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basicknowledge about shakespeare's drama


William Shakespeare
Widely regarded as the greatest writer in English Literature

Shakespeare
? 1563-1616 ? Stratford-on-Avon, England ? wrote 37 plays ? about 154 sonnets ? started out as an actor

Stage Celebrity
? Actor for Lord Chamberlain’s Men (London theater co.) ? Also > principal playwright for them ? 1599> Lord Ch. Co. built Globe Theater where most of Sh. Play’s were performed

Shakespeare wrote:
? Comedies ? Histories ? Tragedies

Romeo and Juliet
? Written about 1595 ? Considered a tragedy ? West Side Story (Movie) based on R&J

The Theater
? Plays produced for the general public ? Roofless>open air ? No artificial lighting ? Courtyard surrounded by 3 levels of galleries

Spectators
? Wealthy got benches ? “Groundlings”>poorer people stood and watched from the courtyard (“pit”) ? All but wealthy were uneducated/illiterate ? Much more interaction than today

Staging Areas
? Stage>platform that extended into the pit ? Dressing & storage rooms in galleries behind & above stage ? second-level gallery> upper stage> famous balcony scene in R & J ? Trap door>ghosts ? “Heavens”> angelic beings

Differences
? No scenery ? Settings > references in dialogue ? Elaborate costumes ? Plenty of props ? Fast-paced, colorful>2 hours!

Actors
? Only men and boys ? Young boys whose voices had not changed play women’s roles ? Would have been considered indecent for a woman to appear on stage

Elizabethan (QE1) Words
? ? ? ? ? ? An,and: Anon: Aye: But: E’en: E’er: If Soon Yes Except for Even Ever

QE1 Words (contin.)
? Haply: ? Happy: ? Hence: ? Hie: ? Marry: Perhaps Fortunate Away, from her Hurry Indeed

QE1 Words (contin.)
? Whence: Where ? Wilt: Will, will you ? Withal: In addition to ? Would: Wish

Blank Verse
? Much of R & J is written in it:
–unrhymed verse –iambic (unstressed, stressed) –pentameter( 5 “feet” to a line)
? ends up to be 10 syllable lines

Prose
? Ordinary writing that is not poetry, drama, or song
–Only characters in the lower social classes speak this way in Shakespeare’s plays –Why do you suppose that is?

Plot

?The sequence of events in a literary work

Exposition
? The plot usually begins with this: –introduces>>>> ?setting ?characters ?basic situation

Inciting Moment
? Often called “initial incident”
–the first bit of action that occurs which begins the plot –Romeo and Juliet “lock eyes” at the party

Conflict
? The struggle that develops
–man vs. man –man vs. himself –man vs. society –man vs. nature

Crisis
? The point where the protagonist’s situation will either get better or worse
–protagonist>good guy –antagonist>bad guy

Climax
? The turning point of the story>everything begins to unravel from here
–Thus begins the falling action

Resolution ?The end of the central conflict

Denouement
? The final explanation or outcome of the plot
–If this is included in literature, it will occur after the resolution.

Tragedy (Shakespearean)
? Drama where the central character/s suffer disaster/great misfortune
– In many tragedies, downfall results from>

? Fate ? Character flaw/Fatal flaw ? Combination of the two

Theme
? Central idea or >> ?Insight about life which explain the downfall

Metaphorical Language
? Comparison of unlike things >
– Paris standing over the “lifeless body” of Juliet, “Sweet flower, with flowers thy bridal bed I strew…” – “Thou detestable maw…”Gorged with the dearest morsel of the earth…” Romeo

Dramatic Foil
? A character whose purpose is to show off another character
–Benvolio for Tybalt
?look for others in R & J

Round characters
?Characters who have many personality traits, like real people.

Flat Characters
? One-dimensional, embodying only a single trait
–Shakespeare often uses them to provide comic relief even in a tragedy

Static Characters
? Characters within a story who remain the same. They do not change. They do not change their minds, opinions or character.

Dynamic Character
? Characters that change somehow during the course of the plot. They generally change for the better.

Monologue
? One person speaking on stage > may be other character on stage too
–ex > the Prince of Verona commanding the Capulets and Montagues to cease feuding

Soliloquy
? Long speech expressing the thoughts of a character alone on stage. In R & J, Romeo gives a soliloquy after the servant has fled and Paris has died.

Aside
? Words spoken, usually in an undertone not intended to be heard by all characters

Pun
? Shakespeare loved to use them!!! –Humorous use of a word with two meanings > sometimes missed by the reader because of Elizabethan language and sexual innuendo

Direct Address
? Words that tell the reader who is being addressed: ? “A right fair mark, fair coz, is soonest hit.” ? “Ah, my mistresses, which of you all/ Will now deny to dance?”

Dramatic Irony
? A contradiction between what a character thinks and what the reader/audience knows to be true

Verbal Irony
?Words used to suggest the opposite of what is meant

Situational Irony
? An event occurs that directly contradicts the expectations of the characters, the reader, or the audience

Comic Relief
? Use of comedy within literature that is NOT comedy to provide “relief” from seriousness or sadness. ? In R & J, look for moments of comic relief that help “relieve” the tragedy of the situation


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