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My ebook done for an Italian Mooc

Spring 2016

All the world's a stage, and all the men and

women merely players: they have their exits
and their entrances; and one man in his time
plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.
From The Tempest

Introduction to the ebook

Why should we study the Bard?

Everybody knows about the sad story of Romeo and Juliet and the
great works by William Shakespeare. What do you know about him?
This ebook will take you into the world of William Shakespeare, his
life and works. He wrote poems, plays and was also an actor. You will
read The Tempest and watch a video based on this play. You will learn
about the society and the time in which the Bard lived.
Follow this book guide and you will get into the world of William
Shakespare: it is the world in which England became a powerful nation,
it is the world of Queen Elizabeth I. It is the world of the great changes
in the English Language.

William Shakespeare - Poet, Playwright
Shakespeare's First Folio
Elizabethan era - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Tempest: Entire Play
The Tempest - Full Play
View Shakespeare sonnets :|: Open Source Shakespeare

William Shakespeare - Poet, Playwright

William Shakespeare - Mini Biography (TV-14; 4:43) Though little is known

about William Shakespeare's personal life, his works such as "Hamlet,"
"Romeo and Juliet," and "King Lear," have influenced literature and theater
for over 400 years.

William Shakespeare was baptized on April 26, 1564, in Stratford-upon-Avon,
England. From roughly 1594 onward he was an important member of the
Lord Chamberlains Men company of theatrical players. Written records give
little indication of the way in which Shakespeares professional life molded
his artistry. All that can be deduced is that over the course of 20 years,
Shakespeare wrote plays that capture the complete range of human emotion
and conflict.

Mysterious Origins
Known throughout the world, the works of William Shakespeare have been
performed in countless hamlets, villages, cities and metropolises for more
than 400 years. And yet, the personal history of William Shakespeare is
somewhat a mystery. There are two primary sources that provide historians
with a basic outline of his life. One source is his workthe plays, poems and
sonnetsand the other is official documentation such as church and court
records. However, these only provide brief sketches of specific events in his
life and provide little on the person who experienced those events.

Early Life
Though no birth records exist, church records indicate that a William
Shakespeare was baptized at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon on
April 26, 1564. From this, it is believed he was born on or near April 23, 1564,
and this is the date scholars acknowledge as William Shakespeare's birthday.
Located 103 miles west of London, during Shakespeare's time Stratfordupon-Avon was a market town bisected with a country road and the River
Avon. William was the third child of John Shakespeare, a leather merchant,
and Mary Arden, a local landed heiress. William had two older sisters, Joan
and Judith, and three younger brothers, Gilbert, Richard and Edmund. Before
William's birth, his father became a successful merchant and held official
positions as alderman and bailiff, an office resembling a mayor. However,
records indicate John's fortunes declined sometime in the late 1570s.
Scant records exist of William's childhood, and virtually none regarding his
education. Scholars have surmised that he most likely attended the King's
New School, in Stratford, which taught reading, writing and the classics.
Being a public official's child, William would have undoubtedly qualified for
free tuition. But this uncertainty regarding his education has led some to
raise questions about the authorship of his work and even about whether or
not William Shakespeare ever existed.

Married Life
William Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway on November 28, 1582, in
Worcester, in Canterbury Province. Hathaway was from Shottery, a small

village a mile west of Stratford. William was 18 and Anne was 26, and, as it
turns out, pregnant. Their first child, a daughter they named Susanna, was
born on May 26, 1583. Two years later, on February 2, 1585, twins Hamnet
and Judith were born. Hamnet later died of unknown causes at age 11.
After the birth of the twins, there are seven years of William Shakespeare's
life where no records exist. Scholars call this period the "lost years," and
there is wide speculation on what he was doing during this period. One
theory is that he might have gone into hiding for poaching game from the
local landlord, Sir Thomas Lucy. Another possibility is that he might have
been working as an assistant schoolmaster in Lancashire. It is generally
believed he arrived in London in the mid- to late 1580s and may have found
work as a horse attendant at some of London's finer theaters, a scenario
updated centuries later by the countless aspiring actors and playwrights in
Hollywood and Broadway.

Theatrical Beginnings
By 1592, there is evidence William Shakespeare earned a living as an actor
and a playwright in London and possibly had several plays produced. The
September 20, 1592 edition of the Stationers' Register (a guild publication)
includes an article by London playwright Robert Greene that takes a few jabs
at William Shakespeare: "...There is an upstart Crow, beautified with our
feathers, that with his Tiger's heart wrapped in a Player's hide, supposes he
is as well able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you: and being an
absolute Johannes factotum, is in his own conceit the only Shake-scene in a
country," Greene wrote of Shakespeare.
Scholars differ on the interpretation of this criticism, but most agree that it
was Greene's way of saying Shakespeare was reaching above his rank, trying
to match better known and educated playwrights like Christopher Marlowe,
Thomas Nashe or Greene himself.
By the early 1590s, documents show William Shakespeare was a managing
partner in the Lord Chamberlain's Men, an acting company in London. After
the crowning of King James I, in 1603, the company changed its name to the
King's Men. From all accounts, the King's Men company was very popular,
and records show that Shakespeare had works published and sold as popular
literature. The theater culture in 16th century England was not highly
admired by people of high rank. However, many of the nobility were good
patrons of the performing arts and friends of the actors. Early in his career,
Shakespeare was able to attract the attention of Henry Wriothesley, the Earl
of Southampton, to whom he dedicated his first- and second-published
poems: "Venus and Adonis" (1593) and "The Rape of Lucrece" (1594).

Establishing Himself
By 1597, 15 of the 37 plays written by William Shakespeare were published.
Civil records show that at this time he purchased the second largest house in
Stratford, called New House, for his family. It was a four-day ride by horse
from Stratford to London, so it is believed that Shakespeare spent most of his
time in the city writing and acting and came home once a year during the
40-day Lenten period, when the theaters were closed.
By 1599, William Shakespeare and his business partners built their own
theater on the south bank of the Thames River, which they called the Globe.
In 1605, Shakespeare purchased leases of real estate near Stratford for 440
pounds, which doubled in value and earned him 60 pounds a year. This made
him an entrepreneur as well as an artist, and scholars believe these
investments gave him the time to write his plays uninterrupted.

Writing Style
William Shakespeare's early plays were written in the conventional style of
the day, with elaborate metaphors and rhetorical phrases that didn't always
align naturally with the story's plot or characters. However, Shakespeare was
very innovative, adapting the traditional style to his own purposes and
creating a freer flow of words. With only small degrees of variation,
Shakespeare primarily used a metrical pattern consisting of lines of
unrhymed iambic pentameter, or blank verse, to compose his plays. At the
same time, there are passages in all the plays that deviate from this and use
forms of poetry or simple prose.

Early Works: Histories and Comedies

With the exception of Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare's first plays
were mostly histories written in the early 1590s. Richard II, Henry VI (parts 1,
2 and 3) and Henry V dramatize the destructive results of weak or corrupt
rulers, and have been interpreted by drama historians as Shakespeare's way
of justifying the origins of the Tudor Dynasty.
Shakespeare also wrote several comedies during his early period: the witty
romance A Midsummer Night's Dream, the romantic Merchant of Venice, the
wit and wordplay of Much Ado About Nothing, the charming As You Like It
and Twelfth Night. Other plays, possibly written before 1600, include Titus
Andronicus, The Comedy of Errors, The Taming of the Shrew and The Two
Gentlemen of Verona.

Later Works: Tragedies and Tragicomedies

It was in William Shakespeare's later period, after 1600, that he wrote the
tragedies Hamlet, King Lear, Othello and Macbeth. In these, Shakespeare's
characters present vivid impressions of human temperament that are
timeless and universal. Possibly the best known of these plays is Hamlet,
which explores betrayal, retribution, incest and moral failure. These moral
failures often drive the twists and turns of Shakespeare's plots, destroying
the hero and those he loves.
In William Shakespeare's final period, he wrote several tragicomedies.
Among these are Cymbeline, The Winter's Tale and The Tempest. Though
graver in tone than the comedies, they are not the dark tragedies of King
Lear or Macbeth because they end with reconciliation and forgiveness.

Tradition has it that William Shakespeare died on his birthday, April 23, 1616,
though many scholars believe this is a myth. Church records show he was
interred at Trinity Church on April 25, 1616.
In his will, he left the bulk of his possessions to his eldest daughter, Susanna.
Though entitled to a third of his estate, little seems to have gone to his wife,
Anne, whom he bequeathed his "second-best bed." This has drawn
speculation that she had fallen out of favor, or that the couple was not close.
However, there is very little evidence the two had a difficult marriage. Other
scholars note that the term "second-best bed" often refers to the bed
belonging to the household's master and mistresthe marital bedand the
"first-best bed" was reserved for guests.

Controversy and Literary Legacy

About 150 years after his death, questions arose about the authorship of
William Shakespeare's plays. Scholars and literary critics began to float
names like Christopher Marlowe, Edward de Vere and Francis Baconmen of
more known backgrounds, literary accreditation, or inspirationas the true
authors of the plays. Much of this stemmed from the sketchy details of
Shakespeare's life and the dearth of contemporary primary sources. Official
records from the Holy Trinity Church and the Stratford government record the
existence of a William Shakespeare, but none of these attest to him being an
actor or playwright.
Skeptics also questioned how anyone of such modest education could write
with the intellectual perceptiveness and poetic power that is displayed in

Shakespeare's works. Over the centuries, several groups have emerged that
question the authorship of Shakespeare's plays.
The most serious and intense skepticism began in the 19th century when
adoration for Shakespeare was at its highest. The detractors believed that
the only hard evidence surrounding William Shakespeare from Stratfordupon-Avon described a man from modest beginnings who married young and
became successful in real estate. Members of the Shakespeare Oxford
Society (founded in 1957) put forth arguments that English aristocrat Edward
de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, was the true author of the poems and plays
of "William Shakespeare." The Oxfordians cite de Vere's extensive knowledge
of aristocratic society, his education, and the structural similarities between
his poetry and that found in the works attributed to Shakespeare. They
contend that William Shakespeare had neither the education nor the literary
training to write such eloquent prose and create such rich characters.
However, the vast majority of Shakespearean scholars contend that William
Shakespeare wrote all his own plays. They point out that other playwrights of
the time also had sketchy histories and came from modest backgrounds.
They contend that Stratford's New Grammar School curriculum of Latin and
the classics could have provided a good foundation for literary writers.
Supporters of Shakespeare's authorship argue that the lack of evidence
about Shakespeare's life doesn't mean his life didn't exist. They point to
evidence that displays his name on the title pages of published poems and
plays. Examples exist of authors and critics of the time acknowledging
William Shakespeare as author of plays such as The Two Gentlemen of
Verona, The Comedy of Errors and King John. Royal records from 1601 show
that William Shakespeare was recognized as a member of the King's Men
theater company (formerly known as the Chamberlain's Men) and a Groom of
the Chamber by the court of King James I, where the company performed
seven of Shakespeare's plays. There is also strong circumstantial evidence of
personal relationships by contemporaries who interacted with Shakespeare
as an actor and a playwright.
What seems to be true is that William Shakespeare was a respected man of
the dramatic arts who wrote plays and acted in some in the late 16th and
early 17th centuries. But his reputation as a dramatic genius wasn't
recognized until the 19th century. Beginning with the Romantic period of the
early 1800s and continuing through the Victorian period, acclaim and
reverence for William Shakespeare and his work reached its height. In the
20th century, new movements in scholarship and performance have
rediscovered and adopted his works.
Today, his plays are highly popular and constantly studied and reinterpreted
in performances with diverse cultural and political contexts. The genius of

Shakespeare's characters and plots are that they present real human beings
in a wide range of emotions and conflicts that transcend their origins in
Elizabethan England.

William Shakespeare - The Life of the Bard (TV-14; 1:16) William
Shakespeare is one of the most well known and influential playwrights of our
time, yet little is known about his childhood. Discover how Shakespeare
became the bard the world knows today.

William Shakespeare - Mini Biography (TV-14; 4:43) Though little is known

about William Shakespeare's personal life, his works such as "Hamlet,"
"Romeo and Juliet," and "King Lear," have influenced literature and theater
for over 400 years.

Related Videos

Alan Cumming - Macbeth (TV-PG; 3:40) An inside look at Alan Cumming's

one man version of William Shakespeare's "Macbeth". Video courtesy of
Simon & Schuster.

Christopher Marlowe - Mini Biography (TV-PG; 4:13) During Christopher

Marlowe's short career, he produced one of the most controversial and wellknown plays of all time, "Doctor Faustus." The truth behind his sudden death
still remains suspicious and unresolved.

Think about what you have read online and

now write a short article in English about the
Bard and his life. What are the main features
of his life? Why do we study him in the XXI

Shakespeare's First Folio

View images from this item (18)

The First Folio is the first collected edition of William Shakespeare's plays,
collated and published in 1623, seven years after his death. Folio editions
were large and expensive books that were seen as prestige items.
The first record of Shakespeare's career as an actor and playwright in London
is dated 1592, by which time he was reasonably well established. It is
believed his London career began sometime between 1585 and 1592.
He wrote around 37 plays, 36 of which are contained in the First Folio. Most
of these plays were performed in the Globe, an open-air playhouse in London
built on the south bank of the Thames in 1599. As none of Shakespeare's
original manuscripts survive (except, possibly, Sir Thomas More, which
Shakespeare is believed to have revised a part of) we only know his work
from printed editions.
Of the 36 plays in the First Folio, 17 were printed in Shakespeare's lifetime in
various good and bad quarto editions, one was printed after his death and 18
had not yet been printed at all. It is this fact that makes the First Folio so
important; without it, 18 of Shakespeares plays, including Twelfth Night,
Measure for Measure, Macbeth, Julius Caesar and The Tempest, might never
have survived.
The text was collated by two of Shakespeare's fellow actors and friends, John
Heminge and Henry Condell, who edited it and supervised the printing. They
divided the plays into comedies, tragedies and histories, an editorial decision
that has come to shape our idea of the Shakespearean canon.
In order to produce as authoritative a text as possible, Heminge and Condell
compiled it from the good quartos and from manuscripts (now lost) such as
prompt books, authorial fair copy, and foul papers (working drafts). The First

Folio offered a corrective to what are now called bad quartos spurious and
corrupt pirate editions, likely based on memorial reconstruction.
The portrait of Shakespeare on the title page was engraved by Martin
Droeshout and is one of only two portraits with any claim to authenticity. As
Droeshout would have only been 15 when Shakespeare died it is unlikely that
they actually met. Instead his picture was probably drawn from the memory
of others, or from an earlier portrait. The writer Ben Jonson's admiring
introduction to the First Folio, seen in the title page image, declared in verse
that the engraver had achieved a good likeness.
This particular copy of the First Folio is part of the British Librarys Grenville
collection and is one of the most widely seen First Folios in the world. It is
estimated around 750 First Folios were printed, of which 233 are currently
known to survive worldwide. The British Library owns five.
Full title:
Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies
1623, London
William Shakespeare
Held by:
British Library
Usage terms:
Public Domain

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Elizabethan era - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Elizabethan era is the epoch in English history marked by the reign of
Queen Elizabeth I (15581603). Historians often depict it as the golden age
in English history. The symbol of Britannia was first used in 1572, and often
thereafter, to mark the Elizabethan age as a renaissance that inspired
national pride through classical ideals, international expansion, and naval
triumph over the Spanish at the time, a rival kingdom much hated by the
people of the land. In terms of the entire century, the historian John Guy
(1988) argues that "England was economically healthier, more expansive,
and more optimistic under the Tudors" than at any time in a thousand years.
This "golden age" represented the apogee of the English Renaissance and
saw the flowering of poetry, music and literature. The era is most famous for
theatre, as William Shakespeare and many others composed plays that broke
free of England's past style of theatre. It was an age of exploration and
expansion abroad, while back at home, the Protestant Reformation became
more acceptable to the people, most certainly after the Spanish Armada was
repulsed. It was also the end of the period when England was a separate
realm before its royal union with Scotland.
The Elizabethan Age may be viewed especially highly when considered in
light of the failings of the periods preceding Elizabeth's reign and those
which followed. It was a brief period of internal peace between the English
Reformation and the religious battles between Protestants and Catholics and
then the political battles between parliament and the monarchy that
engulfed the remainder of the seventeenth century. The Protestant/Catholic
divide was settled, for a time, by the Elizabethan Religious Settlement, and
parliament was not yet strong enough to challenge royal absolutism.
England was also well-off compared to the other nations of Europe. The
Italian Renaissance had come to an end under the weight of Spanish
domination of the peninsula. France was embroiled in its own religious
battles due to significant Spanish intervention, that would only be settled in
1598 with the Edict of Nantes. In part because of this, but also because the
English had been expelled from their last outposts on the continent by
Spain's tercios, the centuries-long conflict between France and England was
largely suspended for most of Elizabeth's reign.

The one great rival was Spain, with which England clashed both in Europe
and the Americas in skirmishes that exploded into the Anglo-Spanish War of
15851604. An attempt by Philip II of Spain to invade England with the
Spanish Armada in 1588 was famously defeated, but the tide of war turned
against England with an unsuccessful expedition to Portugal and the Azores,
the Drake-Norris Expedition of 1589. Thereafter, Spain provided some
support for Irish Catholics in a debilitating rebellion against English rule, and
Spanish naval and land forces inflicted a series of reversals against English
offensives. This drained both the English Exchequer and economy that had
been so carefully restored under Elizabeth's prudent guidance. English
commercial and territorial expansion would be limited until the signing of the
Treaty of London the year following Elizabeth's death.
England during this period had a centralised, well-organised, and effective
government, largely a result of the reforms of Henry VII and Henry VIII, as
well as Elizabeth's harsh punishments for any dissenters. Economically, the
country began to benefit greatly from the new era of trans-Atlantic trade,
persistent theft of Spanish treasure, and the African slave trade.

The National Armada memorial in Plymouth using the Britannia image to

celebrate the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 (William Charles May,
sculptor, 1888)
Elizabeth ushers in Peace and Plenty. Detail from The Family of Henry
VIII: An Allegory of the Tudor Succession, c. 1572, attributed to Lucas de
The Victorian era and the early 20th century idealised the Elizabethan era.
The Encyclopdia Britannica maintains that "[T]he long reign of Elizabeth I,
15581603, was England's Golden Age... 'Merry England', in love with life,
expressed itself in music and literature, in architecture and in adventurous
seafaring". This idealising tendency was shared by Britain and an Anglophilic
America. In popular culture, the image of those adventurous Elizabethan
seafarers was embodied in the films of Errol Flynn.
In response and reaction to this hyperbole, modern historians and
biographers have tended to take a more dispassionate view of the Tudor

Elizabethan England was not particularly successful in a military sense
during the period, but it avoided major defeats and built up a powerful navy.

On balance, it can be said that Elizabeth provided the country with a long
period of general if not total peace and generally increasing prosperity due in
large part to stealing from Spanish treasure ships, raiding settlements with
low defenses, and selling African slaves. Having inherited a virtually bankrupt
state from previous reigns, her frugal policies restored fiscal responsibility.
Her fiscal restraint cleared the regime of debt by 1574, and ten years later
the Crown enjoyed a surplus of 300,000. Economically, Sir Thomas
Gresham's founding of the Royal Exchange (1565), the first stock exchange
in England and one of the earliest in Europe, proved to be a development of
the first importance, for the economic development of England and soon for
the world as a whole. With taxes lower than other European countries of the
period, the economy expanded; though the wealth was distributed with wild
unevenness, there was clearly more wealth to go around at the end of
Elizabeth's reign than at the beginning. This general peace and prosperity
allowed the attractive developments that "Golden Age" advocates have

Plots, intrigues and conspiracies

The Elizabethan Age was also an age of plots and conspiracies, frequently
political in nature, and often involving the highest levels of Elizabethan
society. High officials in Madrid, Paris and Rome sought to kill Elizabeth, a
Protestant, and replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots, a Catholic. That would
be a prelude to the religious recovery of England for Catholicism. In 1570,
the Ridolfi plot was thwarted. In 1584, the Throckmorton Plot was
discovered, after Francis Throckmorton confessed his involvement in a plot to
overthrow the Queen and restore the Catholic Church in England. Another
major conspiracy was the Babington Plot the event which most directly led
to Mary's execution, the discovery of which involved a double agent, Gilbert
Gifford, acting under the direction of Francis Walsingham, the Queen's highly
effective spy master.
The Essex Rebellion of 1601 has a dramatic element, as just before the
uprising, supporters of the Earl of Essex, among them Charles and Joscelyn
Percy (younger brothers of the Earl of Northumberland), paid for a
performance of Richard II at the Globe Theatre, apparently with the goal of
stirring public ill will towards the monarchy. It was reported at the trial of
Essex by Chamberlain's Men actor Augustine Phillips, that the conspirators
paid the company forty shillings "above the ordinary" (i. e., above their usual
rate) to stage the play, which the players felt was too old and "out of use" to
attract a large audience.
In the Bye Plot of 1603, two Catholic priests planned to kidnap King James
and hold him in the Tower of London until he agreed to be more tolerant
towards Catholics. Most dramatic was the 1605 Gunpowder Plot to blow up

the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament. It was discovered
in time with eight conspirators executed, including Guy Fawkes, who became
the iconic evil traitor in English lore.

Royal Navy and defeat of the Armada

The Spanish Armada fighting the English navy at the Battle of Gravelines in
While Henry VIII had launched the Royal Navy, Edward and Mary had ignored
it and it was little more than a system of coastal defense. Elizabeth made
naval strength a high priority. She risked war with Spain by supporting the
"Sea Dogs", such as John Hawkins and Francis Drake, who preyed on the
Spanish merchant ships carrying gold and silver from the New World. The
Navy yards were leaders in technical innovation, and the captains devised
new tactics. Parker (1996) argues that the full-rigged ship was one of the
greatest technological advances of the century and permanently
transformed naval warfare. In 1573 English shipwrights introduced designs,
first demonstrated in the "Dreadnaught", that allowed the ships to sail faster
and maneuver better and permitted heavier guns. Whereas before warships
had tried to grapple with each other so that soldiers could board the enemy
ship, now they stood off and fired broadsides that would sink the enemy
vessel. When Spain finally decided to invade and conquer England it was a
fiasco. Superior English ships and seamanship foiled the invasion and led to
the destruction of the Spanish Armada in 1588, marking the high point of
Elizabeth's reign. Technically, the Armada failed because Spain's overcomplex strategy required coordination between the invasion fleet and the
Spanish army on shore. Also, the poor design of the Spanish cannons meant
they were much slower in reloading in a close-range battle. Spain and France
still had stronger fleets, but England was catching up.
Parker has speculated on the dire consequences if the Spanish had landed
their invasion army in 1588. He argues that the Spanish army was larger,
more experienced, better-equipped, more confident, and had better
financing. The English defenses, on the other hand, were thin and outdated;
England had too few soldiers and they were at best only partially trained.
Spain had chosen England's weakest link and probably could have captured
London in a week. Parker adds that a Catholic uprising in the north and in
Ireland could have brought total defeat.

Colonising the New World

Main article: English colonial empire

The discoveries of Christopher Columbus electrified all of western Europe,

especially maritime powers like England. King Henry VII commissioned John
Cabot to lead a voyage to find a northern route to the Spice Islands of Asia;
this began the search for the North West Passage. Cabot sailed in 1497 and
reached Newfoundland. He led another voyage to the Americas the following
year, but nothing was heard of him or his ships again.
In 1562 Elizabeth sent privateers Hawkins and Drake to seize booty from
Spanish and Portuguese ships off the coast of West Africa. When the AngloSpanish Wars intensified after 1585, Elizabeth approved further raids against
Spanish ports in the Americas and against shipping returning to Europe with
treasure. Meanwhile, the influential writers Richard Hakluyt and John Dee
were beginning to press for the establishment of England's own overseas
empire. Spain was well established in the Americas, while Portugal, in union
with Spain from 1580, had an ambitious global empire in Africa, Asia and
South America. France was exploring North America. England was stimulated
to create its own colonies, with an emphasis on the West Indies rather than
in North America.
Martin Frobisher landed at Frobisher Bay on Baffin Island in August 1576; He
returned in 1577, claiming it in Queen Elizabeth's name, and in a third
voyage tried but failed to found a settlement in Frobisher Bay.

Sir Francis Drake

From 1577 to 1580, Sir Francis Drake circumnavigated the globe. Combined
with his daring raids against the Spanish and his great victory over them at
Cadiz in 1587, he became a famous herohis exploits are still celebrated
but England did not follow up on his claims. In 1583, Humphrey Gilbert sailed
to Newfoundland, taking possession of the harbour of St John's together with
all land within two hundred leagues to the north and south of it.
In 1584, the queen granted Sir Walter Raleigh a charter for the colonisation
of Virginia; it was named in her honour. Raleigh and Elizabeth sought both
immediate riches and a base for privateers to raid the Spanish treasure
fleets. Raleigh sent others to found the Roanoke Colony; it remains a mystery
why the settlers all disappeared. In 1600, the queen chartered the East India
Company. It established trading posts, which in later centuries evolved into
British India, on the coasts of what is now India and Bangladesh. Larger scale
colonisation began shortly after Elizabeth's death.

England in this era had some positive aspects that set it apart from
contemporaneous continental European societies. Torture was rare, since the
English legal system reserved torture only for capital crimes like treason
though forms of corporal punishment, some of them extreme, were
practised. The persecution of witches began in 1563, and hundreds were
executed, although there was nothing like the frenzy on the Continent Mary
had tried her hand at an aggressive anti-Protestant Inquisition and was hated
for it; it was not to be repeated.

Elizabeth managed to moderate and quell the intense religious passions of
the time. This was in significant contrast to previous and succeeding eras of
marked religious violence.
Elizabeth said "I have no desire to make windows into mens' souls". Her
desire to moderate the religious persecutions of previous Tudor reigns the
persecution of Catholics under Edward VI, and of Protestants under Mary I
appears to have had a moderating effect on English society. Elizabeth
reinstated the Protestant bible and English Mass, yet for a number of years
refrained from persecuting Catholics.
In 1570, Pope Pius V declared Elizabeth a heretic who was not the legitimate
Queen and her subjects no longer owed her obedience. The pope sent Jesuits
and seminarians to secretly evangelize and support Catholics. After several
plots to overthrow her, Catholic clergy were mostly considered to be traitors,
and were pursued aggressively in England. Often priests were tortured or
executed after capture unless they cooperated with the English authorities.
People who publicly supported Catholicism were excluded from the
professions; sometimes fined or imprisoned.

Science, technology and exploration

Francis Bacon, pioneer of modern scientific thought.
Lacking a dominant genius or a formal structure for research (the following
century had both Sir Isaac Newton and the Royal Society), the Elizabethan
era nonetheless saw significant scientific progress. The astronomers Thomas
Digges and Thomas Harriot made important contributions; William Gilbert
published his seminal study of magnetism, De Magnete, in 1600. Substantial

advancements were made in the fields of cartography and surveying. The

eccentric but influential John Dee also merits mention.
Much of this scientific and technological progress related to the practical skill
of navigation. English achievements in exploration were noteworthy in the
Elizabethan era. Sir Francis Drake circumnavigated the globe between 1577
and 1581, and Martin Frobisher explored the Arctic. The first attempt at
English settlement of the eastern seaboard of North America occurred in this
erathe abortive colony at Roanoke Island in 1587.
While Elizabethan England is not thought of as an age of technological
innovation, some progress did occur. In 1564 Guilliam Boonen came from the
Netherlands to be Queen Elizabeth's first coach-builder thus introducing
the new European invention of the spring-suspension coach to England, as a
replacement for the litters and carts of an earlier transportation mode.
Coaches quickly became as fashionable as sports cars in a later century;
social critics, especially Puritan commentators, noted the "diverse great
ladies" who rode "up and down the countryside" in their new coaches.

Education would begin at home, where children were taught the basic
etiquette of proper manners and respecting others. It was necessary for boys
to attend grammar school, but girls were rarely allowed in any place of
education other than petty schools, and then only with a restricted
curriculum. Petty schools were for all children aged from 5 to 7 years of age.
Only the most wealthy people allowed their daughters to be taught, and only
at home. During this time, endowed schooling became available. This meant
that even boys of very poor families were able to attend school if they were
not needed to work at home, but only in a few localities were funds available
to provide support as well as the necessary education scholarship. Boys from
families of nobility would often be taught at home by a private tutor.

The Procession Picture, c. 1600, showing Elizabeth I borne along by her
While the Tudor era presents an abundance of material on the women of the
nobilityespecially royal wives and queenshistorians have recovered scant
documentation about the average lives of women. There has, however, been
extensive statistical analysis of demographic and population data which
includes women, especially in their childbearing roles.

The role of women in society was, for the historical era, relatively
unconstrained; Spanish and Italian visitors to England commented regularly,
and sometimes caustically, on the freedom that women enjoyed in England,
in contrast to their home cultures. England had more well-educated upper
class women than was common anywhere in Europe.
The Queen's marital status was a major political and diplomatic topic. It also
entered into the popular culture. Elizabeth's unmarried status inspired a cult
of virginity. In poetry and portraiture, she was depicted as a virgin or a
goddess or both, not as a normal woman. Elizabeth made a virtue of her
virginity: in 1559, she told the Commons, "And, in the end, this shall be for
me sufficient, that a marble stone shall declare that a queen, having reigned
such a time, lived and died a virgin". Public tributes to the Virgin by 1578
acted as a coded assertion of opposition to the queen's marriage
negotiations with the Duc d'Alenon.
In contrast to her father's emphasis on masculinity and physical prowess,
Elizabeth emphasized the maternalism theme, saying often that she was
married to her kingdom and subjects. She explained "I keep the good will of
all my husbands my good people for if they did not rest assured of
some special love towards them, they would not readily yield me such good
obedience," and promised in 1563 they would never have a more natural
mother than she. Coch (1996) argues that her figurative motherhood played
a central role in her complex self-representation, shaping and legitimating
the personal rule of a divinely appointed female prince.

Over ninety percent of English women (and adults, in general) entered
marriage at the end of the 1500s and beginning of the 1600s, at an average
age of about 2526 years for the bride and 2728 years for the groom.
Among the nobility and gentry, the average was around 19-21 for brides and
24-26 for grooms. Many city and townswomen married for the first time in
their thirties and forties and it was not unusual for orphaned young women
to delay marriage until the late twenties or early thirties to help support their
younger siblings, and roughly a fourth of all English brides were pregnant at
their weddings.

England's food supply was plentiful throughout most of the reign; there were
no famines. Bad harvests caused distress, but they were usually localized.
The most widespread came in 155557 and 159698. In the towns the price
of staples was fixed by law; in hard times the size of the loaf of bread sold by
the baker was smaller.

The poor consumed a diet largely of bread, cheese, milk, and beer, with
small portions of meat, fish and vegetables, and occasionally some fruit.
Potatoes were just arriving at the end of the period, and became increasingly
important. The typical poor farmer sold his best products on the market,
keeping the cheap food for the family. Stale bread could be used to make
bread puddings, and bread crumbs served to thicken soups, stews, and
sauces. At a somewhat higher social level families ate an enormous variety
of meats, especially beef, mutton, veal, lamb, and pork, as well as chickens,
and ducks. The holiday goose was a special treat. Many rural folk and some
townspeople tended a small garden which produced vegetables such as
asparagus, cucumbers, spinach, lettuce, beans, cabbage, carrots, leeks, and
peas, as well as medicinal and flavoring herbs. Some grew their own
apricots, grapes, berries, apples, pears, plums, currants, and cherries.
Families without a garden could trade with their neighbors to obtain
vegetables and fruits at low cost.
England was exposed to new foods (such as the potato imported from South
America), and developed new tastes during the era. The more prosperous
enjoyed a wide variety of food and drink, including exotic new drinks such as
tea, coffee, and chocolate. French and Italian chefs appeared in the country
houses and palaces bringing new standards of food preparation and taste.
For example, the English developed a taste for acidic foodssuch as oranges
for the upper classand started to use vinegar heavily. The gentry paid
increasing attention to their gardens, with new fruits, vegetables and herbs;
pasta, pastries, and dried mustard balls first appeared on the table. The
apricot was a special treat at fancy banquets. Roast beef remained a staple
for those who could afford it. The rest ate a great deal of bread and fish.
Every class had a taste for beer and rum.
At the rich end of the scale the manor houses and palaces were awash with
large, elaborately prepared meals, usually for many people and often
accompanied by entertainment. The upper classes often celebrated religious
festivals, weddings, alliances and the whims of the king or queen. Feasts
were commonly used to commemorate the "procession" of the crowned
heads of state in the summer months, when the king or queen would travel
through a circuit of other nobles' lands both to avoid the plague season of
London, and alleviate the royal coffers, often drained through the winter to
provide for the needs of the royal family and court. This would include a few
days or even a week of feasting in each noble's home, who depending on his
or her production and display of fashion, generosity and entertainment, could
have his way made in court and elevate his or her status for months or even
Special courses after a feast or dinner which often involved a special room or
outdoor gazebo (sometimes known as a folly) with a central table set with

dainties of "medicinal" value to help with digestion. These would include

wafers, comfits of sugar-spun anise or other spices, jellies and marmalades
(a firmer variety than we are used to, these would be more similar to our
gelatin jigglers), candied fruits, spiced nuts and other such niceties. These
would be eaten while standing and drinking warm, spiced wines (known as
hypocras) or other drinks known to aid in digestion. One must remember that
sugar in the Middle Ages or Early Modern Period was often considered
medicinal, and used heavily in such things. This was not a course of
pleasure, though it could be as everything was a treat, but one of healthful
eating and abetting the digestive capabilities of the body. It also, of course,
allowed those standing to show off their gorgeous new clothes and the
holders of the dinner and banquet to show off the wealth of their estate,
what with having a special room just for banqueting.

High culture

A reconstruction of the Globe Theatre in London, originally built in 1599 and

used by Shakespeare
Main article: English Renaissance theatre
With William Shakespeare at his peak, as well as Christopher Marlowe and
many other playwrights, actors and theatres constantly busy, the high
culture of the Elizabethan Renaissance was best expressed in its theatre.
Historical topics were especially popular, not to mention the usual comedies
and tragedies.

Main article: Music in the Elizabethan era
Travelling musicians were in great demand at Court, in churches, at country
houses, and at local festivals. Important composers included William Byrd
(15431623), John Dowland (15631626) Thomas Campion (15671620), and
Robert Johnson (c. 1583c. 1634). The composers were commissioned by
church and Court, and deployed two main styles, madrigal and ayre. The
popular culture showed a strong interest in folk songs and ballads (folk songs
that tell a story). It became the fashion in the late 19th century to collect and
sing the old songs.

Fine arts

Main articles: Portraiture of Elizabeth I and Artists of the Tudor court

It has often been said that the Renaissance came late to England, in contrast
to Italy and the other states of continental Europe; the fine arts in England
during the Tudor and Stuart eras were dominated by foreign and imported
talentfrom Hans Holbein the Younger under Henry VIII to Anthony van Dyck
under Charles I. Yet within this general trend, a native school of painting was
developing. In Elizabeth's reign, Nicholas Hilliard, the Queen's "limner and
goldsmith," is the most widely recognized figure in this native development;
but George Gower has begun to attract greater notice and appreciation as
knowledge of him and his art and career has improved.

Popular culture
Sports and entertainment
Main article: Elizabethan leisure
There were many different types of Elizabethan sports and entertainment:
The Annual Summer Fair and other seasonal fairs such as May Day were
often bawdy affairs.
Started as plays enacted in town squares followed by the actors using
the courtyards of taverns or inns (referred to as Inn-yards) followed by
the first theatres (great open air amphitheatres and then the
introduction of indoor theatres called Playhouses.)
Miracle Plays
Re-enactments of stories from the Bible. These are derived from the
ancient Briton custom of Mystery Plays, in which stories and fables were
enacted to teach lessons or educate about life in general. Miracle plays
included stories from all ecclesiastic literature, from the Bible to the
everyday psaltery or prayerbook. They influenced Shakespeare.
were popular seasonal entertainments
Jousts / Tournaments

A series of tilted matches warriors on horseback. They raced racing

toward each other in full armor trying to use their lance to knock the
other off his horse. It was a violent sport--King Henry II of France was
killed in a tournament in 1559, as were many lesser men. King Henry
VIII was a champion; he finally retired from the lists after a hard fall left
him unconscious for hours.
Games and Sports
Sports and games which included archery, bowling, cards, dice,
hammer-throwing, quarter-staff contests, troco, quoits, skittles,
wrestling and mob football.
Card Games
Cards appeared in Spain and Italy about 1370, but they probably came
from Egypt. They began to spread throughout Europe and came into
England around 1460. By the time of Elizabeths reign, gambling was a
common sport. Cards were not played only by the upper class. Many of
the lower classes had access to playing cards. The card suits tended to
change over time. The first Italian and Spanish decks had the same
suits: Swords, Batons/ Clubs, Cups, and Coins. The suits often changed
from country to country. England probably followed the Latin version,
initially using cards imported from Spain but later relying on more
convenient supplies from France. Most of the decks that have survived
use the French Suit: Spades, Hearts, Clubs, and Diamonds. Yet even
before Elizabeth had begun to reign, the number of cards had been
standardized to 52 cards per deck. Interestingly, the lowest court
subject in England was called the knave. The lowest court card was
therefore called the knave until later when the term Jack became
more common. Popular card games during the Elizabethan Rule: Maw,
One and Thirty, Bone-ace. (These are all games for small group players.)
Ruff and Honors (This one is a team game.)
Animal sports included bear and bull baiting, dog fighting and cock fighting.
sport followed by the nobility often using packs of dogs and hounds.
They hunted a variety of animals.
sport followed by the nobility with hawks (otherwise known as falconry).

Festivals, holidays and celebrations

A wedding feast, c. 1569.

During the Elizabethan era, people looked forward to holidays because
opportunities for leisure were limited, with time away from hard work being
restricted to periods after church on Sundays. For the most part, leisure and
festivities took place on a public church holy day. Every month had its own
holiday, some of which are listed below:

The first Monday after Twelfth Night of January (any time between 7
January and 14 January) was Plough Monday. It celebrated
returning to work after the Christmas celebrations and the New

2 February: Candlemas. Although often still very cold, Candlemas

was celebrated as the first day of spring. All Christmas decorations
were burned on this day, in candlelight and torchlight processions.

14 February: Valentine's Day.

Between 3 March and 9 March: Shrove Tuesday (known as Mardi

Gras or Carnival on the Continent). On this day, apprentices were
allowed to run amok in the city in mobs, wreaking havoc, because it
supposedly cleansed the city of vices before Lent.
The day after Shrove Tuesday was Ash Wednesday, the first day of
Lent when all were to abstain from eating and drinking certain
24 March: Lady Day or the feast of the Annunciation, the first of
the Quarter Days on which rents and salaries were due and
payable. It was a legal New Year when courts of law convened after
a winter break, and it marked the supposed moment when the
Angel Gabriel came to announce to the Virgin Mary that she would
bear a child.

1 May: May Day, celebrated as the first day of summer. This was
one of the few Celtic festivals with no connection to Christianity
and patterned on Beltane. It featured crowning a May Queen, a
Green Man and dancing around a maypole.

21 June: Midsummer, (Christianized as the feast of John the Baptist)

and another Quarter Day.

1 August: Lammastide, or Lammas Day. Traditionally, the first day

of August, in which it was customary to bring a loaf of bread to the

29 September: Michaelmas. Another Quarter Day. Michaelmas

celebrated the beginning of autumn, and Michael the Archangel.

25 October: St. Crispin's Day. Bonfires, revels, and an elected 'King

Crispin' were all featured in this celebration. Dramatized by
Shakespeare in Henry V.
28 October: The Lord Mayor's Show, which still takes place today in
31 October: All Hallows Eve or Halloween. The beginning
celebration of the days of the dead.

1 November: All Hallows or All Saints' Day, followed by All Souls'


17 November: Accession Day or Queen's Day, the anniversary of

Queen Elizabeth's accession to the throne, celebrated with lavish
court festivities featuring jousting during her lifetime and as a
national holiday for dozens of years after her death.

24 December: The Twelve days of Christmas started at sundown

and lasted until Epiphany on 6 January. Christmas was the last of
the Quarter Days for the year.

Roman Britain c. 43410 Anglo-Saxon c. 5001066 Norman 10661154

Plantagenet 11541485 Tudor 14851603 Elizabethan 15581603 Stuart
16031714 Jacobean 16031625 Carolean 16251649 16491660
Restoration 16601688 Georgian 17141830 Regency 18111837 Victorian
18371901 Edwardian 19011914 First World War 19141918 Interwar 1918
1939 Second World War 19391945 Postwar 1945present

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6. Melissa D. Aaron, Global Economics (2005), p. 25. In the later
decades of the reign, the costs of warfare defeating the English
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obliterated the surplus; England had a debt of 350,000 at
Elizabeth's death in 1603.
7. Ann Jennalie Cook (1981) The Privileged Playgoers of
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4996 ISBN 0691064547.
8. Christopher Hibbert (1991) The Virgin Queen: Elizabeth I, Genius of
the Golden Age, Da Capo Press, ISBN 0201608170.
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15. Kenneth Andrews (1984) Trade, Plunder and Settlement:

Maritime Enterprise and the Genesis of the British Empire, 1480
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Hero, D.S.Brewer ISBN 184384186X
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ISBN 1448129508
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Canadian Biography Online, (2005), DC-HGilbert
26. David B. Quinn (1985) Set fair for Roanoke: voyages and
colonies, 15841606, UNC Press Books, ISBN 0807841234
27. Kenneth R. Andrews (1985) Trade, Plunder, and Settlement:
Maritime Enterprise and the Genesis of the British Empire, 1480
1630, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521276985
28. George Macaulay Trevelyan (1949) England Under the Stuarts, p.
29. With over 5% of Europe's population in 1600, England executed
only 1% of the 40,000 witches killed in the period 14001800.
William Monter (2004). "Re-contextualizing British Witchcraft".

Journal of Interdisciplinary History 35 (1): 105111 (106).

30. John Edwards (2000). "A Spanish Inquisition? The Repression of
Protestantism under Mary Tudor". Reformation and Renaissance
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32. J. B. Black, The Reign of Elizabeth: 15581603 (2nd ed. 1959) pp.
33. Ann Jennalie Cook (1981) The Privileged Playgoers of
Shakespeare's London, 15761642,, Princeton University Press, pp.
8182 ISBN 0691064547
34. ^ Lee E. Pearson (1957). "Education of children". Elizabethans
at home. Stanford University Press. pp. 14041. ISBN 0-8047-04945.
35. Joan Simon (1966). Education and Society in Tudor England.
London: Cambridge University Press. p. 373. ISBN 978-0-52122854-1.
36. Minna F. Weinstein (1978). "Reconstructing Our Past: Reflections
on Tudor Women". International Journal of Women's Studies 1 (2):
37. On the social and demographic history see D. M. Palliser (1992)
The Age of Elizabeth: England Under the Later Tudors, 15471603
(2nd ed.), Longman, ISBN 0582013224
38. Susan C. Shapiro (1977). "Feminists in Elizabethan England".
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Books, ISBN 0140222316
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Virgin Queen". Renaissance Quarterly 43 (1): 3074.
doi:10.2307/2861792. JSTOR 2861792.
41. Christopher Haigh (2000) Elizabeth I (2nd ed.), Longman, p. 23
ISBN 0582472784.

42. Susan Doran (1995). "Juno Versus Diana: The Treatment of

Elizabeth I's Marriage in Plays and Entertainments, 15611581".
Historical Journal 38: 257274. JSTOR 2639984.

Agnes Strickland, The life of Queen Elizabeth (1910) p. 424

44. Carole Levin and Patricia Ann Sullivan (1995) Political rhetoric,
power, and Renaissance women, State Univ of New York p. 90 ISBN
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Tudor construction of Motherhood". English Literary Renaissance
26 (3): 42360. doi:10.1111/j.1475-6757.1996.tb01506.x.
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48. Young, Bruce W. 2008. Family Life in the Age of Shakespeare.
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Greer, Germaine Shakespeare's Wife, Bloomsbury 2007.


Cressy. 1997. Pg 74

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31 ISBN 0192852132
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The Tempest: Entire Play

The Tempest Shakespeare homepage | The Tempest | Entire play

Read the play on line, then do the following

Read the play carefully, you can also search online and
find more information about it.
Copy and fill in the grid about The Tempest

Where is the story set?

What is the role of

What does Caliban mean
to the men who have
arrived on the island?
Think about his
Why does the story take
place far away from the
Uk and England?
What's the role of Ariel?
What's the deeper
meaning of the story?

The Tempest - Full Play

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When I do count the clock that tells the time,
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
When I behold the violet past prime,
And sable curls all silver'd o'er with white;
When lofty trees I see barren of leaves 5
Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
And summer's green all girded up in sheaves
Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard,
Then of thy beauty do I question make,
That thou among the wastes of time must go, 10
Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake
And die as fast as they see others grow;
And nothing 'gainst Time's scythe can make defence
Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence. 14

Analyse the text :

- how many lines are there in the sonnet?
- where do you find the turning point?
- what's the main theme expressed by the poet?
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There is no darkness but