Shakespeare in Context


Oct 7 2006, 11:09 AM
I'm requiring my daughter to read two of Shakespeare's plays this year. Since my day is wide open, I decided I'd study up a bit on the Bard. The book I have offers Shakespeare in context so the reader can have that sort of thing going on in their mind while reading his works.
So far I have learned that during Shakespeare's time:
-> Most believed the earth was in the center of the universe (Ptolemy) up until around 1610, and so it was with Shakespeare and his contemporaries.
-> People believed in elements and humors and if a doctor thought a patient's humors were unbalanced (such as having an abundance of blood) then the patient was cut and bled to restore his balance.
-> Religion was still tumultuous at this time.
-> There were two social classes: the aristocrats and everyone else.
-> Pretty much -- women had no rights, no education, and no inheritance. The husband was 'KING' of the household.
-> Mortality was high as cleanliness in medical practices did not yet exist. There were two major bubonic plague outbreaks in Shakespeare's life.
-> London, at the time, was a crowded city with no sewer system. Crime was high, law enforcement was low and there was not enough street lighting. Despite that, it was the social heart of England. It was a bustling metropolis
-> Back then the theaters did not escape criticism or censorship. They were opposed by puritans who believed the theaters fostered immorality. Additionally, the "Master of the Revels" job was to read the play scripts and remove parts that were not politically or socially agreeable.
That's all for now I should get back to studying.

Oct 7 2006, 11:25 AM
Have you read about nosegays's and baths yet?
I always enjoyed the non-school stuff about Shakespeare.

Oct 7 2006, 12:40 PM
That's pretty good Donna......what book are you using?
Inquiring minds want to know.....

Oct 7 2006, 02:10 PM
DD is taking a Shakespeare class at co-op. They just finished "Julius Caesar" and are gearing up for "Hamlet". To go along with the plays, they use a text titled The Brightest Heaven of Invention.
The publishers they use have the play in the original text on one page & on the facing page are various notes. She found that very helpful. Oh, dd2 used Folger Shakespeare Library.
They do the same thing.
Oh, guess what?!!! The London Shakespeare Company is coming to the local university & we're going to see them perform the dress rehearsal (cheaper that way) of "Julius Caesar". Unfortunately this isn't the play that Patrick Stewart will be acting in.

Oct 7 2006, 04:37 PM
That is nice Trish! Even if it is not the Patrick Stewart one although-- it would be great to see Patrick Stewart on stage.
Roberta this particular book didn't go that deep into their 'cultured' state. (a pun)
Ginger, the one I am using at this moment is Cliff's Complete Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. I will dig information out of a few more books before I am finished.

Oct 7 2006, 04:46 PM
All is well that smells well...

Oct 8 2006, 12:48 PM
What plays are you reading Donna? My daughter and I reading Hamlet right now with 5 students we meet every other week and use the Mel Gibson movie after we read and review discussion questions. If anyone uses this movie be forewarned that it doesn't follow the play but jumps around quite a bit. I have to watch and synch up the parts that go with each act.
Here is a little trivia I learned at the Ink and Blood exhibit. Shakespeare's Bible was called the Geneva Bible. That is the Bible he would have used and learned from. Although the King James Bible was developed in his time this was not the one he would have been referencing.

Oct 8 2006, 01:33 PM
He also was probably familiar with the Bishop's Bible ['_Bible] (the cliff's book mentions the Bibles of the time). I've seen a facsimile of the Geneva Bible []. There is a facsimile of the 1560 edition of the Geneva Bible at our local university's library. I've looked at it.. they do not allow it to be checked out.
So far we are going to read Julius Caesar first (because I have it in this Cliff's edition which is the equivalent of Shakespeare for dummies). Then we will read Macbeth. I have others, but I doubt we will get to them.
I've not decided on movies yet however..
Throne of Blood [] (Kumonosu j

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