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10. William Shakespeare

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10. William Shakespeare profile: Common themes, gender, populism, use of villain/tragic hero, Macbeth state: A General Overview of Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice historical/social/literary context – 16th 17th century, renaissance – flourished art, centre of attention is a human, individual, revives ancient times - historical context – Venice one of the merchant cities, wealthy place, was Shakespeare ever in Venice? Setting accurate - Elizabethan era – Tudor architecture – highly supportive of Shakespeare -Globe and Elizabethan theatre – Globe was round with stage in the centre, inspired by ancient architecture, it burned down, partly open, he wanted for all the classes to have access - galleries for upper class, ground for lower classes - actors – entrance/exit – sometimes they started in the galleries then go to the stage – more lively - why he is considered the biggest figure in E literature? New words, phrases, idioms, fixed expressions – around 2 000 - combine comedy and tragedy - use of tragic hero – no matter how hard he tries he cannot escape from his fate - multitude of his work – 37 plays, more than 100 sonnets audience– the audience in a theatre of Elizabethan times was quite different from what it was today (all social classes would be present from the aristocracy to the urban poor)bastards–being illegitimate was a big thing in those days (in King Lear one of the main villains is Edward, a bastard, who questions whether human qualities are the result of parentage, destiny or choice and thereby questions the hereditary class system as it was at the time)comedies– some Shakespearian comedies were what we would see as a comedy today, plays such asComedy of Errors were farcical and played for laughs but the main definition of acomedy was that itended with a wedding, no matter what went on before whiletragediesend with a death or deaths of main characters (so the Merchant of Venice is quite dark but a comedy while Othello has funny scenes but is a tragedy) Development of the English Language Shakespeare’s vocabulary was over 30,000 words- considerably more than a highly educated English speaker todaythe first dictionary makers such asSamuel Johnson turned to Shakespeare while compiling their dictionaries so he is credited with coining over 2300 words and phrasesthese include many compound words such asbloodthirsty orinside-out or the creation of expressions out of existing words, adding suffixes or prefixes, changing word cases and so oneloquent (výmluvný) –he was very good at expressing himself, Shakespeare was not always the first to say what he said- even the plots of his plays were often borrowed- but he found ways to bring universal human experiences to life and make them seem new euphemism (indirect expression that replace words or phrases)Shakespeare seldom swore in his plays which was uncommon at the time but he was inventive with sexual references and insults often using euphemisms – see the rings in Merchant of Venice or the Porters speech in Macbeth foolsthe fool is court jester (the one character in King Lear who can get away with speaking the truth) generally its madmen or idiots are the ones who are used (along with Villains) to say the unsayable or satirise mainstream ideas (Launcelot in MoV) or Hamlet feigning (předstírající) madness Globe(the) Shakespeare’s theatre The theatre in those days was partly open air and going to the theatre was something like going to a football stadium to watch a film. This meant that the challenge for Shakespeare was to caterfor all the tastes of his audience. From here we get the phrase playing to the gallery, meaning to attempt to appear wonderful to all. (See populism for more examples) hero (tragic)a tragic hero is originallyfrom Greek theatre, in Shakespeare it means a great man with a fatal flaw which leads him to his eventual destruction (Macbeth and King Lear both start as good men but ambition and pride lead them on to a path which will destroy them – Macbeth is arguably a Villain but the model holds true even for him)imageryShakespeare is loaded withsymbolism,metaphor,simile andimagery. One common strand of imagery found in more than one play is theidea of life or existence as a stage and people as actors. This was sometimes used to explore the stages of life - the young lover, the old man. In Macbeth people are “poor players who strut and fret their hour upon the stage” and “life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” (in Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream we find the device of a play within a play- In Hamlet, the main character organizes a performance in order to provoke his uncle)iambic pentameterspeech in Shakespeare tends to have a certain poetic rhythm and word stress (especially when high born characters speak)jealousyShakespeare explored all the universal human emotions (jealousy is the driving force for King Leontes in The Winter’s Tale also Othello) CHARACTERS Portia – 3 caskets, game of chess, because of her father – only man who can marry her need to choose right casket will get dowry and her - motif – highly independent, self-conscious, but capricious/virtuous father – tight by her father –resentful obedience –vnitřně odmítá ale poslušnost – inside disagrees but loves her late father (zesnulý) - biggest heroine (hrdinka) na tu dobu – in Shakespeare, Shakespearian heroine – she outsmarts all the male characters, wicked, saves Antonio’s life – finding loop hole Katherine (the taming of the shrew) The Taming of the Shrew is a play about Katherine, a woman who does not wish to be married and aggressively attacks all suitors, and how she is “tamed” is forced to accept that marriage is the best thing for her. On the one hand the play crudely asserts that women are happier when the they know their place, on another it intelligently explores male female relationships, on another it is simply played for laughs, and on yet another it could be seen, to a certain extent, to satirise t

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