Julius Caesar Introduction Power Point

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  • William Shakespeare (baptized April 26, 1564 – died April 23, 1616) was an English poet and playwright widely regarded as the greatest writer of the English language, and the world's preeminent dramatist. He wrote approximately 38 plays and 154 sonnets, as well as a variety of other poems. Already a popular writer in his own lifetime, Shakespeare became increasingly celebrated after his death and his work adulated by numerous prominent cultural figures through the centuries. Orthodox scholars believe Shakespeare produced most of his work between 1586 and 1612, although the exact dates and chronology of the plays attributed to him are under considerable debate, as is the authorship of the works attributed to him. He is counted among the very few playwrights who have excelled in both tragedy and comedy, and his plays combine popular appeal with complex characterization, poetic grandeur and philosophical depth.
  • Shakespeare’s writing can be divided into two time periods: 1590/2- 1603: Elizabethan Period- Wrote mostly comedies and histories. 1603- 1611/12: Jacobean Period- Wrote mostly tragedies and romances.
  • 1585- 1592- “The Lost Years” Scholars have no real idea where Shakespeare was or what he was doing.
  • Drama is a literary composition involving conflict, action crisis and atmosphere designed to be acted by players on a stage before an audience. This definition may be applied to motion picture drama as well as to the traditional stage.
  • Tragedy -- In general, tragedy involves the ruin of the leading characters. To the Greeks, it meant the destruction of some noble person through fate, To the Elizabethans, it meant in the first place death and in the second place the destruction of some noble person through a flaw in his character. Today it may not involve death so much as a dismal life, Modern tragedy often shows the tragedy not of the strong and noble but of the weak and mean,
  • Comedy -- is lighter drama in which the leading characters overcome the difficulties which temporarily beset them. Usually ends in marriage.
  • History-- The 1590’s were the decade of history play. Two types of History: Providential- History determined by God, Machiavellian- Not God, but the people who want power who determine history.
  • Shakespeare’s plays are written in Early Modern English, which can be difficult to read. The pronouns usage is especially different. Some examples include thou = you, thee/ ye = you, thy/ thine = your/ yours
  • We spoke about Iambic pentameter before, You’ll recall that it is: A rhythmical pattern. The "iambic" part means that the rhythm goes from an unstressed syllable to a stressed one, as happens in words like divine, caress, bizarre, and delight. It sounds sort of like a heartbeat: daDUM, daDUM, daDUM. The "pentameter" part means that this iambic rhythm is repeated five times. Shakespeare uses Iambic Pentameter often in his Plays!!
  • Shakespeare uses a lot of words with double meanings or puns, where a word can mean more than one thing in a given context.
  • Shakespeare uses puns as away of illustrating what is on the surface and what meanings lie beneath.

About this Document

A good introduction to the play. Includes background on Shakespeare and language.