Notes on William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare – April 23rd, 1564 – April 23rd, 1616. Playwright during the Elizabethan and Jacobian period in England. Wrote for the masses, not the elite. He started out as an actor.
Stratford-on-the-Avon- This is where Shakespeare lived in his youth and retired to after he left theatre.
John Shakespeare – Shakespeare’s father who was a local official and a glove maker. He fell on hard times and was unable to send young William past the 7th grade.
Fact vs. Opinion – There is an argument over whether Shakespeare wrote his plays. There are few facts to back the opinion that he did not. He was not incredibly well educated, but that does not totally exclude the possibility that he did write the plays.
Ann Hathaway – Shakespeare’s wife. She was 6 years older than he was. They got married and six months later they had their first child.
Lord Chamberlain’s Men – Shakespeare’s company. You had to have someone of at least a Baron’s level to sponsor your company. Shakespeare’s company was one of the best of his period, they had one major rival.
Lord Admiral’s Men – This was the opposing company. They had great talented actors and a great playwright.
Edward Allyn - One of the two greatest actors of his time. He was an actor with the Lord Admiral’s Men. He still was not as good an actor as Mr. Horn. Mr. Horn is the bomb dittity actor.
Christopher Marlowe- Considered by serious scholars to be a superior playwright to Shakespeare starting out. He died in a barroom brawl at the age of 29. He wrote for the Lord Admiral's Men. He was stabbed through the eye with a sword. He was incredibly well educated which is why some people claim that he wrote all of Shakespeare’s plays. This is highly doubtful.
John Burbage- owner of the Theatre and later the Globe Theater. He floated the Globe down the Thames from one site to another. They then reassembled the Globe on the banks. He had two children who were very active and important in theater circles.
Cuthbert Burbage – He was John Burbage’s son. He was the producer. He took in all the revenue and then distributed it among the actors, playwrights and stage managers.
The Globe Theater – On the banks of the Thames this is one of the two theatres that Shakespeare had his plays produced frequently. His plays were also produced for private parties etc.
The Theater – This was John Burbage’s first theater.
The audience of the plays – People would come to the show to meet others, to buy clothes, fresh fruit etc. This was not the type of audience who would sit quietly and enjoy the play. The play was important, but the theater was a meeting place as well.
What people thought of actors in that day – Actors were considered lower class citizens. They were not trusted and were frequently considered to be dirty, dishonest and not appropriate for women to date. Like men who have graduated from the University of Georgia. They are scummy too. Hey, wait, I went to the University of Georgia. hmmm, better rethink that.
The sharers – These were the people who were given a percentage of the money for each performance. You had to work your way up to be a sharer.
How could men play women’s parts? - Acting was not considered lady like. Women did not play in theaters. Some women went to theaters, but they were sometimes looked at with an uneasy eye. Queen Elizabeth and her successor did support the theatre though. Young guys would start out playing women's parts. After they became older, they would play larger parts and eventually, if they were good enough, they would become sharers in the company. If they were not good enough, they would have to fine a new profession.
Understatement - You would say something without emphasis when it was of great importance. This would actually put greater emphasis on it.
Tone – The mood established by the writing, acting or set design of a play/scene
Foreshadowing - An idea would be introduced so that the audience could anticipate what might happen in the future. This is foreshadowing.