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William Shakespeare
Who Was Shakespeare
Not Sure What He Looks Like
 No information about his
 No information about his
person, other than his
marriage lisense, grave stone
epithet, court documents,
business contracts, and
property deeds.
 We only have three paintings
of Shakespeare, and we aren’t
sure if any of them are really
 Born in Stratford, England in
1564 and died in 1616.
Multitasking Master
 Wrote 37 plays
 154 sonnets
 Several businesses
 Husband and father of
three children.
Did I Mention He Was Also an Actor?
 Did not take up large
 Played the ghost in
 Acted in other
playwright’s plays
 Performed for both
Queen Elizabeth and
James I (King James
The Plays
 38 plays firmly attributed to Shakespeare
10 histories
10 tragedies
4 romances
 Possibly wrote three others
 Collaborated on several others
The Globe Theater,
but how much do we know about this theater?
Try—almost nothing!
Thank you, Johannes de Witt
In 1596 a Dutch traveller and student called Johannes de Witt attended a
play at the Swan Theatre in London.. His diary note, together with the
picture, is probably the single most important source of information
regarding the internal layout of London theatres. The exact dimensions of
the amphitheatres have been lost in time, however, the picture of the Swan
allows for an approximation.
The Diary note of Johannes de Witt
From diary of Johannes de Witt: "There are four amphitheatres
in London so beautiful that they are worth a visit, which are given different
names from their different signs. In these theatres, a different play is offered
to the public every day. The two more excellent of these are situated on the
other side of the Thames, towards the South, and they are called the Rose
and the Swan from their signboards.. As its form seems to bear the
appearance of a Roman work, I have made a drawing of it"
The Swan Theater—our only link to the Globe
A theatrical convention is a
suspension of reality.
 No electricity
 Women forbidden
to act on stage
 Minimal, contemporary
 Minimal scenery
control the
 Soliloquy
 Aside
 Blood
 Use of supernatural
Types of
loves to be
 400 years after Hamlet was written, people are still
connecting to it.
 Hamlet is one the Shakespeare’s most famous play,
and it contains one of the most famous lines “To be
or not to be, that is the question” (3.1)
 Hamlet tells the story about Hamlet.
 Hamlet’s dad (King of Denmark) has been murdered
by his own brother (Hamlet’s Uncle Claudius).
 Shortly after the murder, Claudius marries Hamlet’s
mom Gertrude.
 Needless to say, Hamlet has some serious issues to
deal with and he’s a pretty complex character.
 The story of Hamlet dates back to at least the 9th
century. It centers around “Amleth” (sound
familiar?), a young man who fakes being crazy in
order to avenge his father’s murder.
 The story was included in a 12th century text and
later translated to French before Shakespeare found
 Believe it or not, adaptations of this story have made
its way into modern day films.
So why should you care?
 Hamlet is having a teenage crisis.
 Which one of you has never had an inner conflict?
Struggled to figure out what to do with your life?
Had conflicted feelings about your parents? ………yea
I though so… can totally relate!
Concepts that you need to know
 Internal
 External
 How does conflict add to the theme?
Plot Elements
 Soliloquy- a speech in which a character speaks his
or her private thoughts aloud.
 The speaker is almost always alone and is generally
unaware of an audience.
 Gives the reader insight into the inner conflicts of the
character, or can foreshadow.
 Similar to the soliloquy
 A remark spoken in an undertone by a character.
 Essentially, it is mumbling to oneself or another
 Also gives insight to the characters feelings.
 A foil is a character who provides a striking contrast
to another character.
 Writers use foils to call attention to certain traits
possessed by the main character.
 Example:
 Donkey and Shrek
Dramatic Irony
 when the audience or reader knows something that
the characters in the story do not know
 Used a lot in scary movies
Useful Vocabulary
 drama: a work of literature designed to be performed in front of an
act: a division within a play, much like chapters of a novel
scene: a division of an act into smaller parts
comedy: a humorous work of drama
tragedy: a serious work of drama in which the hero suffers catastrophe or
serious misfortune, usually because of his own actions
dialogue: conversation between two or more characters
stage directions: italicized comments that identify parts of the setting or the
use of props or costumes, give further information about a character, or
provide background information
iambic pentameter: a line of poetry that contains 5 iambs of two syllables
monologue: a long speech spoken by a character to himself, another
character, or to the audience
Think about this…
 Madness
 Family
 Revenge
 Sexuality
 Mortality
 Religion
 Lies and deceit
 Playing roles
 Gender
 In Elizabethan London, people often amused
themselves by watching executions and other bloody
spectacles. Dramatists of the time helped to satisfy
the public’s taste for blood by creating revenge
 Even though the reformation was 60 years old by the
time Hamlet was written, elements of Catholicism
are still evident.
 Catholicism vs. Protestantism
 During the Elizabethan era, marriage between a
widow and her late husband’s brother was forbidden
by both Catholics and Protestants.
 Henry VIII tried to justify his divorce from Catherine
of Aragon, who had been married to his older
brother, by citing this passage in the Bible: “The man
who takes to wife the wife of his brother: that is
impurity… (Leviticus 20:21)
 During this time period, doctors believed that
emotions were controlled by a mixture of four
“humors” in the body.
Blood (happiness)
Yellow bile (anger)
Black bile (depression)
Phlegm (calm/apathetic)
Understanding the Language of
Modern (also called Elizabethan or
Shakespearean) English ?
The Elizabethan period “presents
the English language in a
transitional and undeveloped
condition, rejecting and inventing
much that the verdict of posterity
has retained and discarded”
(Abbott 15).
Influences on
Shakespeare’s English
 Values of the time:
clarity preferred over correctness, and brevity
preferred over both clarity and correctness
 New discoveries = new thoughts that require new
 Revival of classical studies (Greek, Latin)
 Transitional period of the Language
 Greater influence of spoken English over written
(more contractions)
From A Shakespearean Grammar by Edwin Abbott
Qualities of Shakespearean English
 Grammatical errors (according to today’s rules of
Standard English)
 Any part of speech can be used as any other
 Versatility in the arrangement of words in sentences
 Words and phrases have a greater variety of uses
than today
Adjectives In Shakespeare’s English
 Add “y” to any word to form an adjective
“Slumbery agitation” – Macbeth 5.1.12
“Unheedy haste” – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
 Articles (a, an, the) may be omitted
“When lion rough in wildest rage doth roar” A
Midsummer Night’s Dream 5.1.224 (“a” omitted
before “lion”)
Adjectives In Shakespeare’s English
 Adjectives may be used as adverbs or nouns
“Which the false man does easy.” Macbeth 2.3.143
“Grow not instant old.” Hamlet 1.2.94 (instantly)
 Adjectives may be compounded
“I am too sudden-bold.” Love’s Labour Lost 2.1.197
“Honorable-dangerous” Julius Caesar 1.3.124
Adjectives In Shakespeare’s English
 “-er” and “-est” added where today’s English
doesn’t add them
“Horrider: Cymbeline 4.2.331
“Certainer” Much Ado About Nothing 5.3.62
 Double comparative and superlative
“More nearer” Hamlet 2.1.11
“Most unkindest” Julius Caesar 3.2.187
Adjective may be placed AFTER the noun rather
than before
“In the seat royal” Richard III 3.1.164
Adverbs in Shakespeare’s English
 Along may mean “along with me”
 Forth, hence, and hither may be used to show
motion without a verb
“I have no mind of feasting forth tonight”
Merchant of Venice 2.2.37
Double negative: Viola in Twelfth Night says,
“Nor never none /Shall mistress of it be, save I
alone,” by which she meant that no one except
herself would ever be mistress of her heart.
Prepositions in Shakespeare’s
 May be left out
“That gallant spirit hath aspired the clouds”
Romeo and Juliet 3.1.122 “to” left out before
 May differ slightly in meaning to today’s
prepositions, but the meaning is usually
Verbs in Shakespeare’s English
 The “-ed” ending may be omitted
“These things indeed you have articulate” Henry IV
5.1.72 (articulated)
 “to” may be omitted in an infinitive
“The rest I wish thee gather.” Henry VI 2.5.96 (to
Verbs in Shakespeare’s English
 Verb tense may be inconsistent: changes in tense
allowed where today’s rules would not allow it
“Therefore they thought (past) it good you hear
(present) a play.” Taming of the Shrew
 Any noun or adjective could become a verb
“That has so cowarded and chased your blood.”
Henry V 2.2.75
Effects of Rhythm on Shakespeare’s
 Shortening of words by using contractions so words
will fit the rhythm
 Changing the accent of words so they fit the rhythm
New words created by compounding any parts of
“the steep-up heavenly hill” “Sonnet 7”
“til Henry’s back-return” Henry V Prologue 41
Sentence Order
The most emphatic words may be placed at the
beginning of the sentence in spite of grammatical
“In dreadful secrecy impart they did” Hamlet 1.2.207
“Before the time I did Lysander see,
Seem’d Athens a paradise to me.” A Midsummer
Night’s Dream 1.1.205
Ellipses (Words Left Out)
“Elizabethan Authors objected to scarcely any
ellipsis, provided the deficiency could be easily
supplied from the context.” (Abbott 279)
Little words left out such as : and, as, but, if,
ere, or, like, since, than, though, and pronouns
“This is that banish’d haughty Montague,
And here is come.” Romeo and Juliet 5.3.52
(here he is come)
Some Phrases Created by Shakespeare
 Eaten out of house and home
 Full circle
 Neither rhyme nor reason
 Seen better days
 A sorry sight
 A spotless reputation
 In my heart of hearts
Words Coined by Shakespeare
accused addiction alligator amazement
anchovies assassination backing bandit
bedroom bump buzzers courtship critic
dauntless dawn design dickens discontent
embrace employer engagements
excitements exposure eyeball fixture
futurity glow immediacy investments kick
leapfrog luggage manager mimic
misgiving mountaineer ode outbreak
pageantry pedant perusal questioning
reinforcement retirement roadway
rumination savagery scuffles shudders
switch tardiness transcendence urging
watchdog wormhole zany
Words Coined by Shakespeare
besmirch bet blanket cake champion compromise
cow denote deracinate dialogue dislocate divest
drug dwindle elbow enmesh film forward gossip
grovel hobnob humor hurry impedes lapse lower
misquote negotiate numb pander partner petition
puke rant reword secure submerge swagger
torture unclog
Words Coined by Shakespeare
aerial auspicious baseless beached bloodstained
blushing circumstantial consanguineous
deafening disgraceful domineering enrapt
epileptic equivocal eventful fashionable foregone
frugal generous gloomy gnarled hush inaudible
invulnerable jaded juiced lackluster laughable
lonely lustrous madcap majestic marketable
monumental nervy noiseless obscene olympian
premeditated promethean quarrelsome radiance
rancorous reclusive remorseless rival sacrificial
sanctimonious softhearted splitting stealthy
traditional tranquil unmitigated unreal varied
vaulting viewless widowed worthless yelping
Words Coined by Shakespeare
importantly instinctively obsequiously threateningly
tightly trippingly unaware
Works Cited and Consulted
Abbott, Edwin. A Shakespearian grammar: An attempt to illustrate
some of the differences between Elizabethan and modern English.
For the use of schools . 2nd ed. London:Macmillan, 1901.
"History of the English Language." Wikipedia. Wikipedia Foundation
Inc. 7 Mar 2007
Holladay, April. "English Language - Big Changes." USA Today
07/15/2005 03/06/2005
Holladay, April. "Script for origins of English Language Comes out of
Africa." USA Today 7/8/2005 03/06/2007
< >.
Vernon, Jennifer. "Shakespeare's Coined Words Now Common
Currency." National Geographic News April 22, 2004 03/06/2007