High Renaissance in Northern Europe - Literature - William Shakespeare

7 important questions on High Renaissance in Northern Europe - Literature - William Shakespeare

Who do we mean when we talk about the greatest writer in the English language and when did he live?

William Shakespeare (1564-1616).

Which tribute about Shakespeare stands above the rest and who made it?

Shakespeares contemporary Ben Jonson said: "He is not for an age, but for all time."

What is an "iambic pentameter"?

A poetry writing style in which each verse line consists of ten syllables  with alternating stresses.
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What is the Elizabethan Age en when was this period?

The Elizabethan age was a time period in England, associated with the rule of Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603).

The drama of the Elizabethan Age hares features with Greek drama. Can you name them (tip: 3)?

  • Elizabethan dramatists wrote domestic tragedies, tragedies of character and revenge tragedies (Hamlet).
  • Also wrote comedies of humors and manners, which extended the range of earlier romantic and satiric comedies before the Elizabethan age.
  • In both theater, dialogue alone indicated changes of locale and time (few props and simple scenery).

The drama of the Elizabethan Age also has differences from Greek drama. What are the most apearant differences?

  • Elizabethan playhouses were much smaller which provided greater intimacy between actors and audience.
    • The smaller veneus made use of megaphonic masks and elevated shoes, as in ancient Greece, obsolete.
    • Elizabethan actors could make wider and more subtle use of facial expression and gesture.
  • An Elizabethan stage offered more versatility:
    • Having a second-level balcony (used in Orthello and Romeo and Juliet).
    • Having doors at the back for entrances & exits.
    • Having a curtained alcove useful for scenes of intrigue.
    • having a stage-floor trapdoor, used for ghost's entrance (Hamlet).

Shakespeare was a very versatile playwriter.
Can you tell some of his different genres and give examples with plays?

  • Plays with political astuteness:
    • Julius Ceasar.
    • Antony and Cleopatra.
  • Playful comedy:
    • As You Like It.
    • Much Ado About Nothing.
  • Tempered romance in his final plays:
    • The Tempest.
    • Romeo and Juliet.
    • Orthello.
  • (Revenge) tragedies:
    • Hamlet.

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