All the Shakespeare stuff

All the Shakespeare stuff

ALL THE SHAKESPEARE STUFF And some Macbeth stuff, too. Cultural Perspective Religion People were VERY religious; genuinely believed their souls would go either to Heaven or Hell. The moments leading up to your death could determine which (e.g.: a murderer who died while confessing his sins might go to heaven; a good person who died while committing a sin would go to hell). Angels and demons were considered realand demons/other beings associated with dark magic were considered a threat to ones soul.

Absolute Power of Kings They believed that God had chosen their ruler (king or queen) and given them absolute, and that only that rulers blood line should hold power. Therefore, overthrowing the king would be going against Gods wishes. Golden Chain/Order of the Universe The universe was organized with God at the very top, then Angels, then Man. This structure was present in other aspects of their society (e.g.: Government: King at the top, then nobles, then commoners; Family unit: father at the top, then wife, then child). Any disruption of the Golden Chain was a disruption of the order of the universe, so it was important that people knew their place (and stayed in it!). Why were plays so popular?

Most popular for of entertainment: provided the commoners with an escape from their own lives. Cheap; open to anyone. Full of drama, action, betrayals, love much like a soap opera, the various turns and twists were meant to keep the audience engaged. Shakespeare wrote 3 main types: Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Think about it: most of the population was poor and couldnt read, so books and expensive hobbies, like painting or playing music, were out of the question. Characteristics of a tragedy COMMON ELEMENTS: Tragic heros fall from grace; revenge (father for son/vice versa); ghosts of murdered

people; insanity; suicide; intrigue; murders on stage; mistakes; philosophic soliloquy; bloody showdown. TRAGIC HERO: Usually holds a high place in society (the higher they are, the harder they fall). Has a tragic flaw [HAMARTIA] that leads to their downfall. The HAMARTIA usually becomes monumental obsession. Shakespeare often uses the HAMARTIA to point out flaws in human nature/society (social criticism). FOIL CHARACTER: Reflects upon another character by displaying characteristics that are directly opposite. [foil under diamond for shine].

Characteristics of a tragedy (cont.) PERIPETEIA: Reversal of fortune. Protagonist begins to lose. (Part of the fall from grace.) Takes place from rising action through falling action. ANAGNORISIS: Enlightenment of protagonist. Moment of discovery. Ah-ha moment, when protagonist becomes aware of the extent of their downfall. Characteristics of the villain Villain(s) is generally either a VICE FIGURE or a STAGE MACHIAVEL VICE FIGURE:

Evolved from the Devil. (Older plays usually had 3 character: God, the Devil, and Man). The Vice Figure is a tempterhe is a hypocrite who masquerades as virtuous. Lures other characters away from good council & virtue. Hes the star of the show; comical. Loves evil for evils sake; needs no credible psychological motivation to be evil. STAGE MACHIAVEL: This character is also evil, but he has a motivationhe usually wants power, though it could be something else. The Stage Machiavel believes that the end justifies the means. They justify their evil acts because they have a purpose.

SOLILOQUY: Speech delivered by a character who is alone on stage. Reflects what he/she is feeling/thinking & is what he/she believes to be true. Soliloquies are meant to reveal the true thoughts of a ASIDE: A line said while other characters are onstage but is not intended to be heard by them.

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