List three reasons Shakespeare wrote so “formally”

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1. Verse poetry. The main reason Shakespeare sounds so "formal" is that his plays are predominately written in a rigid verse structure. This structure has been analyzed for centuries, and there is a genius in his strict format.

It is a common misconception that people in the Elizabethan period spoke...

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1. Verse poetry. The main reason Shakespeare sounds so "formal" is that his plays are predominately written in a rigid verse structure. This structure has been analyzed for centuries, and there is a genius in his strict format.

It is a common misconception that people in the Elizabethan period spoke like Shakespeare's plays. While they shared many of the same phrases, Shakespeare's text sounded foreign (or, at the very least, extremely poetic) even in the 17th century.

2. Performative context.  Theater was one of the only forms of entertainment during Shakespeare's time, and the performance conditions were difficult. His plays were performed outside and during the day. The audience was rowdy and often loud, and so his language needed a commanding presence. Shakespeare was able to hold the attention of a noisy crowd by formalizing his language.

3. Educational Differences. Many of the "formal" aspects of Shakespeare's writing would not have seemed so formal during the time he was alive. In Shakespeare's time, it was normal for an educated person to learn Latin, for instance. Today, there are many references in Shakespeare's writings that are confusing and dated. These strange references are often what gives Shakespeare's writing a "formal" feeling. 

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