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What I already know about Shakespeare…
(If you don’t know anything about him,
that’s FINE! Share your EXPECTATIONS
and PREDICTIONS about his life and work
Meet the Bard:
William Shakespeare
Ms. Geller’s Sensational Sophomores
Fall 2013
Shakespeare’s Life
Born April 23, 1564, Stratfordon-Avon, England
Died on his birthday in 1616
Little is known about his early
Father was a merchant and
served one term as mayor
Attended Stratford Grammar
School until age 14
Studied Latin and Greek, as
well as British History and
World History
Shakespeare’s House
in Stratford-on-Avon
Shakespeare’s Life, continued
Married Anne
Hathaway at age 18
 Three children:
Susanna, Judith and
 Left for London
around 1592
Shakespeare and His Theatre
Quickly developed a reputation as an actor and
playwright; wrote a total of 37 plays
Principal playwright of the Lord Chamberlain’s
Built the Globe Theatre in 1599
Began writing poetry when theatres closed due
to plague
Theatre company renamed the King’s Men when
James I became king in 1603
Retired to Stratford in 1610
Shakespeare’s Theatre
No one knows exactly when each play was written
Plays consisted of five acts and were approximately two
hours long
Several distinct sub-genres of drama:
History Plays
Subject matter based on history and myth; already wellknown to Shakespeare’s audiences
Theatre considered an inappropriate vocation for
women; female roles typically played by men and boys
"Pardon, gentles all, the flat
unraised spirits that hath dared
On this unworthy scaffold to
bring forth so great an object.
Can this cockpit hold the vasty
fields of France?
Or may we cram Within this
“Wooden O” the very casques
that did affright the air at
Shakespeare’s Theatre, continued…
The Globe consisted of a round or octagonal,
roofless courtyard with no artificial light
Plays performed during daylight hours
 No scenery; settings were indicated through dialogue
 Actors wore luxurious Elizabethan clothing, rather
than costumes
Wealthier playgoers watched from three levels
of benches
 Less wealthy spectators, called “groundlings,”
stood and watched from the “pit.”
Shakespeare’s Theatre, continued
The Globe burned
down in 1613
 Foundation of original
structure discovered
in 1990
 Re-opened to its first
full season in 1997
The Globe
Shakespeare’s Language
Shakespeare’s plays were written primarily
in blank verse—unrhymed iambic
 Iambic pentameter: ten syllables per line,
every second syllable accented
Commoners speak in prose
Shakespeare’s Language, continued
Elizabethan English
 Footnotes are your friends!
“Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind;
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.
Nor hath Love’s mind of any judgment taste.65
Wings, and no eyes, figure66 unheedy haste.”
65. Nor…judgment taste: Love, which arises from feelings, is without
66. figure: Symbolize