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Shakespeare in Love with
Canavese’s Class
A beautiful and intriguing tale of
human triumph, deception, and
mistaken identity all played out within
a theatre.
The versin’ birth
(and the beginning of a profitable tourist industry)
b. ~ Apr. 23, 1564; d. Apr. 23, 1616
in Stratford – upon – Avon (river)
Shakespeare’s birthplace
Billy the Kid
Father John (glover + town
bailiff / councilman) longed
to move up in social status –
belong to the gentry
 Mother Mary (Arden)’s family
was gentry, but she lost this
distinction with marriage
W.S. in grammar school:
studied Latin, but English not offered as a subject;
prob. studied some Greek;
read classics in Latin, like works of Ovid.
No math, science, history, geography
On Tour
Actors needed a license and patronage to
tour + perform. Though revered as
celebrities today, actors were considered
low-class sorts by many in Shakespeare’s
1576, The Year that Was.
Before 1576, all performances had
been in inn (court)yards + guild
halls. In 1576, James Burbage built
the first theatre “in” London. It was
in fact just outside London, for
reasons explained on the next slide.
Burbage’s building was called “The
Theatre” (the word, from the Greek,
means “seeing place”)
Theatre was liked by the general
public, but increasingly condemned
by clergy + govt., who called it
sinful, a drain on the time + $ of
workers and a dangerous gathering
of people.
Those guys were referred to as real
That Last Slide Continued
London Council had, in 1574, put restrictions
on acting companies, including no Sunday
performances. (come on, what is this
Communist China?)
Burbage built his theatre just outside city
The audiences included apprentices (who
made up most of the groundlings)
+ women (who enjoyed the dirty jokes)
Shakespeare worked w/ Burbage’s sons
Cuthbert (business partner)
and Richard (actor)
for most of his career (1594-1610, at least)
1582, the Year that Was almost 1576
W.S. (age 18) married Anne Hathaway
(age 26), who gave birth six months later
(they may have had a “pre-contract” that
made them an “official” couple). Lots of
couples did this back in the day before
they had their official wedding, so their
child may not have been considered
conceived out of wedlock. Still, the child
may well have been the reason
Shakespeare got married. (Think carefully
before you shake your spears, boys.)
A lot of tots fill slots; forget them not
1583: Daughter Susanna born.
 1585: Twins Hamnet (boy) + Judith (girl)
Trouble in Paradise
Soon after, W.S. left family in Stratford 
moved to London (Anne was probably Puritan,
which would explain why she would not support
his theatre career)
 However, this was not a very upstanding thing
to do. If you have a family, you can’t just walk
out on them, you just gotta sack up. But
Shakespeare was a sweet writer, maybe even
the sweetest writer ever, so people usually
forgive him for leaving his family.
Stratford to London
1585-1592: The Lost Years
No historical records detail this period, but
we assume he trained as an actor and…
 More importantly, made a decision from
which he could never turn back, and
which would ultimately change the course
of history: he began to write plays...
Also in 1592, some jerk was talking
smack about our boy.
W.S. attacked in print by university wit +
former playwright Robert Greene, who
wrote—no doubt jealous of this young
man’s instant success—“There is an upstart
crow, beautified with our feathers, that with
his tyger’s heart wrapped in a player’s
hyde, supposes he is as well able to
bombast out a blank verse as the best of
you: and being an absolute Johannes
factotum, is in his own conceit the only
Shake-scene in a country.”
1592-1594: Theatres closed by London
Council due to the plague. With no reason
to write for the stage, Shakespeare
focused on writing poems.
 1593: poem “Venus and Adonis”
 1594: poem “The Rape of Lucrece”
- Joined Lord Chamberlain’s Men (acting
company), which was under the patronage
of the Queen
(the Master of the Revels approved plays
for the Queen + eventually all of England)
More stuff happens
1597: W.S. buys “New Place” in
Stratford; secures family coat of arms;
Lord Ch’s Men lose their lease
 1599: W.S. becomes “partner” in
Company, investing in the construction of
the Globe Theatre
 1603: Queen Elizabeth dies; King James I
crowned; company becomes the King’s
 1609: King’s Men acquire Blackfriars
(indoor theatre)
Retirement, fire, and death
1610: W.S. retires to Stratford; continues to write (in
collaboration with John Fletcher)
1613: Globe burns during packed performance of W.S.’s
Henry VIII
April 23, 1616: the day the poetry died
(yep, we think he died on his birthday)
He bequeathed his "second-best bed" to his wife; often
interpreted as a slight, but this would most likely have
been the family bed, the “best bed” being for guests.
Inscription on Shakespeare’s grave:
Good friend for Jesus’ sake forbear
To dig the dust enclosed here.
Blest be the man that spares these stones,
And curst be he that moves my bones.
Life doesn’t go on
(but the plays do)
First folio published by 2 of Shakespeare’s
former acting partners: John Heminges +
Henry Condell. Previous Quartos were
New Globe opened by Queen Elizabeth II
Elizabethan Theatres
Flowering of theatre. The Renaissance (rebirth) grew from
England’s medieval theatre of mystery and morality plays with
some stylistic infusion from educate men’s common reading
of the Roman playwrights (Terence, Plautus, Seneca).
 City authorities would often ban theatrical productions…
gatherings encouraged crime.
 Theatres: The Theatre and The Curtain in North London; The
Rose, the Swan, and The Globe (1599) in South London.
Christopher Marlow (1564-1593) – Tamburlane the Great, Faustus,
Ben Jonson (1572-1637) – Volpone, The Fox
Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Edward II
Elizabethan Theatres
Wooden, circular
structure, open to the
The pit (groundlings) vs.
the galleries
Audience close to the
Women not allowed on
stage (teenage boys)
No scenery, few props,
but elaborate costumes
Iambic Pentameter
The poetic form used by Shakespeare is Iambic Pentameter
Iambic Pentameter is a rhythmical pattern of syllables
Iambic: rhythm goes from unstressed syllable to a stressed one.
Rhythmic examples: “divine” “caress” “bizarre”
Like a heartbeat: daDUM daDUM
Each iamb is called a foot
There are other rhythms. I.e., trochaic = DUMda
Pentameter = the rhythm is repeated 5 times – each line is 10
Iambic Pentameter
Pentameter = the rhythm is repeated 5 times
The Prince of Cumberland! That is a step
On which I must fall down, or else o’er-leap,
For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires!
Let not light see my black and deep desires.
Shakespeare will sometimes end iambic pentameter on an
unstressed syllable, so that the last foot sounds like this:
 To be, or not to be, that is the question.
 Is this a dagger which I see before me
Blank Verse
Blank Verse = unrhymed iambic
 Rhyming
couplets often at the end of
monologues/scenes, used for emphasis
Shakespeare’s Sonnets
Sonnets = 14 lines of iambic pentameter
 Originally
created in Italy in the 1200’s
Shakespearean Sonnet = 3 quatrains and
a final couplet (ABAB CDCD EFEF GG)
Elizabethan Age – Jacobean Age
Shakespeare gains his notoriety during a
time when theatre is flourishing – the
Elizabethan Age.
Named after Queen Elizabeth I, who
reigns until 1603.
King James I reigns during the rest of
Shakespeare’s life. Shakespeare
(arguably) writes Macbeth in 1606 to
honor the King.
Elizabethan Age – Jacobean Age
Queen Elizabeth (1558-1603) – Daughter of Henry VIII
and Anne Boleyn. Protestant. The Virgin Queen.
Takes throne from Mary I (aka Bloody Mary), a Catholic who
executed Protestants in large numbers.
Elizabeth I firmly establishes the Church of England
(begun by her father); took the Church “the middle way”
between Catholic origins and Protestant Reformation
England emerges as the leading naval and commercial
power of the Western world. Elizabeth I's England
consolidates its position with the defeat of the Spanish
Armada in 1588.
Elizabeth names James VI of Scotland to be the heir to
the throne.
Takes the crown as James I, and rules from 1603-1625.
The Jacobean Age.
16th century London
center of culture and commerce.
population grew 400% from 1500 to 1600, reaching nearly
200,000 people in the city proper and outlying region by
the time Shakespeare arrived.
Thriving merchant middle class
Booming economy
The Four Humours
A traditional theory of physiology in which
the state of health - and by extension the
state of mind, or character - depended
upon a balance among the four elemental
fluids: blood, yellow bile, phlegm, and
black bile.
These were closely allied with the four
elements (air, fire, water, and earth). Their
correspondence is described as follows…
The Humours
 Hot and moist; (Air)
 Amorous, happy,
Black Bile
 Cold and dry ; (Earth) •
 Gluttonous, lazy,
– Cold and moist;
(Water )
– Dull, pale, cowardly
– Hot and dry; (Fire)
– Violent, vengeful
The Humours
The "humours" gave off vapors which ascended to
the brain; an individual's personal characteristics
(physical, mental, moral) were explained by his or
her "temperament," or the state of that person's
The perfect temperament resulted when no one
of these humours dominated.
By 1600 it was common to use "humour" as a
means of classifying characters; knowledge of the
humours is not only important to understanding
later medieval work, but essential to interpreting
Elizabethan drama.
Shakespeare’s Life