WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (1564-1616)
- The Tudor Years: stabile monarchy (Henry VII), Church of England (Henry VIII), first steps into creating the British Empire (Elizabeth I)
ECONOMY AND SOCIETY:
- The British economy is rural and self-sufficient. Towns are populated by merchants and craftsmen
- Colonial expansion under Elizabeth I is facilitated by building a fleet for transportation and military purposes
- The East India Company starts doing business with Asia
- Due to economical progress and prosperity, interest in culture and learning grows.
IDEOLOGY AND CULTURE:
- English Renaissance follows Italian Renaissance
- Dominant cultural ideology: Humanism
Elizabethan sonnet, inspired by Petrarchan sonnet, was introduced by Sir Thomas Wyatt.
- Theatre appeals to all social classes. Theatre language is less artificial than the language of poetry;
- Dominated by the principle of order (if the natural order is disturbed, the result is chaos);
- Acting is considered an immoral profession (women’s roles are played by men);
- There is no scenery in the plays;
- The message of the play is transmitted mainly through language;
- Globe Theatre is built in 1599.
THE AUTHOR AND HIS WORK
- Considered to be the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s greatest dramatist;
- England’s national poet;
- Born in Stratford-upon-Avon;
- Worked as an actor, writer, and part-owner of a playing company in London.
- “The Taming of the Shrew”
- The Two Gentlemen of Verona”
- “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
- 154 sonnets, published in 1609