the end justifies- the means. That is,
any-methods, however unpleasant or unlawful, should be considered when planning effective poetical

Raphael (14831520) was a painter who combined portrayals of traditional Christian subjects, with a
typically Renaissance realistic technique based on Ancient Greek and Roman models.

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was a scientist and professor at the University of Padua. He dared to
claim that the earth and the planets orbited round the sun, m defiance of the Church's teaching
Michelangelo Buonarotti (1475- 1564) was a painter , sculptor and poet and is famous for his
paintings decorating the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. His work displays his belief in the
nobility, beauty, freedom and power of humanity.

                    The Middle Ages and the
Middle Ages - 500 to 1500

-little theatre, or culture, during this period of time
-first half was called the "Dark Ages"
 -education was left to monks, religion was hidden in the forests, and Barbarians destroyed all
  churches, schools, theatres and civic buildings.
-the only law was the "survival of the fittest" -people were not well educated or conscious of hygiene.
-plagues would wipe out large populations at a time -life expectancy was 30 (for lower classes) and
  35 (for upper classes)
 -people would marry and have children early in their life
 -church began to re-establish itself at the end of the middle ages -church performers used to act out
   Biblical stories (few people could read) .
 -the performances in the streets would teach the Bible and lessons in morality ("Miracle & Morality

English Renaissance - 1485 to 1649

-society began to explore itself and the world around it
-invention and exploration
- renewed interest in art, theatre and potential of humankind
-theatre duplicated the ancient Greek neoclassical rules
-Greek theatre would not combine tragedy with comedy, would not permit violence on stage, and
  there could only be one plot -France and England had different "rules"
 -Shakespeare and his contemporaries combined comedy with tragedy, staged magnificent fight
  scenes. Shakespeare himself created numerous plots which were all connected and resolved at the

       Shakespeare's Phraseology
We are all unwitting Shakespeare citers - "without rhyme or reason". If you are " in a pickle" because
you have been "eaten out of house and home" and even your "salad days" have "vanished into thin
air," you are quoting Shakespeare. You've been "hoodwinked" and "more sinned against than
sinning." No wonder you're not "playing fast and loose" and haven't "slept a wink" and arc probably
"breathing your last." It's "cold comfort" that you're quoting Shakespeare. If you "point your finger" at
me, "bid me good riddance" when you "send me packing" and call me a "laughing-stock," "the devil
incarnate," a "sorry sight," "eyesore," and a "stone-hearted," "bloody-minded" "blinking idiot" and wish
I were "dead as a door-nail", then I would say that you possess neither a "heart of gold" nor "the milk
of human kindness," especially considering that we are "flesh and blood." Now that we have gone
"full circle" and you are still waiting with a "bated breath" since I have not been able to make you
"budge an inch," it is "fair play" for me to quit this sermon since Shakespeare himself taught me that
"brevity is the soul of wit." After all, it's a "foregone conclusion" that we all speak Shakespeare's
Taken and adapted from Take My Words by Howard Richler

                        William Shakespeare
                           1564 to 1616

Family and Education
-born in Stratford-on-Avon
 -his father was a prominent citizen or "gentleman"
 -Shakespeare read everything available in print
 -he read the classics, French and Italian plays, legends, folk plays, mythology, historical chronicles,
  and the Bible
 -Gutenberg printing press had been invented 100 years earlier
 -married Ann Hathaway and had three children - Susanna, and the twins Hamnet and Judith
 -Shakespeare died in 1616 of Brights' disease -in Shakespeare's will he left his house and lands to
  his eldest daughter, his wife his "second-best bed", his youngest daughter a silver bowl, and enough
  money for each of his fellow actors to buy a ring to wear in his memory
 -Shakespeare's grave reads Good friend, for Jesus sake forbear To dig the dust enclosed here
  Blessed be the man that spares these stones And cursed be he that moves my bones.
 -seven years after his death his friends John Flemings and Henry Condell published a book
  containing 36 plays, which was called the "First Folio"
-"He was not of an age, but for all time" Ben Johnson

His Life in the Theatre
-considered to be the greatest dramatist in the world
-only the Bible is read more than Shakespeare's plays
-from 1593 - 1613 he wrote 37 plays, acted, helped manage an acting troup and was part owner of
 the "Old Globe Theatre"
-1593-1594 the theatres were closed because of the plague and Shakespeare wrote his narrative
 -little is known about Shakespeare because he did not write about himself, nor did he publish his own
  plays, he made his money by writing plays that were performed for an audience
-his first play was The Comedy of Errors which was a flop according to the audiences
-Shakespeare wrote comedies, histories, tragedies, and romances
 -he would often use a plot he already knew or read about, converted it, added to it, and made it his
 -he was able to create characters that are so realistic that their names are now symbols for types of
  people and/ or ideas (i.e. a lover is a "Romeo")

Elizabethan Theatre
- called this in honour of the current Queen (Queen Elizabeth I)
-a period of great unrest in England concerning England's official religion
 -Queen Elizabeth declared that no plays could be about the current religious matters or portray
current political figures
-"Master of Revels" was the official censor of all plays
 -the Queen had to approve all the plays that were performed in London
-Queen Elizabeth liked Shakespeare's plays and gave him support and protection

Acting Companies and Theatre Owners

-theatres had to be licensed and acting companies had to be sponsored by a patron whose rank was
  no lower than a baron
-Shakespeare was a member of the Lord Chamberlain's Men, which was later known as the King's
-playwrights wrote to depict life as it was and let the audiences draw their own conclusions - holding
  up a mirror to nature and entertaining -performances started at 2:00 to make the most of daylight
-James Burbage created the first theatre in London in 1576, called "The Theatre"
-when Shakespeare moved to London, he met with Burbage and became a prompter, then he
  became an actor, and later lie became Burbage's star writer
-Richard and Cuthbart Burbage opened "The Globe Theatre" in 1599 -Shakespeare produced most of
  his plays in the Globe and became part owner
-Shakespeare was a very popular playwright in his day and other playwrights were jealous of his
-after 1603, Shakespeare had to write plays that would please the new King James I of Scotland
  (one of these is Macbeth )
-James I made theatre more widely acceptable in English culture and he contributed greatly to
  Shakespeare's success

The Theatre Itself

-theatres held 1500 - 3000 people
-sanitary conditions were poor and diseases could pass around in theatres
-theatre was not popular with local merchants because it took away from business
-the Globe burned down in 1613 during a production of Henry VIII, but then rebuilt in 1614
-the theatre was open air and the stage was usually bare
-actors usually tell us where they are and what time of day it is in their lines.
-the stage was a raised platform, it had a stage house behind the back wall to store props and for the
actors to change their costumes if needed, and make entrances and exits from
-there was a balcony, called the "inner above" to be used if needed, but most of the action took place

The Actors

- actors usually wore their own clothes unless they were portraying someone evil, royal, or female
-women were not allowed to perform on stage and so boys would perform all female parts
-boys were apprenticed to the acting profession between the ages of 6 and 14
-actors would have to learn many parts of a play, since up to three different plays would be performed
 in the same week by a company -acting was riot a well respected profession at this time

The-Closing of the Theatres
-theatre was popular until 1642 when the Puritans closed down all theatres
-Puritans believed that playhouses were evil because it had nothing to do with God
-the Restoration Period began in 1660 with the instatement of King Charles 11

Shakespeare's Language and Writing Styles

Act I Scene v contains all of the styles of writing that Shakespeare uses. See how Shakespeare's
language has affected the phrases that we still use today.

Blank Verse - Poetry that does not rhyme, but has a musical tune to it. This is because it is written
in Iambic Pentameter which is a line of five beats, with each beat having two syllables. The stress is
most often on the second syllable of each beat. For example (not from Act I however):

Paris "These times of woe afford no time to woo." (lII.iv.8)

Prose - Common language which does not necessarily have a rhythmical sound to it. Usually it is
spoken in Shakespeare's plays by servants or the lower classes.

For example: '

Servant l "Where's Potpan, that he helps not to take away? He shift a trencher! He scrape a
trencher!" (I.v.l-2)

(This can also occur during a moment of extreme distress in a characters life. Such as when Mercutio
is dying.)

Sonnet and Rhyming Couplet - A poem of (usually) 14 lines that have a particular rhyming scheme,
and always have two lines that rhyme at the end. The best example in Romeo and Juliet is the two
Chorus parts. The prologue having a rhyming scheme of ABABCDCDEFEFGG and the Act II Chorus
part having the same rhyming scheme.

The rhyming couplet is also used at the end of many scenes to indicate to the audience that the
scene is over. In Act 1 scene v, the scene ends with both Juliet and the Nurse saying the rhyming


Of one I danc's withal. [Nurse calls from within] Nurse Anon, anon! Come, let's away: the strangers
all are gone.
                              Getting Acquainted with Shakespeare

If you could take the ultimate field trip and visit Stratford-on-Avon, Shakespeare’s birthplace, you could still find
buildings and scenes that were familiar to him. Still standing are the house where he was born; the grammar
school he attended; the nearby farmhouse home of Anne Hathaway, his wife: and the fine house and garden of
Dr. John Hall, his son-in-law. Perhaps like other visitors, you’d eat your bag lunch in Dr. Hall’s garden,
surrounded by flowers that Shakespeare knew and loved. Of course, not all of Stratford is old and quaint; much
of it is geared to the thousands of tourists who come each year to see William Shakespeare’s birthplace.

But let’s try to imagine it as it was in Shakespeare’s boyhood, a sixteenth-century English village surrounded by
forest where deer wandered freely. Its meadows were dotted with wild flowers, and stately swans sailed along the
River Avon. (They still do!) Like the other village lads, Shakespeare wandered through the woods and field,
acquiring early his love and knowledge of nature. That the beauty of the English countryside made a lasting
impression on him is shown by his references in the plays to animals, birds, and flowers.

He was born in Stratford, probably on April 23, 1564, and was christened on April 26. His father, John, was a
prosperous glove maker. He was respected by his neighbours and held various town offices. His mother, Mary
Arden, was from a good family and some fortune, having inherited considerable farm property.

As a young boy, William attended grammar school, where emphasis was on Latin grammar and not much else.
Later, in London, he would learn French. For his plays, his reference books would be Ovid’s Metamorphoses (for
mythology), Plutarch’s Lives (for his Roman history plays), and Holinshed’s Chronicles (for his English history
plays). But in Stratford, he learned Latin grammar! In his boyhood, traveling players came to Stratford (as they
did to Elsinore in Hamlet), and his introduction to drama came that way.

By the time he was eighteen, his formal education was long past, He had already assumed a man’s
responsibilities, marrying, in November 1582, Anne Hathaway, a woman eight year’s his senior. In May
1583, the first child, Susanna, was born. Two years later, Anne gave birth to twins, Hamnet and Judith, christened
in February, 1585

Within a year or two, Shakespeare had departed for London to earn fame and fortune, leaving Anne and the
family behind. It was not unusual for an actor to have his family with him, even on tours. The fact that Anne did
not join her husband in London seems to indicate that she was a Puritan. Puritans believed that the stage and its
actors did much to corrupt peoples’ morals. Actually, a few years later, Puritanism became so strong in London
that the theaters were ordered closed. But when Shakespeare arrived there, playgoing was still a popular
entertainment, enjoyed and sponsored by Queen Elizabeth.

By 1592, Shakespeare was an established actor in London, and he remained an actor throughout his career. His
financial success came from his share of the gate (admissions), not from the sale of his plays, which probably
netted only a few pounds each.

His early literary successes were with his narrative poems, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece, both
dedicated to his young wealthy patron, the Earl of Southampton. In 1594, the theaters reopened after a temporary
closing during a plague epidemic. From that time, Shakespeare concentrated his literary efforts on plays,
producing 37 by the time of his retirement in 1610.

Throughout his career he was a member of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men (later the King’s Men) whose leading
actor was Richard Burbage. Shakespeare lived quietly and gained a reputation as a polite, good-natured man and
loyal friend. Investing his money wisely, he acquired much property in Stratford, including New Place to which he
eventually retired.

He died there on April 23, 1616, his only son having predeceased him. Shakespeare tried to leave his property
intact for a male heir. However, neither daughter produced one. His greatest legacy, the plays came down to us
through the efforts of two actor friends who collected and published them after his death.
                                   A Look At Shakespeare’s London
     You should realize that William Shakespeare was a literary genius, probably the greatest that England has
produced. It in no way diminishes his greatness to say that he was also lucky enough to be in "the right place at
the right time."

    Consider his arrival in London, some time between 1585 and 1592. His timing couldn't have been better. In
1588, England routed her longtime enemy, Spain, with the defeat of the Spanish Armada. English people took
nationalistic pride in that victory, and pride made them eager to know more about their country's history. What
pleasanter way to learn history than by watching a drama? As could be expected, Shakespeare's King Henry VI,
Tragedy of King Richard III, and Life and Death of King John played to enthusiastic audiences.

    The English were proud, too, of the exploits of such intrepid explorers as Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Francis
Drake, who traveled to the New World and brought back to London reports of riches and savages that sparked
everyone's imagination. The city itself had become a leading center of trade. Foreigners of every description
thronged its streets. Enterprising teachers offered quick courses in French, Dutch, Italian, and Arabic so
Londoners could carry on business with the strangers in their midst. London's diversity enabled a young person
with intelligence and a receptive mind to learn much about foreign lands and foreign ways without ever leaving
England. Of course, William Shakespeare did just that and became confident enough of his knowledge of the
continent to set a number of plays in Italy.

    To Shakespeare's advantage, too, was the intellectual climate of his day, for England had now entered the
Renaissance, which had begun earlier on the continent. People believed now that they had some freedom of
choice, some part in shaping their own destiny. Echoing that belief, Shakespeare wrote in Julius Caesar,

     The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

    In contrast to the Medieval World with its emphasis on the afterlife, the Renaissance offered some rewards
here on earth. Science and learning became the pursuits of those fortunate enough to have leisure for them.
Eloquence in speech was a sought after skill; people believed that man's use of speech to express thoughts and
emotions set himself apart from the animals. Shakespeare gives the Renaissance view in Hamlet's famous lines,

    What a piece of work is man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express
    and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world, the
    paragon of animals! -- William Shakespeare (Hamlet, Act II, scene 2)

     Of course, Shakespeare himself with his "apprehension" of human nature, his awareness of the ideas of his
era, and his eloquence of expression was bound to find favor with Elizabethan audiences.

    He was fortunate, too, that his plays were enjoyed, not only by the "groundlings" who paid a penny apiece to
watch them, but also by the queen herself. Elizabeth loved the theater. She held firm ideas about both the plays'
subjects and presentations, but she was willing to pay for her theatergoing, providing money for costumes and

    When plays were not presented at court for Elizabeth or her successor, James I, another theater enthusiast,
they might be presented in inn yards or a little later, in theaters such as the famous Globe, The Theater, or the
Swan. Presentations took place in midafternoon. Boy actors took the female parts. Props were few although
costumes were elaborate. Obviously, the audience needed a good imagination and Shakespeare's magnificent
word pictures to make up for staging deficiencies.

     Although sets and lighting were minimal, the actors were so skilled in their work that they made each
performance convincing. Their greatest assets were a good memory and a strong, clear voice, but they were also
expert fencers, dancers, even acrobats, and most had good singing voices. Knowing their audience demanded
realism, they often practiced sleight of hand, using retractable knives to simulate stabbings. They wore bladders
of sheep's blood under their jackets so that, when stabbed, they would bleed copiously. And, in a scene, which
required putting out someone's eye, the actors would allow a grape to fall to the floor at the proper moment.
     Actors began training early. Shakespeare, by the standards of his time, came to the profession late. He must
have worked exceptionally hard to become a successful actor only a few years after he arrived in London That he
was becoming a successful author at the same time is a tribute to his energy and genius.
Henry VIII (1509-47 AD)
Henry VIII, born in 1491, was the second son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. The significance of Henry's reign is, at
times, overshadowed by his six marriages: dispensing with these forthwith enables a deeper search into the major themes
of the reign. He married Catherine of Aragon (widow of his brother, Arthur) in 1509, divorcing her in 1533; the union
produced one daughter, Mary. Henry married the pregnant Anne Boleyn in 1533; she gave him another daughter,
Elizabeth, but was executed for infidelity (a treasonous charge in the king's consort) in May 1536. He married Jane
Seymour by the end of the same month, who died giving birth to Henry's lone male heir, Edward, in October 1536. Early
in 1540, Henry arranged a marriage with Anne of Cleves, after viewing Hans Holbein's beautiful portrait of the German
princess. In person, alas, Henry found her homely and the marriage was never consummated. In July 1540, he married
the adulterous Catherine Howard - she was executed for infidelity in March 1542. Catherine Parr became his wife in
1543, providing for the needs of both Henry and his children until his death in 1547.

The court life initiated by his father evolved into a cornerstone of Tudor government in the reign of Henry VIII. After his
father's staunch, stolid rule, the energetic, youthful and handsome king avoided governing in person, much preferring to
journey the countryside hunting and reviewing his subjects. Matters of state were left in the hands of others, most notably
Thomas Wolsey, Archbishop of York. Cardinal Wolsey virtually ruled England until his failure to secure the papal
annulment that Henry needed to marry Anne Boleyn in 1533. Wolsey was quite capable as Lord Chancellor, but his own
interests were served more than that of the king: as powerful as he was, he still was subject to Henry's favor - losing
Henry's confidence proved to be his downfall. The early part of Henry's reign, however, saw the young king invade
France, defeat Scottish forces at the Battle of Foldden Field (in which James IV of Scotland was slain), and write a
treatise denouncing Martin Luther's Reformist ideals, for which the pope awarded Henry the title "Defender of the Faith".

The 1530's witnessed Henry's growing involvement in government, and a series of events which greatly altered
England, as well as the whole of Western Christendom: the separation of the Church of England from Roman
Catholicism. The separation was actually a by-product of Henry's obsession with producing a male heir;
Catherine of Aragon failed to produce a male and the need to maintain dynastic legitimacy forced Henry to seek
an annulment from the pope in order to marry Anne Boleyn. Wolsey tried repeatedly to secure a legal annulment
from Pope Clement VII, but Clement was beholden to the Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and nephew of
Catherine. Henry summoned the Reformation Parliament in 1529, which passed 137 statutes in seven years and
exercised an influence in political and ecclesiastic affairs which was unknown to feudal parliaments. Religious
reform movements had already taken hold in England, but on a small scale: the Lollards had been in existence since the
mid-fourteenth century and the ideas of Luther and Zwingli circulated within intellectual groups, but continental
Protestantism had yet to find favor with the English people. The break from Rome was accomplished through law, not
social outcry; Henry, as Supreme Head of the Church of England, acknowledged this by slight alterations in worship ritual
instead of a wholesale reworking of religious dogma. England moved into an era of "conformity of mind" with the new
royal supremacy (much akin to the absolutism of France's Louis XIV): by 1536, all ecclesiastical and government officials
were required to publicly approve of the break with Rome and take an oath of loyalty. The king moved away from the
medieval idea of ruler as chief lawmaker and overseer of civil behavior, to the modern idea of ruler as the ideological icon
of the state.

The remainder of Henry's reign was anticlimactic. Anne Boleyn lasted only three years before her execution; she was
replaced by Jane Seymour, who laid Henry's dynastic problems to rest with the birth of Edward VI. Fragmented noble
factions involved in the Wars of the Roses found themselves reduced to vying for the king's favor in court. Reformist
factions won the king's confidence and vastly benefiting from Henry's dissolution of the monasteries, as monastic lands
and revenues went either to the crown or the nobility. The royal staff continued the rise in status that began under Henry
VII, eventually to rival the power of the nobility. Two men, in particular, were prominent figures through the latter stages of
Henry's reign: Thomas Cromwell and Thomas Cranmer. Cromwell, an efficient administrator, succeeded Wolsey as Lord
Chancellor, creating new governmental departments for the varying types of revenue and establishing parish priest's duty
of recording births, baptisms, marriages and deaths. Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, dealt with and guided changes
in ecclesiastical policy and oversaw the dissolution of the monasteries.

Henry VIII built upon the innovations instituted by his father. The break with Rome, coupled with an increase in
governmental bureaucracy, led to the royal supremacy that would last until the execution of Charles I and the
establishment of the Commonwealth one hundred years after Henry's death. Henry was beloved by his subjects, facing
only one major insurrection, the Pilgrimage of Grace, enacted by the northernmost counties in retaliation to the break with
Rome and the poor economic state of the region. History remembers Henry in much the same way as Piero Pasqualigo, a
Venetian ambassador: "... he is in every respect a most accomplished prince."
                    Mary I (1553-1558 AD)

                    Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, was born in 1516 and suffered through a
                    terrible childhood of neglect, intolerance, and ill-health. She was a staunch catholic from birth,
                    constantly resisting pressure from others to renounce her faith, a request she steadfastly refused. She
                    married Philip II of Spain in 1555, but was unable to produce a child.

                   Mary began her tumultuous reign at 37 years of age, arriving in London amid a scene of great
                   rejoicing. Following the disarray created by Edward VI's passing of the succession to Lady Jane Grey
                   (Jane lasted only nine days), Mary's first act was to repeal the Protestant legislation of her brother,
Edward VI, hurling England into a phase of severe religious persecution. Her major goal was the re-establishment of
Catholicism in England, a goal to which she was totally committed. Persecution came more from a desire for purity in faith
than from vengeance, yet the fact remains that nearly 300 people (including former Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas
Cranmer and many of the most prominent members of society) were burned at the stake for heresy, earning Mary the
nickname, "Bloody Mary."

Mary's marriage to the militant Catholic Philip was again designed to enforce Roman Catholicism on the realm.
Unfortunately for Mary, two factors compelled opposition to her plans: the English people hated foreigners - especially the
Spanish - and twenty years of Protestantism had soured the English on popery. She met with resistance at every level of
society, and, unlike her father and brother, failed to conform society into one ideological pattern. Philip II, cold and
indifferent to both Mary and her realm, remained in England for only a short time. He coerced Mary to enter into war with
France, resulting in defeat and the loss of the last English continental possession, Calais. With the retirement of his father,
Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire, Philip returned to Spain; Mary died a mere ten months later.

England suffered during the reign of Mary I: the economy was in ruin, religious dissent reached a zenith and England lost
her last continental territory. Jane Austen wrote this rather scathing commentary about Mary: "This woman had the good
luck of being advanced to the throne of England, in spite of the superior pretensions, Merit and Beauty of her Cousins
Mary Queen of Scotland and Jane Grey. Nor can I pity the Kingdom for the misfortunes they experienced during her reign,
since they fully deserved them..."

Edward VI (1547-1553 AD)
Edward VI, son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, was born in 1537. He ascended the throne at age nine, upon the death
of his father. He was betrothed to his cousin, Mary Queen of Scots, but deteriorating English-Scot relations prohibited
their marriage. The frail, Protestant boy died of consumption at age sixteen having never married.

Edward's reign was beset by problems from the onset. Ascending the throne while still in his minority presented a
backdrop for factional in fighting and power plays. Henry VIII, in his last days, sought to eliminate this potential problem by
decreeing that a Council of Regency would govern until the child came of age, but Edward Seymour (Edward VI's uncle)
gained the upper hand. The Council offered Seymour the Protectorship of the realm and the Dukedom of Somerset; he
genuinely cared for both the boy and the realm, but used the Protectorship, as well as Edward's religious radicalism, to
further his Protestant interests. The Book of Common Prayer, the eloquent work of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, was
instituted in 1549 as a handbook to the new style of worship that skated controversial issues in an effort to pacify
Catholics. Henrician treason and heresy laws were repealed, transforming England into a haven for continental heretics.
Catholics were pleased with the softer version of Protestantism, but radical Protestants clamored for further reforms,
adding to the ever-present factional discord.

Economic hardship plagued England during Edward's rule and foreign relations were in a state of disarray. The new faith
and the dissolution of the monasteries left a considerable amount of ecclesiastical officials out of work, at a time when
unemployment soared; enclosure of monastic lands deprived many peasants of their means of subsistence. The coinage
lost value as new coins were minted from inferior metals, as specie from the New World flooded English markets. A
French/Scottish alliance threatened England, prompting Somerset to invade Scotland, where Scottish forces were
trounced at Pinkie. Then general unrest and factional maneuvering proved Somerset's undoing; he was executed in
September 1552. Thus began one of the most corrupt eras of English political history.

The author of this corruption was the Earl of Warwick, John Dudley. Dudley was an ambitious political survivor driven by
the desire to become the largest landowner in England. Dudley coerced Edward by claiming that the boy had reached
manhood on his 12th birthday and was now ready to rule; Dudley also held Edward's purse strings. Dudley was created
Duke of Northumberland and virtually ruled England, although he had no official title. The Council, under his leadership,
systematically confiscated church territories, as the recent wave of radical Protestantism seemed a logical, and
justifiable, continuation of Henrician reform. Northumberland's ambitions grew in proportion to his gains of power: he
desperately sought to connect himself to the royal family.

Northumberland was given the opportunity to indulge in king making - the practice by which an influential noble named the
next successor, such as Richard Neville during the Wars of the Roses - when Edward was diagnosed with consumption in
January 1553. Henry VIII named the line of succession in his will; next in line after Edward were his sisters Mary and
Elizabeth, followed by the descendants of Henry's sister, Mary: Frances Grey and her children. Northumberland
convinced Edward that his Catholic sister, Mary, would ruin the Protestant reforms enacted throughout the reign; in
actuality, he knew Mary would restore Catholicism and return the confiscated Church territories that were making the
Council very rich. Northumberland's appeal to Edward's radicalism worked as intended: the dying lad declared his sisters
to be bastards and passed the succession to Frances Grey's daughter, Lady Jane Grey, one of the boy's only true friends.
Northumberland impelled the Greys to consent to a marriage between his son, Guildford and Lady Jane. Edward died on
July 6, 1553, leaving a disputed succession. Jane, against her wishes, was declared queen by the Council. Mary retreated
to Framlingham in Suffolk and claimed the throne. Northumberland took an army to capture Mary, but bungled the
escapade. The Council abandoned Northumberland as Mary collected popular support and rode triumphantly into London.
Jane, after a reign of only nine days, was imprisoned in the Tower of London until her 1554 execution at the hands of her
cousin Mary.

Edward was a highly intellectual and pious lad who fell prey to the machinations of his powerful Council of Regency. His
frailty led to an early death. Had he lived into manhood, he potentially could have become one of England's greatest
kings. Jane Austen wrote, "This Man was on the whole of a very amiable character...", to which Beckett added, " as docile
as a lamb, if indeed his gentleness did not amount to absolute sheepishness."

                      Lady Jane Grey

                      She entered the Tower of London as Queen of England on 10 July 1553. This impressive fortress,
                      that was to be her palace, became her prison. Seven months later she would be beheaded within its
                      walls, her body hastily placed beneath the floor of the Chapel Royal, without ceremony. She was in
                      her seventeenth year.

                       Elizabeth I (1558-1603 AD)
                      Elizabeth I was born in 1533 to Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Although she entertained many
                      marriage proposals and flirted incessantly, she never married or had children. Elizabeth, the last of
                      the Tudors, died at seventy years of age after a very successful forty-four year reign.

                       Elizabeth inherited a tattered realm: dissension between Catholics and Protestants tore at the very
                       foundation of society; the royal treasury had been bled dry by Mary and her advisors, Mary's loss of
Calais left England with no continental possessions for the first time since the arrival of the Normans in 1066 and many
(mainly Catholics) doubted Elizabeth's claim to the throne. Continental affairs added to the problems - France had a
strong footland in Scotland, and Spain, the strongest western nation at the time, posed a threat to the security of the
realm. Elizabeth proved most calm and calculating (even though she had a horrendous temper) in her political acumen,
employing capable and distinguished men to carrying out royal prerogative.

Her first order of business was to eliminate religious unrest. Elizabeth lacked the fanaticism of her siblings, Edward VI
favored Protestant radicalism, Mary I, conservative Catholicism, which enabled her to devise a compromise that,
basically, reinstated Henrician reforms. She was, however, compelled to take a stronger Protestant stance for two
reasons: the machinations of Mary Queen of Scots and persecution of continental Protestants by the two strongholds of
Orthodox Catholicism, Spain and France. The situation with Mary Queen of Scots was most vexing to Elizabeth. Mary, in
Elizabeth's custody beginning in 1568 (for her own protection from radical Protestants and disgruntled Scots), gained the
                        loyalty of Catholic factions and instituted several-failed assassination/overthrow plots against her
                        cousin, Elizabeth. After irrefutable evidence of Mary's involvement in such plots came to light,
                        Elizabeth sadly succumbed to the pressure from her advisors and had the Scottish princess
                        executed in 1587.

                       The persecution of continental Protestants forced Elizabeth into war, a situation that she
                       desperately tried to avoid. She sent an army to aid French Huguenots (Calvinists who had settled
                       in France) after a 1572 massacre wherein over three thousand Huguenots lost their lives. She sent
further assistance to Protestant factions on the continent and in Scotland following the emergence of radical Catholic
groups and assisted Belgium in their bid to gain independence from Spain. The situation came to head after Elizabeth
rejected a marriage proposal from Philip II of Spain; the indignant Spanish King, incensed by English piracy and forays in
New World exploration, sent his much-feared Armada to raid England. However, the English won the naval battle handily,
due as much to bad weather as to English naval prowess. England emerged as the world's strongest naval power, setting
the stage for later English imperial designs.

Elizabeth was a master of political science. She inherited her father's supremacist view of the monarchy, but showed
great wisdom by refusing to directly antagonize Parliament. She acquired undying devotion from her advisement council,
who were constantly perplexed by her habit of waiting to the last minute to make decisions. She used the varying factions
(instead of being used by them, as were her siblings), playing one off another until the exhausted combatants came to her
for resolution of their grievances. Few English monarchs enjoyed such political power, while still maintaining the devotion
of the whole of English society.

Elizabeth's reign was during one of the more constructive periods in English history. Literature bloomed through the works
of Spenser, Marlowe and Shakespeare. Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh were instrumental in expanding English
influence in the New World. Elizabeth's religious compromise laid many fears to rest. Fashion and education came to the
fore because of Elizabeth's penchant for knowledge, courtly behavior and extravagant dress. Good Queen Bess, as she
came to called, maintained a regal air until the day she died; a quote, from a letter by Paul Hentzen, reveals the aging
queen's regal nature: "Next came the Queen in the sixty-fifth year of her age, as we were told, very majestic; her face
oblong, fair, but wrinkled; her eyes small yet black and pleasant; her nose a little hooked; her lips narrow... she had in her
ear two pearls, with very rich drops... her air was stately; her manner of speaking mild and obliging." This regal figure
surely had her faults, but the last Tudor excelled at rising to challenges and emerging victorious.

James I (1603-25 AD)
James I was born in 1566 to Mary Queen of Scots and her second husband, Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley. He descended
from the Tudors through Margaret, daughter of Henry VII: both Mary Queen of Scots and Henry Stewart were
grandchildren of Margaret Tudor. James ascended the Scottish throne upon the abdication of his mother in 1567, but
Scotland was ruled by regent until James reached his majority. He married Anne of Denmark in 1589, who bore him three
sons and four daughters: Henry, Elizabeth, Margaret, Charles, Robert, Mary and Sophia. He was named successor to the
English throne by his cousin, Elizabeth I and ascended that throne in 1603. James died of a stroke in 1625 after ruling
Scotland for 58 years and England for 22 years.

James was profoundly affected by his years as a boy in Scottish court. Murder and intrigue had plagued the Scottish
throne throughout the reigns of his mother and grandfather (James V) and had no less bearing during James's rule. His
father had been butchered mere months after James' birth by enemies of Mary and Mary, because of her indiscretions
and Catholic faith, was forced to abdicate the throne. Thus, James developed a guarded manner. He was thrilled to take
the English crown and leave the strictures and poverty of the Scottish court.

James' twenty-nine years of Scottish kingship did little to prepare him for the English monarchy: England and Scotland,
rivals for superiority on the island since the first emigration of the Anglo-Saxon races, virtually hated each other. This
inherent mistrust, combined with Catholic-Protestant and Episcopal-Puritan tensions, severely limited James' prospects of
a truly successful reign. His personality also caused problems: he was witty and well-read, fiercely believed in the divine
right of kingship and his own importance, but found great difficulty in gaining acceptance from an English society that
found his rough-hewn manners and natural paranoia quite unbecoming. James saw little use for Parliament. His
extravagant spending habits and nonchalant ignoring of the nobility's grievances kept king and Parliament constantly at
odds. He came to the thrown at the zenith of monarchical power, but never truly grasped the depth and scope of that

Religious dissension was the basis of an event that confirmed and fueled James' paranoia: the Gunpowder Plot of
November 5, 1605. Guy Fawkes and four other Catholic dissenters were caught attempting to blow up the House of Lords
on a day in which the king was to open the session. The conspirators were executed, but a fresh wave of anti-Catholic
sentiments washed across England. James also disliked the Puritans who became excessive in their demands on the
king, resulting in the first wave of English immigrants to North America. James, however, did manage to commission an
Authorized Version of the Bible, printed in English in 1611.
The relationship between king and Parliament steadily eroded. Extravagant spending (particularly on James' favorites),
inflation and bungled foreign policies discredited James in the eyes of Parliament. Parliament flatly refused to disburse
funds to a king who ignored their concerns and were annoyed by rewards lavished on favorites and great amounts spent
on decoration. James awarded over 200 peerages (landed titles) as, essentially, bribes designed to win loyalty, the most
controversial of which was his creation of George Villiers (his closest advisor and homosexual partner) as Duke of
Buckingham. Buckingham was highly influential in foreign policy, which failed miserably. James tried to kindle Spanish
relations by seeking a marriage between his son Charles and the Spanish Infanta (who was less than receptive to the
clumsy overtures of Charles and Buckingham), and by executing Sir Walter Raleigh at the behest of Spain.

James was not wholly unsuccessful as king, but his Scottish background failed to translate well into a changing English
society. He is described, albeit humorously, in 1066 and All That, as such: "James I slobbered at the mouth and had
favourites; he was thus a bad king"; Sir Anthony Weldon made a more somber observation: "He was very crafty and
cunning in petty things, as the circumventing any great man, the change of a Favourite, &c. inasmuch as a very wise man
was wont to say, he believed him the very wisest fool in Christendom."
The Black Death: Bubonic Plague
In the early 1330s an outbreak of deadly bubonic plague occurred in China. Plague
mainly affects rodents, but fleas can transmit the disease to people. Once people are
infected, they infect others very rapidly. Plague causes fever and a painful swelling of
the lymph glands called buboes, which is how it gets its name. The disease also causes
spots on the skin that are red at first and then turn black.

Since China was one of the busiest of the world's trading nations, it was only a matter of
time before the outbreak of plague in China spread to western Asia and Europe. In
October of 1347, several Italian merchant ships returned from a trip to the Black Sea,
one of the key links in trade with China. When the ships docked in Sicily, many of those
on board were already dying of plague. Within days the disease spread to the city and
the surrounding countryside. An eyewitness tells what happened:

       "Realizing what a deadly disaster had come to them, the people quickly
       drove the Italians from their city. But the disease remained, and soon
       death was everywhere. Fathers abandoned their sick sons. Lawyers
       refused to come and make out wills for the dying. Friars and nuns were
       left to care for the sick, and monasteries and convents were soon
       deserted, as they were stricken, too. Bodies were left in empty houses,
       and there was no one to give them a Christian burial."

The disease struck and killed people with terrible speed. The Italian writer Boccaccio
said its victims often

       "ate lunch with their friends and dinner with their ancestors in paradise."

By the following August, the plague had spread as far north as England, where people
called it "The Black Death" because of the black spots it produced on the skin. A terrible
killer was loose across Europe, and medieval medicine had nothing to combat it.

In winter the disease seemed to disappear, but only because fleas--which were now
helping to carry it from person to person--are dormant then. Each spring, the plague
attacked again, killing new victims. After five years 25 million people were dead--one-
third of Europe's people.

Even when the worst was over, smaller outbreaks continued, not just for years, but for
centuries. The survivors lived in constant fear of the plague's return, and the disease did
disappear until the 1600s.

Medieval society never recovered from the results of the plague. So many people had
died that there were serious labor shortages all over Europe. This led workers to
demand higher wages, but landlords refused those demands. By the end of the 1300s
peasant revolts broke out in England, France, Belgium and Italy.

The disease took its toll on the church as well. People throughout Christendom had
prayed devoutly for deliverance from the plague. Why hadn't those prayers been
answered? A new period of political turmoil and philosophical questioning lay ahead.
How does Romeo and Juliet apply to teenagers today? Well, first of all, it can be seen simply as an
entertaining story. It’s a tragic love story between two teenagers. But, if you look into the themes of
the play, you will see that there are many lessons we can learn from the two doomed lovers.

Theme 1- LOVE

Love plays an important role in Romeo and Juliet. Throughout the play, one can analyze the different
types of love that Shakespeare explores. First, there is lustful love. This is basically love for the
purpose of sexual pleasure. First shown in the conversation between Sampson and Gregory, this
type of love is also illustrated by the Nurse and her comments to Juliet. The second type of love is
infatuation. Romeo thinks he’s in love and moans over Rosaline. How many people can relate to
that? Much of teenage love is simply in the head--- you think that you have found the "only one,"
when you’ve really only found an obsession. The third type of love is the one illustrated with Paris. In
the play, this has to do with the fact that marriages were arranged. Paris is the guy that Juliet’s
parents think is fit for her. In today’s society, Paris can be seen as the stereotypical guy (or girl).
He/She seems perfect and your parents love him/her, but that isn’t love. Love is not an image; it’s a

Finally, we come to true, 100% pure love. When Romeo meets Juliet, he knows that she’s different.
Love changes people. Romeo became a more passionate, eager person and Juliet became more
independent. Most importantly, love lasts through hardships. Love is not just a feeling; it is something
that a person is willing to do something for. In the extreme case of Romeo and Juliet, they were each
willing to die for each other--- that is love. Their love was so strong that they were willing to go against
years of hatred between their families and try to make things work.

Now the warning: don’t rush out and marry some guy/girl that you meet at a party. Don’t forget that
Romeo and Juliet are dead. Romeo and Juliet is a story. But the lessons of love do hold true: love is
not self-seeking, obsessive, or based on appearances. Love is shown through actions.

Theme 2- HATE

The role of hatred also plays an important role in Romeo and Juliet. The hatred between the
Montagues and Capulets ends up killing their only two children. And what was this hate for? Nothing.
It was just an ancient feud that no one bothered ending. If the two families had just stopped feuding
earlier, the lives of the two lovers could have been saved. Hatred never leads to any good.
Shakespeare tells us that it is senseless in fighting with someone just for the sake of fighting. This is
an everlasting lesson.

Theme 3- FATE

Romeo and Juliet were "star-crossed lovers," as the prologue at the start of the play indicated. They
had fate against them. In that time, people were very wary of what the stars said. If two people’s stars
were crossed in the sky, they would never remain together. Obviously, Romeo and Juliet didn’t live
happily ever after, as their death in the end showed. But there were many unfortunate happenings
that led up to their death. Fate was not on their side. First of all, Romeo only met Juliet by chance.
Only because the Capulet servant was blind and unable to read the list of guests, Romeo was
allowed into the ball. By unfortunate chance, Romeo and Juliet fell in love before they realized that
they were from opposing families. After Romeo and Juliet’s marriage, Romeo did not want to fight
Tybalt. But because Tybalt killed Mercutio, Romeo demanded revenge. Things still might have
worked out between the two lovers. After enough time passed, Romeo and Juliet could tell their
families what happened and Romeo could return to Verona. But, Juliet’s parents want her to marry
Paris. The Friar concocts another plan. He gives Juliet a drug that will make her appear dead for 42
hours. However, fate is not on their side again. The letter sent by the Friar never reaches Romeo
because of a quarantine. The Friar arrives too late to stop Romeo from killing himself. Juliet awakes
only minutes after Romeo has died. The list is long, illustrating the power of fate in the case of Romeo
and Juliet. Do we believe in fate today? Or do things happen because we cause them to? Some
people believe that it is a combination of the two.

Literary Technique- FORESHADOWING

Basically, everyone can figure out what is going to happen to Romeo and Juliet. The prologue states
that the "star-crossed lovers take their life." But as the play progresses, there are many subtle clues
that confirm the fact that Romeo and Juliet will die. This is the literary device known as
foreshadowing. Foreshadowing is the use of symbols to show what will happen in the future.

Some examples:

Act 1, scene 4 Romeo gets a bad feeling before going to the Capulet ball.

                                I fear, too early: for my mind misgives
                              Some consequence yet hanging in the stars
                                   Shall bitterly begin his fearful date
                              With this night's revels and expire the term
                                Of a despised life closed in my breast
                                By some vile forfeit of untimely death.

Act 2, scene 3 The Friar warns Romeo about rushing into things.

                              Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast.

Act 3, scene 1 Mercutio is stabbed, insisting that he’s fine.

                           No, 'tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a
                           church-door; but 'tis enough,'twill serve: ask for
                          me to-morrow, and you shall find me a grave man.

Act 3, scene 5 Juliet looking down on Romeo from her bedroom

                                   O God, I have an ill-divining soul!
                                Methinks I see thee, now thou art below,
                                  As one dead in the bottom of a tomb:
                              Either my eyesight fails, or thou look'st pale.
Act 4, scene 3 Juliet is getting worries over the Friar’s plan. Should she take the drug?

                                  What if it be a poison, which the friar
                                Subtly hath minister'd to have me dead,
                            Lest in this marriage he should be dishonour'd,
                              Because he married me before to Romeo?
                              I fear it is: and yet, methinks, it should not,
                               For he hath still been tried a holy man …

These are only a few examples of foreshadowing in Romeo and Juliet.

Romeo and Juliet Essay Topics:

   1. Choose a character (other than Romeo and Juliet) that had an important role in the play.
      Describe and examine the character’s decisions and how they affected the outcome of the
   2. Describe and analyze the different types of love portrayed in the play.
   3. Compare and contrast the personalities of Romeo and Juliet.
   4. In your opinion, was Lord Capulet a good father? Support your statement.
   5. What role does fate play in Romeo and Juliet and what role does the characters’ choices play?
   6. Explain the role of disorder and hatred in Romeo and Juliet and give its consequences.
   7. Show how timing played an important role in the play. Give examples.
   8. Explain the role of foreshadowing in the play. Give examples.
   9. Romeo and Juliet has high dramatic moments. Choose a few of these and describe the role of
      suspense in them.

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