Shakespeare Man of the Theatre Bevington, Chapter 2
Shakespeare joined the Lord Chamberlains Men in 1594 Their original home was THE THEATRE It was dismantled and rebuilt as THE GLOBE in 1599
He acted in his own plays (Ghost of Hamlets father) His name appears in cast lists for at least two plays by Ben Jonson He is the only actor-writer of his time who was a share-holder
ELIZABETHAN THOUGHT Society was homogenous, largely Anglo-Saxon Jews had been expelled by Edward I in 1290 Patriarchal authority was strong
Church of England was the established Church, but religious conflicts were common. Elizabeth I had many spies seeking out Catholics and other perceived threats to the crown. Englands maritime strength brought wealth to London
The defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 stoked English nationalism. Shakespeares early histories were meant to praise the Tudors.
POLITICS Henry VIII bore a daughter (Mary) by Catherine of Aragon (Mary) Church would not allow him to divorce, so he chartered the Church of England
Anne Boleyn gave birth to Elizabeth Henrys son, Edward VI (by Jane Seymour) succeeded him t the throne. His was a very brief reign Elizabeth succeeded Mary and reestablished the Church of England. Spies loyal to her sought out Catholics during her reign. Anne Boleyn Edward VI Jane Seymour
Mary succeeded Edward and was sympathetic to Spain and the Catholics Queen Mary Queen Elizabeth
Many modern scholars believe that Shakespeares family had strong ties to the Catholic Church and that was part of the reason why his fathers fortunes plummeted so profoundly James I, the first Stuart king, came to power when Elizabeth died
The rise of the Puritans eventually brought about the execution of King Charles I in 1649.
Concept of the universe The medieval world was believed to be flat encircled by heavenly bodies
Copernian universe Copernicus suggest that the Earth wasnt the center of the universe in 1543. Galileos work, published in 1610, further supported Copernicus. Although Galileos work did not really have a profound effect on Shakespeares writing, the conflict between the conflicting views persisted.
MEDICINE Since Galen (2nd century AD) held that the body was composed of four humours as the four elements constituted life. In England, Sir Francis Bacon brought scientific thought into a new age of experimentation and discovery.
Influence of Montaigne Shakespeare was acquainted with the essays of MONTAIGNE which explored what it meant to be human-- a vital theme in all of Shakespeares writing.
Unenlightenment Women were often treated as property It was a fiercely patriarchal society Attitudes towards Spaniards, Turks, Moors and Jews was disturbing
THE GREAT CHAIN OF BEING Reflects a hierarchy of life
The character lists in his plays reflect a hierarchy A Midsummer Nights Dream THESEUS, Duke of Athens HIPPOLYTA, Queen of the Amazons PHILOSTRATE, Master of the Revels EGEUS, Father of Hermia HERMIA, daughter of Egeus, in love with Lysander LYSANDER, in love with Hermia DEMETRIUS, in love with Hermia and favored by Egeus HELENA, in love with Demetrius OBERON, King of the Fairies TITANIA, Queen of the Fairies PUCK, or ROBIN GOODFELLOW PEASEBLOSSOM, COBWEB, MOTE, MUSTARDSEED, fairies PETER QUINCE, a carpenter NICK BOTTOM, a weaver FRANCIS FLUTE, a bellows mender TOM SNOUT, a tinker SNUG, a joiner ROBIN STARVELING, a tailor Lords and attendants on Theseus and Hippolyta
Who speaks the final lines in his plays? ROMEO AND JULIET Prince Escalus HAMLET Fortinbras MACBETH Malcolm OTHELLO Lodovico THE TEMPEST Prospero KING LEAR Edgar
FESTIVE RITES A vital part of Elizabethan life Midsummer Nights Dream is set against a solstice celebration
Twelfth Night is set against a backdrop of Christmas
The Merry Wives of Windsor ends with a pageant to Herne the Hunter
CHARACTERS IN HIS PLAYS wear masks and disguises
PUBLIC SPECTACLES AND CEREMONIES WERE COMMON IN SHAKESPEARES DAY
INCLUDING EXECUTIONS The beheading of Mary, Queen of Scots
Hanging and stocks
THEATRES were Public or Private
PRIVATE PRIVATE (indoor) Blackfriars, Academic playing spaces, Court
PUBLIC PUBLIC (outdoor) in temporary stages, innyards or permanent playhouses like THE CURTAIN and THE GLOBE Mainstage with heavens overhead Discovery space Trap door Gallery above Tiring house backstage Auditorium...groundlings in pit, seats in galleries
Famous Companies The Lord Chamberlains Men, (later the Kings Men) The Lord Admirals Men Earl of Leicesters Men The Queens Men etc. Boys companies were popular Children of St. Pauls Children of the Chapel Children of Blackfriars Sometimes boy actors graduated to adult companies
Criminality and public lewdness Puritan preachers railed against the theatre
Regulation of the theatres
Henry VIII instituted the office of the Master of the Revels to oversee productions at court. He grew in power and administered his office on behalf of the crown. Edmund Tylney was the master of the revels during Shakespeares lifetime... In A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM, Philostrate performs the role of Master of the revels. The Tudor and Stuart monarchs supported the student and provided theatre companies with licenses to perform.
ACTORS Will Kempe
Richard Burbage and Robert Armin
Since Shakespeare wrote most of his plays for the actors in his company, he was able to craft the roles and cast the plays in the best way possible.