1) The Elizabethan stage
Drama in England and William Shakespeare.
Everyone could see the plays performed.
From Morality Plays to University Wits.
The poors stood up and the nobles in surrounding galleries.
Lots of things were peculiar (simple stages, no women allowed…).
2) William Shakespeare
Shakespeare is surely the most famous English play-writer ever lived.
His family, his life experiences and his career.
The sources and the plots of his most important works.
His most important plays: Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet –comment to “To be or not to be (man or nobody, living or dying, fighting or giving up, life and death compared to sleep)”, his ideas against love and women (that he hates because of his mother’s behavior) and why he plays the fool-, Macbeth, The merchant of Venice and some of his sonnets.
3) John Milton
His sisters, his love for culture, his teacher and his character.
His journey to Italy and what he saw there.
His work as a teacher
His work for Cromwell
What he has in common with Samson
4) The Stuarts
Charles I is not a good king.
He has problems with Parliament.
When he makes William Laud Archbishop of Canterbury, who persecutes Puritans, a civil war breaks out.
The long Parliament and the “Roundheads”.
Cromwell Lord Protector.
The act of Navigation.
The Restoration of Monarchy, after Cromwell’s death, with Charles II.
5) The Stuarts again
Charles imposes a strict Anglicanism.
He feels Catholic however.
The secret deal with the king of France.
Parliament, then, wants William of Orange to be king, the husband of Mary (Charles’s daughter)
William of Orange is crowned after his death.
In that period there’s also the war of Spanish Succession.
6) Social Backround
Why this period is called “The restoration”.
Vices and immorality, and the “merry monarch”.
What noblemen do and think.
The positive aspects of this period (development of science, Sunday schools, London the business city).
7) Literary production
Imagination replaced by reason and the imitation of French authors.
The new clear and concise style.
Philosophers and diarists.
8) John Dryden
Republican during the Commonwealth, Royalist after the Restoration, Catholics during the reign of Charles II’s brother – James II.
Dryden was a professional poet but his career depended on the king (the reading public was small).
The couplet: a sort of prosody.
9) Development of drama
During the Restoration tragedies, crimes and immorality are performed.
The stage becomes more complex and a gap between actors and audience is put.
Women are allowed and every character has a name that describes his or her soul.
The main purpose is to teach how to behave and not to give a form of entertainment.
It’s not important what actors do, but how they do it.