Unit 2 English Renaissance British Literature Mrs. Wetzel 2013 Elizabethan Period English Renaissance also called Elizabethan Era Named for Queen Elizabeth I, ruled for 45 years Time of English Renaissance -expansion of British domination overseas -rising Nationalism and imperialism (until 20th c) -growth in arts and sciences -civil order enforced Elizabethan Period cont’d London grew 5x its medieval size Trade with Asia Increase in middle class -schools/education available for all Poetry Less narrative and more personal Sir Thomas Wyatt and Henry Howard Brought influence of Petrarchan sonnet 14 lines Octet and sestet Difficult to translate Sir Phillip Sydney introduced variation of sonnet Perfected by Shakespeare, called Shakespearean Pastoral Poetry Christopher Marlow Bucolic in subject matter Highly stylized with language Lyrical and emotional Focus on love and idealized country setting --Sir Walter Raleigh’s reply Sonnets Petrarchan (Milton does variations of these) Spenserian Shakespearean --all 14 lines --various rhyme schemes --all have twist/turning point --common themes of love and beauty Metaphysical Poets Comes later Appeals to mind not emotion Speculates about philosophy The poems are tightly woven with dense meaning Use of conceit, an extended metaphor John Donne, most prominent Often religious themes Language often colloquial Cavalier Poets Under the leadership of Stuarts, after Elizabeth Ben Jonson, literary leader of the time Robert Herrick, adopted the Roman carpe diem Hesperides poems Prose Development of the essay Dominant figures Bacon More Drama Flowered during the Elizabethan period Began as mini-plays in Latin Pope Urban 4th established Corpus Christi festivals Similar to Greek and Roman theatre although the Elizabethans knew little about them Shakespeare and Marlow dominant figures of time Drama cont’d Acting guilds developed 14th-16th centuries Morality plays progressed into ‘drama’ Professional acting troupes develop and theatres are built Tragedy Tragedy is literary term for drama with serious and important actions and often disastrous results for protagonist Aristotle defines as “serious actions complete in self” Catharsis: sympathetic reaction in audience has a purifying result Tragic flaw– what causes protagonist’s downfall, often hubris In Macbeth, we see influence of Senecan drama Involves revenge, murder, mutilation, and ghosts Elizabethan tragedy and tragic heroes Member of power class by birth, conquest, or usurpation More fully realized human, heightened powers and destiny Fate in combination of what others do and what he does Individualist Represents universal human kind Intelligent and sensitive Learns through suffering Isolated Shows personal courage in accepting death/defeat “Freytag Pyramid” for tragic structure Act 1– exposition Act 2– rising action Act 3– turning point Act 4– falling action Act 5– catastrophe The true story… Differences between play and history Knew little of 1044 Scotland in England 1606 Duncan I, king in 1034 after killing grandfather Macbeth kills Duncan and rules for 17 years 1057, Malcolm raised army with help of English and defeated Macbeth Shakespeare got his story from Holinshed Chronicles In the history books, Macbeth’s wife is hardly mentioned Macbeth, the play Written in 1606 Written for James I of England (who was James VI of Scotland) Scottish ancestry, descendent of Banquo-Fleance line Some question on the legitimacy of this claim Shakespeare polished the history for a more positive view Fascinated by witches/supernatural, after three women confessed to witchcraft to try to sink his ship– the women were burned Just after a plot to murder king, relevant theme Supports divine authority of king Macbeth, the play (cont’d) One of the last tragedies Shakespeare wrote An action-packed, psychological thriller Simple in plot structure: rise and fall of man Most complex and probing study of hero Weaves symbolism, imagery, and irony Written primarily in blank verse Addresses the self-defeating character of evil Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most compelling characters; this is one of his greatest tragedies. The question for you is WHY??????? Themes Things are not what they seem Blind ambition Power corrupts The power of superstition on human behavior What other themes do you see? Literary Devices Allusion– mythological and Biblical Figurative language– imagery, similes, metaphors, personification, alliteration Symbolism Foreshadowing Dramatic irony Ambiguity Lady Gruoch Macbeth What motivates her? Wants to deny her femininity Abuses husband What does her character reveal about Shakespeare’s belief of women? Historically she was married to Gillacomgain; Macbeth killed him, married her, and raised son Lulach The Witches Appropriate given interest in topic by James I In Shakespeare’s time many believed in witches Called “Weird Sisters” a reference to Holinshed’s Chronicles, but referred to as goddesses of fate Shakespeare presents them as typical witches Reminiscent of the three Fates of Greek myth and three Norns of Norse myth Instruments of darkness Manifestations of evil in the world Tempters… they appeal to what Macbeth wants to believe Symbols of the potential for evil in the human imagination A permanent feature of landscape; they are not defeated To think about as you read What makes this a tragedy? What makes Macbeth a tragic character/hero? Why does Macbeth do what he does? What role does Lady Macbeth (Gruoch) play? What psychological things are happening in play? What is the relationship between Macbeth and his wife? How are they alike? How are they different? Is humanity fundamentally amoral?