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on the
History of Elizabethan England
and Shakespeare Himself
King Henry
(Ruled England
Known for
breaking with
Church + Many
Wives (6)
Catherine of
July 1543-1547
Anne Boleyn
1532-May 19,
King Henry and
His Wives
Jane Seymour
May 29, 1536-1537
July 28, 1540-1542
Anne Cleves
Jan. 6, 1540-July
12, 1540
Catherine of Aragon
• Marries Henry to keep
alliance with Spain
• Bears 7 children; only
Mary lives through
• Henry starts new
church, annuls
marriage, banishes
Anne Boleyn
(1532-May 19, 1536)
• Gives birth to
daughter, Elizabeth,
• Henry accuses her of
• Beheaded May 19,
Jane Seymour
(May 29, 1536-1537)
• Gives birth to son,
Edward, 1537
• Dies from
complications in
Anne of Cleves
(Jan. 6, 1540-July 12, 1540)
• Henry marries her for
political reasons -alliance with Cleves
(part of modern
• Officially divorces her
July 12, 1540
Catherine Howard
(July 28, 1540-1542)
• Anne Boleyn’s 2nd
• Anne of Cleves’ maid
in waiting
• She has affairs
• Beheaded 1542
Catharine Parr
• Henry’s last wife
• Acts as Henry’s nurse
when he becomes sick
England After Henry
• When Henry dies, Edward
comes to the throne (he was 9!)
•Edward dies when he’s
16, and “Bloody Mary”
takes the throne
Queen Elizabeth I
(Ruled England 1558-1603)
• Mary (a Catholic) dies and Elizabeth
(a Protestant) comes to the throne in
• Under Elizabeth, the arts flourished
and educational institutions were
• England also became a military force
-Defeat of the Spanish Armada 1588
• Never married, so known as the
“Virgin Queen”
• Followed by King James (16031625)
Defeating the Spanish Armada
Life in Elizabethan England
Public Life
•Gossip: Those who are “in the
know” are popular.
•Crowds and public squares were
volatile --> anything could set
them off!
•No free discussion of rulers =
High treason! Spies everywhere
•Upper class = beheading
•Lower class = drawing
and quartering
Life in Elizabethan England
Family Life
• Children and parents =
very formal
– Never disobey
– Children raised by nurses
• Women had no legal rights
•Romantic Love was
ALWAYS discouraged -- a
good match was more
•HONOR = very important!
Defend family
– All their money and possessions
went to the husband
– Literacy Rate was Low
• (W-10% M-30%)
– Single wealthy women were
fought over
– Married at the age of 11 or 12
– Father had the right to choose
husbands for daughters -negotiated for power
• Marriage = crucial to a woman
– No legal rights without it
Heart of England = LONDON
Tower Of London
•Fort for protecting the
city from invasions
•Royal Palace
London: Sanitation
• Streets were filthy
– No sewers or drains
– Gutters were in the middle of the
– Garbage & chamber pots emptied
in the streets --piled up until a rain
• Men walked in the middle of
street to protect the ladies
The Plague = incurable
• Overcrowding led to slums,
• Plague carried by fleas on
rats -- not known then
• Thought to be God’s wrath
on wicked people
• Two outbreaks killed 1/4 of
the population in
Shakespeare’s time
• Life expectancy = 48 years
• Time to travel to “New
World” = 1-2 months
Theater’s Place in the World:
One Side
The Court
•Elizabeth and
James totally
supported theater
company, “The
King’s Men,”
were named for
King James
Theater’s Place in the World:
The Other Side
City Officials
• Time of
Puritanism =
• Thought theater
was evil,
satanic, and
destroyed public
Theater’s Place in the World
•Theater was not allowed in London proper, within the
official city limits
•Instead, all theaters were in Southwark, just across the
Thames, and outside city lines
Shakespeare’s Theater: The Globe
• Variety of tickets, from the pit
(groundlings) to the gallery
• Loud, obnoxious, intelligent crowds
• Performances lasted “at least two
hours,” and started around 2 PM (the
middle of the working day)
• Trumpet blew to signal the start
• Public - open to all, though could not be
• Showed type of play by color of the flag
• White = Comedy
• Red = History
• Black = Tragedy
A Tour of the Globe
William Shakespeare:
The Bard Himself
England-A Spiritually
Divided Country
•When Henry starts his
own church, that splits
the country into Catholic
and Protestant
•Shakespeare’s family
has Catholic roots, but
he supports the Queen
Shakespeare: Early Life
Vital Stats:
• Born April 23, 1564
• Dies April 23, 1616
• Early Life: Stratford on
Avon, England
• Marries Anne Hathaway
(said she saved his life)
• They have three kids:
– Susanna, Hamnet and
• He moves to London in
Stratford On Avon:
Shakespeare’s Grammar School
London: The Big City
Shakespeare in London
• Became a leading actor
and playwright by 1592
• In 1594, Romeo and Juliet
was first performed -- all
male actors!
• By 1595, he’s the hottest
playwright in London
• Writes 37 plays (2 per
• Performed plays in
theaters, palaces, inns, and
homes of nobility
• 1610 -- returned to
How Shakespeare Changed
Before --
After --
•Performed by roaming
troupes for a meal or
• Professional
• Adds sets, lighting,
multiple stages, and
the box office.
• Theater is new, akin to
the start of TV
•Actors considered
• Performed lewd plays
to religious ones.