Shakespeare s England

Elizabeth s England, Elizabeth, The Tavern, Merry Old England, Holiday and Festivals, Plague and Death, Referat, Hausaufgabe, Shakespeare s England
Themengleiche Dokumente anzeigen


Shakespeare‘s England
Facts about Elizabeth‘s England (1558 – 1603)
Ø      At the time of Elizabeth I > about 5 million inhabitants
Ø      Four fifths of them lived in country as farmers
Ø      Land mainly consisted of forest, grass and fields
Ø      Wool had become main product
Ø      Country was rich in fruit of all kinds
Ø      Full of wild animals
Ø      Main food: meat and bread
The English inns
Ø      The best ones in Europe
Ø      Service > excellent; clean beds; heated rooms
Ø      People could order whatever kitchen and cellar might offer
Ø      à great security
Ø      Travel in Shakespeare‘s time was an adventure
à Included In Shakespeare‘s Henry IV, Part I
The Tavern
Ø      especially numerous in London
Ø      Place of recreation for townspeople (Englishmen’s club)
Ø      Mermaid` was the most famous of all London traverns (actors, poets, etc .. )
à Shakespeare mentioned the tavern in his sonnets / dramas
”Merry Old England
Ø      Dancing, music, poetry, theatres, sports and travels > expressions of joy people had
Ø      A lot of balls
à Romeo and Juliet met there for the first time
Ø      Most excellent music in Elizabeth’s England
à Shakespeare’s plays are full of lovely songs and many allusions to the Elizabethans´    love of music (‘Twelfth Night‘) 
à Today there are revival records of Elizabethan music
Holiday and Festivals
Ø      Christmas is the merriest, maddest time of the year
Ø      From December 25th until January 6th the population was in carnival mood
Ø      Carol – singers went from door to door
Bear – baiting
Ø      Popular amusement in England for many centuries
Ø      Bears were used for fights in arenas
Ø      Many people came to see the unbelievable cruelty
Ø      bears had to suffer a lot
Ø      Shakespeare refers to bear – baiting when Macbeth exclaims:
Ø      =>„They have tied me to a stake; I cannot fly,
But, bear – like, I must fight the course.“
Plague and Death
Ø      Death was no stranger to the Elizabethans
Ø      They got used to public executions
Ø      During the plague in 1593 / 1594 more than 10.000 persons died of it
Ø      Heaviest damage to human life was done by the plague
Ø      In the visitations of the plague the Elizabethans saw the working of an unknown power
Ø      Played a big role in the lives of the simple people
Ø      They believed in the existence of witches and ghosts as in the Middle Ages
à Their appearance in Shakespeare´s works was quite natural (example: Richard III and Hamlet‘s father)
à Macbeth: „They look not like the inhabitants of the earth.
And yet are on‘t.“
Ø      Also believed in fairies and elves
à Lovely creatures in human shape (Romeo & Juliet / A Midsummer Night‘s Dream)
Ø      Shakespeare’s conception of fairyland, though it is not quite the same as that of popular belief, has become traditional in English poetry
Ø      A life in Elizabeth‘s England was a life in many ways so different from our own
Ø      This life is reflected in his plays
à These conditions influenced Shakespeare´s work as a dramatist