Romeo and Juliet William Shakespeare I. A Brief Biography II. The Globe theatre III. Themes, Motifs, and Symbols in Romeo and Juliet IV. Dramatic Terms Shakespeare: A Brief Biography • • Born in April 1564 at Stratford-on-Avon John Shakespeare (father) – tanner, glover, dealer in grain – town official (alderman, and later mayor) • Mary (mother) – daughter of Robert Arden, a prosperous gentlemanfarmer. Shakespeare: A Brief Biography • Married Anne Hathaway in 1582 • Three children born: Susanna, Judith, and Hamnet Shakespeare: A Brief Biography • By 1590, he was an actor and playwright • Leader of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men and the King’s Men • died April 23, 1616 Shakespeare: A Brief Biography • He was buried in Stratford; the inscription on his tombstone reads. . . Shakespeare: A Brief Biography “Good Friend, for Jesus’ sake, forbear To dig the dust enclosed here; Blest be the man that spares these stones And curst be he that moves my bones.” Shakespeare: A Brief Biography • • • • Author of 37 plays and 154 sonnets Robert Greene, a critic, attacked Shakespeare, a mere actor, for writing plays. He acted before Queen Elizabeth in 1594. The exact year in which William Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet is unknown, but it is definitely one of his earlier works, and one of only two tragedies written in the period from 1590 to 1595. Romeo and Juliet • Romeo and Juliet is as much about hate as love – Although Romeo and Juliet is considered one of the world’s greatest love stories, it can be argued that the love story is only a vehicle for the resolution of the story about hate, that is, the feud between the two families. Romeo and Juliet • The plot was based on a fourteenth-century Italian short story, or novella, written by Matteo Bandello, that included elements of history, tradition, romance, and fable. • A boy and a girl, from families who hate each other bitterly, fall in love, but everything goes wrong for them. Most of the play takes place in 'fair Verona' an attractive little city in the north of Italy. The action moves quickly from the city streets to the hall of old Capulet's house, then to the orchard below Juliet's balcony, to Friar Lawrences' lonely cell and finally to the vault. The play starts on a Sunday morning in the middle of July; less than five days later - just before dawn on the following Thursday - it is all over. Dramatis Personae ESCALUS prince of Verona. (PRINCE) PARIS a young nobleman, kinsman to the prince. MONTAGUE ,CAPULET , heads of two houses at variance with each other. An old man, cousin to Capulet. (Second Capulet) ROMEO son to Montague. MERCUTIO kinsman to the prince, and friend to Romeo. BENVOLIO nephew to Montague, and friend to Romeo. TYBALT nephew to Lady Capulet. FRIAR LAURENCE ,FRIAR JOHN , Franciscans. BALTHASAR servant to Romeo. SAMPSON ,GREGORY , servants to Capulet. PETER servant to Juliet's nurse. ABRAHAM servant to Montague. An Apothecary. (Apothecary) Three Musicians. (First Musician) (Second Musician) (Third Musician) Page to Paris; (PAGE) another Page; an officer. LADY MONTAGUE wife to Montague. LADY CAPULET wife to Capulet. JULIET daughter to Capulet. Nurse to Juliet. (Nurse) Citizens of Verona; several Men and Women, relations to both houses; Maskers, Guards, Watchmen, and Attendants. (First Citizen) (Servant) (First Servant) (Second Servant) (First Watchman) (Second Watchman) (Third Watchman) Chorus. SCENE Verona Mantua. The Globe Theatre • • He wrote his plays to be performed in the Globe theatre. The only account we have of the Globe is from a diary of a Swiss doctor who visited London and crossed the Thames River to see a play in a theatre with a thatched roof. The Globe Theatre • It was built in 1599 and burned down 14 years later in 1613. • It was an 8 sided building with a central yard. The Globe Theatre • Spectators’ price of admissions was – one penny - to stand in yard around stage (these were called the groundlings) – two pennies - to sit in 2nd and 3rd floor galleries – three pennies - to sit in the first floor galleries The Globe Theatre Stage – 1/3 of yard was filled with 6ft high platform – no curtain – no artificial lighting – back wall had at least two doors – balcony was used for hilltops, walls of cities, or second story scenes. – trapdoors were used to raise or lower actors and props. The Globe Theatre • Take a tour of the new Globe theatre. . . . Shakespeare's Globe Theatre Themes in Romeo and Juliet Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. Themes in Romeo and Juliet 1. The Forcefulness of Love • The most famous love story in the English literary tradition • Focus on romantic love • Love as overpowering force – Family – Friends Themes in Romeo and Juliet 2. What is love? – Religious – Magical - Madness - Chemicals in the Brain Themes in Romeo and Juliet 3. Love as a Cause of Violence • Hate, Violence, Death, Love? • Love is blinding. . . Themes in Romeo and Juliet 4. The Individual Versus Society • Romeo and Juliet against. . . – Family – Law – Religion – Honor Themes in Romeo and Juliet 5. The Inevitability of Fate • Straight path or series of crossroads? • “Star-crossed Lovers” • Feud • Series of Unfortunate Events • Bad Timing Other Themes: Family Conflict Civil Disorder and Violence Parenthood and the Generation Gap Youth and Old Age Religion Political Authority Death and Time Gender Roles Appearance vs. Reality Motifs in Romeo and Juliet Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, or literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text’s major themes. Motifs in Romeo and Juliet Light/Dark Imagery • Night/Day – Night = Good/Evil? – Day =Evil/Good? • Provides contrast, hints at alternatives Motifs in Romeo and Juliet Opposite Points of View • Mercutio’s POV • Servants’ POV – Nurse – Peter – Musicians Other Motifs: Death and Life Imagery Love and Hate Imagery Bird Imagery Sun / Moon / Stars Imag Hot (fire) and Cold Illness and Health Heaviness and Lightness Sight and Blindness Hearing and Deafness Severity and Vanity Weddingbed and Deathb Symbols in Romeo and Juliet Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts. Symbols in Romeo and Juliet Poison • “Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied, And vice, sometimes by action dignified.” • Tendency to “poison” things Symbols in Romeo and Juliet Thumb-biting • An insulting gesture • A juvenile, vulgar display • Meaningless – Foolishness of entire Montague/Capulet feud – Stupidity of violence in general Symbols in Romeo and Juliet Queen Mab • Brings dreams – Confirms vices: greed, lust, violence. • Is total nonsense – Fairy pulled by “grey-coated gnat” • Tiny, Insubstantial – Just like the dreams/desires/fantasies of people Shakespearian Drama Tragedy: A drama that ends in catastrophe—most often death—for the main character and often for several other important characters as well Tragic Hero: The main character, someone who is nobly born and has great influence in his or her society. This character has weakness or errors in judgment (Tragic Flaws) that lead to his or her downfall. Fate may play a role in the course that events take. Shakespearian Drama Comic Relief: A humorous scene, incident, or speech that relieves the overall emotional intensity in the play. Comic relief helps the audience absorb the tragic events in the plot of a play. Shakespearian Drama Allusion: A brief reference, within a work, to something outside the work that the reader or audience is expected to know. Many of Shakespeare’s allusions are to mythology or the Bible. Shakespearian Drama Foil: A character whose personality or attitudes are in sharp contrast to those of another character in the same work. This highlights the other character’s traits Shakespearian Drama Soliloquy and Aside: A Soliloquy is a speech made by an actor alone on stage to let the audience know what is on that character’s mind. An Aside is a character’s remark to the audience or to another character that others on stage aren’t supposed to hear. The purpose of an aside is to reveal that character’s thoughts. Shakespearian Drama Blank Verse: Unrhymed lines of iambic pentameter. Shakespeare wrote all of his plays in blank verse. Shakespearian Drama Example of Blank Verse ~ / ~ / ~ / ~ / ~ / But soft.|What light| through yon|der win|dow breaks? ~ / ~ / ~ / ~~ / ~ / It is| the east|, and Jul|iet is |the sun! Opening Discussion… 1. Do you believe in love at first sight? 2. What is true love? 3. What role should parents play in the relationships of their children? 4. What qualities do you look for in the opposite sex? 5. Are females more romantic than males, or is that a stereotype? 6. What are some advantages and disadvantages of being young? 7. What role does marriage play in society today? 8. Who or what controls what happens to people in life – destiny? fate? our own characters?