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William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet Background notes about William Shakespeare and the play

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Post on 16-Jan-2015




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  • 1. William Shakespeares Romeo & Juliet Background notes about William Shakespeare and the play

2. William Shakespeare

  • Born in 1564 in Stratford, England
  • Died in 1616 on his birthday
  • Nickname- The Bard
  • Married Anne Hathaway and had three children.

3. William Shakespeare

  • He worked as an actor, a poet, and a playwright.
  • He thrived as a playwright during the monarchs of Elizabeth I and James I.
  • Founded and wrote plays for the theatrical company The Lord Chamberlains Men

4. 16th-century Elizabethan Theatre

  • Religious groups condemned theater for the immorality in the plays.
  • All of society attended the theater, including royalty.
  • Plays were meant to be performed-- not seen as literature, therefore only rough copies of Shakespeares plays survive today.
  • Only men were actors at the time, even for female roles.

5. The Globe

  • Shakespeares theater group constructed The Globe, an open-air round theatre.
  • The original theatre burned in 1613.A new Globe Theatre was built in London in 1997.

6. Romeo and Juliet

  • Romeo and Julietwas written in Elizabethan English circa 1595.
  • Shakespeare derived the plot from another play, which was common at the time.
  • Like his other works, this play was celebrated for its experimental and exciting language.
  • This was one of his first tragedies; he had mainly written comedies until this time.
    • Tragedy- a play dealing with tragic events; usually has an unhappy ending, culminating in the main characters downfall
    • Comedy- a humorous play where the characters triumph over adversity

7. Romeo and Juliet

  • This play is an unusual tragedy becauseRomeo and Julietis about love.
  • Shakespeare had a flair for mixing comedy, tragedy, and romance in his writing.
  • At the time, marriage was not always viewed as a result of love.People married for reasons other than love.

8. Iambic Pentameter

  • Shakespeare wrote in iambic pentameter.
    • Iambic pentameter- a type of meter with 10 syllables per line (1 unstressed syllable,
    • 1 stressed syllable[5x] in each line)
    • iamb= footpent= 55 feet per line

9. Iambic Pentameter

  • This type of meter was originally used in dance and by actors to remember lines in theatre.
    • The regular rhythm helps dancers keep the beat when dancing and the actors keep the beat when speaking.
  • When lines in iambic pentameter do not rhyme and are not grouped in stanzas, theyre called blank verse.

10. Rhyme Scheme

  • Rhyme scheme is the ordered pattern of rhymes at the ends of the lines of a poem.
    • Letters of the alphabet are used to assign the pattern, e.g.,aabbcc.

11. Sonnet

  • A sonnet is a fourteen-line rhyming poem in iambic pentameter.
  • Shakespeares sonnets contain three four-line stanzas (quatrains) and one couplet.
  • The rhyme scheme for a Shakespearean sonnet isabab cdcd efef gg .
  • The chorus, or narrator, inRomeo and Julietspeaks in sonnets.
  • In Romeo and Juliets first meeting, their dialogue is a sonnet.

12. Themes

  • A theme is a storys insight about life.
  • Themes inRomeo and Juliet :
    • The Power of Love
    • Love vs. Family
    • Family Ties
    • Revenge
    • The Power of Attraction, specifically of opposites
    • Arranged Marriage

13. Motifs

  • A motif is a recurring element that usually relates to one of the storys themes.
  • Motifs inRomeo and Juliet :
    • Young/Old
    • Love/Hate
    • Wisdom/Passion
    • Light/Dark
    • Night/Day
      • All the motifs are opposites of one another.

14. Foreshadowing

  • Foreshadowing is the use of hints to suggest what will happen later in the story.
    • Shakespeare uses foreshadowing throughoutRomeo and Julietto provide clues about the fate of the characters in the play.