SHAKESPEARE - THE ELIZABETHIAN AGE referat







SHAKESPEARE

and

THE ELIZABETHIAN AGE

Today I wanna tell you a bit about the Elizabethan Age and the most famous english Playwright William Shakespeare.

This time is nearly equate with the Renaissance in England and got its name, as we allready know from Queen Elizabeth I., the last ruler of the Tudor-dynasty.

The Plantagenet-families regency ends in a bloody civil war and so in 1485 the first Tudor, Henry VII. gets crowned. They were to reign until 1603 as Queen Elizabeth I. had died, and with this dynasty the 'Modern Age' dawns.





The Renaissance starts in Italy and comes very late to England and so for example also the use of gunpowder for canons or the growing spirit of nationalism.

All those developments had been stopped by the war and because they had own traditions.

But then there happened a lot of changes like the reorganisation of the economic system and the rise of banking houses, who built a new class.

They got the new bourgeoisie and set new standards in education and learning.

So grammmar schools and colleges were founded like Oxford and Cambridge.

The rolle of theachers, philosophers and scientists grew as the influence of the church became weaker.

The othority of the Church of Rome got weakened and so the power of the monarch increased.

He claimed the right to choose also the highest officials of the church, because he was very interested in it's wealth and it's influence.

The final break with Rome was in 1534 under Henry VIII. and was the beginning of a reigious and social unrest, which divided the nation.

But finally the Church was stengthend as the 'Anglikan Church' under Elizabeth I.

Nevertheless the conflict with Rome wasn't over and it attempted to win back influence.

Through all theese developments England got one of the most powerful countries in the world for example as a major sea power (with the defeat of the Spanish Armada).

But there were also negativ effects:

So was the Feudalistic-order at an end, because the quest of profit overturned the agrarian structure, English money was lowered and so prices increased.

As a result beggar- and vagaboundship grew.

The rising standard of living of the bourgeoisie included more importance of arts, education, sciences, languages and communication.

Especially with the mvention of the printing press by William Caxton in 1576, books and translations of foreighn wrights were published.

So the problems of the English language, because it never had beenfixed by printing, had been shown. It's logical that the drama was the best form of educational comunication.

And so the Renaissance in Endland reached ist Zenith with the Elizabethan drama in particular with Shakespeare's plays.



Now I want to decleare the origin of the Elizabethan stage:

first ther were MYSTERY PLAYS, which had to make the birth and death of Christ more accessible.

at next in MIRACLE PLAYS the lifes of saints wer portrayed.

Both were very short and first spoken in Latin, but later in English. They were shown by the Clercy.

As the Plays got more complex, the actors needed locations and they were called 'mansions' or 'houses'.

theese forms were replaced by MORALITY PLAYS, in which Death, Goodness, Knowledge or Sins appeared on the stage as Persons.

An other example was the social, the religious or the political satire:

Both were performed by townsmen, students or professional entertainers, who traveld from from place to place.

At that time inn yards and bear baitings proved as practically, because on this way the paying audience was easier to control.

That were allright the beginnings of the Elizabethan public theatre.

And about this Theme I want to give you more information now:

As I allready told you, London was a centre of political and economic events.

The trade with Russia, the North East and East India started to bloom.

But it was also a main centre of intellectual life.

Merchants and shopkeepers, craftsmen, labourers, carriers, servants and apprentices, courtiers, lawyers, officers, fashionable woman, ordinary housewifes and children, seamen ashore, dissmised soldiers, peddlers, and the 'light woman' proved a colourful picture together.

But for ali of them, beside visiting bull- and bearbaitings, cockpits and taverns, going to the theatre was important.

We can distinguish among two kinds of theatre at that time:

the 'public Playhouses', which had mixed audiences and

the 'private Playhouses', which had a smaller capathy and higher admission prices.

The audiences we can devide in 3 groups:

the genteel audience (which belonged to a high social class and visited only the private theaters)

the plebeian audience and

the Shakespeare's audience, where you could find both groups united .

And especially for theese group of audience all great Elizabethan Plays were written.

And so I have to present the last part of my Report:

That is Shakespeare and his life.

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-on-Avon on april, 26th in 1564.

His mother Mary Arden was the daughter of a respected family of landowners and the father John Shakespeare was the Major of Statford.

William was the third child of 8 children and the first son. He attended the local grammar school.

At the age of eighteen he married Anne Hathawy, who was eight years older than himself.

1583 their first daughter Susan was born and in 1585 followed the twinns Hamnet and Judith.

Between 1590 and 1592 he became actor and playwright and went to London.

In 1594 he got a member of 'Lord Chamberlain's Company', a group of actors, named by their protector Lord Chamberlain, an official of the royal household.



This master of the Revels arranged, supervised and paide for all kinds of court entertainments;

He could also censor any Plays.

Shakespeare was one of their leading actors and so he also to wright Plays for them.

In 1598 they built the Globe theatre and in 1603 the Company renamed themselves into 'the King's Men', because they were under the protection of King James and so they got the most famous Company of actors in London.

At that time most playwrights were living a hand-to-mouth existence as free-lance wrighters, Shakespeare enjoied the advantages of a prominent position, with a group of talented actors with whom his success grew.

So he was enabled to buy land in Stratford and after 20 years in London he came back.

1608 'the King's Men' Company bought a more comfortable and expensive theatre whithin the City walls 'Black Friars', because it was a former monastery.

This one they used during the wintermonth, because it was roofed and the Globe was an open-Air theatre.

Together with the new location the Plays got a different style: romances, stories of love, adventures and strange events set in long-past periods .

The endings of the Plays were happier than in real life.

They had to appeal to the more refined audience.

Between 1610 and 1611 Shakespeare wrote his last comedies and went back to Stratford, left the Company and retired.

In 1613 as a symbol for the end of his life as an actor and a dramatist, the Globe burned down during a performance of Henry VIII.

On april, 23rd he died in his native town.

The cause of his dead is not known.

'What it is equally important to keep in mind, how ever, is that Shakespeare without the Chamberlain's Men would have been a lesser Shakespeare !' (a qutation taken from 'The Shakespeare Background Reader').


SHAKESPEARE

and

ELIZABETHAN AGE



named after Queen Elizabeth I.;

lasts from 1485 (first Tudor, Henry VII. crowned) until 1603 (death of Elizabeth I.);

together with Tudor-dynasty the 'Modern Age' dawns;

is nearly equate with the Renaissance in England, brings a lot of changes (reorganisation of the economic system, rise of banking houses, new standards in education and learning, );

the influence of church becomes weaker and the monarch's power increases=> final break with Rome (Henry VIII.) and 'Anglikan Church' is strengthened (Elizabeth I.);

England gets powerful (trade, sea power, );

also negative effects (Feudalistic-order at an end, money lowered prices increas, vagaboundship grows, ).

The origin of the Elizabethan stage:

Mystery Plays

performed by Clergy;

Miracle Plays

Morality Plays

Performed by townsmen, students or professionals

social, religious or political satire



The Elizabethan theatre:

London is centre of intellectual life and for every citizen goingt o the theatre is important;

2 kinds of theatres:

'public Playhouse' 'private Playhouse';

3 groups of audiences:

'genteel'- 'plebeian'- 'Shakespeare's audience';

Shakespeare:

26, 4, 1564: born in Stratford-on-Avon;

mother: daughter of respected family of landowners,

father: Major of Stratford;

marries Ann Hathawy (3 children);

between 1590 and 1592: becomes actor and playwright,

goes to London;

1594: gets member of 'Lord Chamberlain's Company', has to

write Plays for them;

1598: build Globe (open-Air) theatre;

1603: Company renames into 'The King's Men';

his success grows buys land in Stratford

1608: 'King's Men' buy new (roofed) theatre 'Black Friars';

between 1610 and 1611: writes last Plays, leaves Company,

retires, goes back to Stratford;

1613: Globe theatre burns down;

23, 4, 1616: dies in Stratford.

His most important Plays:

1.) Comedies:

'Midsummer Night Dream';

'Merchant of Venice';

'Merry Wives of Windsor';

'Much Ado';

'As You Like It';

'Winter's Tale'.

Tragedies:

'Titus Andronicus';

'Romeo and Juliet';

'Julius Caesar';

'Hamlet';

'Othello';

'King Lear';

'Macbeth';

'Anthony and Cleopatra';

'Coriolanus'.

Histories:

'Henry IV.';

'Richard III.';

'King John';

'Richard II.';

'Henry IV.';

'Henry V.';

'Henry VIII.'.










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