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Lecture 2

Shakespeare Lecture 2 & Part 1 of Lecture 3.odt

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Marjorie Rubright

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Shakespeare in Context (ENGB33) – January 06, 2010 Lecture 2 ➢ World Shakespeare/Shakespeare's World  The theatre of the period brought together people who never travelled  Situating ourselves historically • 1564-1616 (When Shakespeare lived) • Shakespeare's writing life: 1590 - 1613 • The English Renaissance: early 16 century – mid/late 17 centuryth • Renaissance is the rebirth of ancient Rome & Greece • All texts became available again • So Shakespeare could not have written the way he did if all these classical literature texts were not available to him • Renaissance period was an origin for our Modern period. • ➢ Renaissance and Early Modern Period can be used interchangeably ➢ KEY CONCEPTS ➢ Theatricality of London Life (pageants, bearbaiting, scaffold exectutions)  The Theatre in Renaissance England  The theatre and theatrically of early modern London life • Before people began flocking to public open-air theatres, and before they became controversial sites where all social classes were brought together, before all this, London was a highly theatrical society • London from late 16 /early 17 century, gathered in the city streets to observe Queen Elizabeth moving through the city with her entourage • Some spectacles lasted for days on some occasions • *“orange women” aka prostitutes • Bear-baiting (bears and dogs fighting) happened next to the theatre • Public executions (standing on scaffolds) were gruesome theatrical events  Theatrical detractors  Shakespeare and the printed book • The Oxford Shakespeare -- “Norton edition” • ➢ The Curtain; The Globe; the date of the 1 London theatre (1570) • Regular playgoing in London started 1570s with the opening of “The Curtain” • The theatres were very natural to London people • Until this, Londoners enjoyed street performances  Capacity of playhouses  Dangers of the transvestite theatre • Playgoing was also exciting cause it was dangerous • Most pple detested the idea of new theatres • Playgoing was dangerous from the perspective of authorities because the crowds looked like potential for riots. • There was no central for police force & riots could not be controlled easily. • Queen would have to deal with disorder in society. • Part of what they worried about was that some plays may say something critical or radical about the heads of state (Queen, etc) to the audience. • Plays provided opportunity for gossip to take place and politics may also come into play. • Plays themselves can spread new ideas an the order or everyday life could be rendered topsy turvy for a few hours ( so reality could be distorted when watching the plays) • Puritans disapproved of plays • They argued on religious grounds saying that for people to act as something that they are not in real life is deception. • They also didn't like men dressing up as women (they referred to this as transvestitism) • They also didn't like the fact that low rank pple could dress up as a king and easily persuade audience that he is one. ➢ Gentleman; Citizen; Yeomen artificers; laborers  4 ranks: Gentleman; Citizen; Yeomen artificers; laborers.  Gentleman • Politicians, dukes • Don't have to work with your hands. • Can be inherited; born into.  Citizen • Have some responsibility to the city • To become a citizen, you have to have a skillset and have experience in that field for a couple of years.  Yeomen artificers • Farmer • With some land and some economic independence • He doesn't have to work for somebody else;  Laborers • You work with your hands, and you for someone else. • This is the difference between a labourer and yeomens • Blue collar; plummer • These ranks leave out the poor ➢ Liberties  Place across the ocean; where all the bad things happen. Liberties give liberty to Londoners (brothels)  Theaters were set outside the jurisdiction of the city. On the way to London Theatres, people passed brothels, prisons, ➢ Population of London (1520: 60 000; 1550: 120 000; 1600: 200 000)  London was the largest city in England at the time.After Shakespeare's death it was the largest city in Europe. Population was growing at a fast rate. London almost doubles in population during Shakespeare's lifetime. Many were migrating to London due to opportunity to make money. Theaters gave people a chance to mix (men & women) as well as the mixing of English men & women with foreigners allowing for global news to be spread.  Playing going was viewed as doing something idle  Artisans (pple training in a trade) took time off work to see these plays and students were skipping lectures to see plays. Women were also taking time off their duties to go see the plays.  Pple of very high rank were also going to see these plays, so there was a mixing of rank which is a critique of the theatre. ➢ Places within the theatre: The Yard; Groundings; Lord's Room  The Yard (reconstructed Globe Theatre)  rebuilt on the Liberties 
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