EN3535 – Fall/Winter 2011/2012 – Elizabeth Pentland
Lecture 1 – Intro to Shakespeare – Sept 13
- Work examined in chronological order (readings).
- Language – Who’s language in Shakespeare writing in and what language is
used in Shakespeare’s plays.
- Tempest – colonialism.
Who Was Shakespeare
- Born April 23, 1563 in Stratford-upon-Avon, England.
- His father – John Shakespeare, was a Glover.
- His mother – Mary Arden, came from a wealthy, landowning family.
- Grammar school education (no university).
- In 1582, at age 18, married Anne Hathaway.
- Daughter, Susanna, born in 1583.
- Twins, Hamnet and Judith, born in 1585.
- Career in the London theatres began in the early 1590s.
- Theatres closed due to plague 1593-1594.
- Shakespeare took the opportunity to publish a pair of poems dedicated to Henry
Wriothesly, Earl of Southampton, who became his literary patron.
Shakespeare’s Patron rd
- Henry Wriothesley – 3 Earl of Southampton.
Venus & Adonis (1593)
- Shakespeare’s immensely popular rewriting of the story from Ovid’s
- Full of comic inversions.
- Roman goddess Venus pursues a reluctant young man, urging him to give in to
- Tragic poem based on the story of the Roman prince Tarquin’s rape of a virtuous
- A key moment in the history of Rome (transition from monarchy to republic).
The London Theatres
- Contemporary drawing of the Swan Theatre (Bankside, London) by Dutch visitor,
Johannes de Witt (ca. 1596).
- The first permanent theatre (‘The Theatre’) built just outside London, in
Shoreditch, in 1576 by James Burbidge.
- Shakespeare’s Globe built in 1599.
Queen Elizabeth (1533-1603)
- Another important patron of Shakespeare’s work. - Queen of England from 1558 until her death in 1603.
- Shakespeare’s theatre company, The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, performed at
court for Elizabeth and for her successor, James I (1603-1625).
Rivalry and Inspiration
- Shakespeare worked alongside other well-known playwrights of the period,
including Thomas Kyd, Robert Greene, Christopher Marlowe and Ben Jonson.
- He learned much from these playwrights (especially Kyd and Marlowe) in the
early years of his career, and was seen by some of them as an ambitious