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The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. By William Shakespeare. The Plays. Early plays, 1590’s, were mainly comedy

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The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

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  1. The Tragedy ofHamlet,Prince of Denmark By William Shakespeare

  2. The Plays • Early plays, 1590’s, were mainly comedy • Comedy (and this could be extended to most of Shakespeare's history plays as well)  is social--leading to a happy resolution (usually a marriage or marriages) and social unification.  • Shakespeare began to focus on tragedy/dramatic themes in the early 1600’s. • Tragedy is individual, concentrating on the suffering of a single, remarkable hero--leading to individual torment, waste and death • 1608 marks a change in tone from tragedy to romance, light, magic, and reconciliation

  3. Publishing Shakespeare Despite all the paper and ink, no printed text of any of his plays can claim to be an exact, word-by-word copy of what he wrote. DO YOU KNOW THE HORROR OF LOSING THE ONLY COPY OF WHAT YOU’VE WRITTEN? In Shakespeare’s time, a playwright delivered his only handwritten copy to the acting company. Then it becomes property of the company, not the writer. No copies of Shakespeare’s plays in his own handwriting have survived!

  4. Actors • Only men and boys allowed onstage. • Young boys whose voices had not changed play women’s roles. • It would have been considered indecent for a woman to appear on stage. • The actors in Shakespeare’s plays worked very hard and were paid according to the house’s take. • More popular actors, in lead roles, had to deliver as many as 4000 lines in six different plays during a London work week.

  5. When in a play... • Only men were permitted to perform who were part of a licensed theater company. • Boys or effeminate men were used to play the women. • Costumes were often the company’s most valuable asset. • Costumes were made by the company, bought in London, or donated by courtiers.

  6. Elaborate Costumes

  7. The Globe Theatre Size and Shape • Opened in 1599; Shakespeare's company regularly performed there. • Polygonal shape with as many as 20 sides.

  8. THE GLOBE THEATER • Built in 1599 • The most magnificent theater in London • Shakespeare was 1/5 owner • He earned 10% of the total profit, approximately £200-250 a year • The Bard retired to Stratford and lived on the profits he earned from the Globe • June 19, 1613 the Globe burned to the ground during a performance of Henry VIII

  9. The Globe Theater – • Many of Shakespeare’s plays were performed here • The stage was a large, rectangle that jutted out into the yard • Held 2,000-3,000 people tightly packed • An open playhouse with a wooden structure three stories high • It was shaped like a 16 sided polygon • General admission = (a pence) 1 Penny entitled a spectator to be a “groundling”-someone who could stand in the yard. • More expensive seats were in the roofed galleries and most expensive seats were chairs set right on the stage along its two sides • Rebuilt in 1900’s

  10. English Theater • Plays were most often performed in outdoor theaters • Performances took place during the day so that the stage would be illuminated by natural light

  11. Spectators • Wealthy got benches • “Groundlings” or poorer people stood and watched from the courtyard (“pit”) • All but wealthy were uneducated/illiterate • Much more interaction than today

  12. The groundling • Poor audience member • Stood around stage in “the pit” • Women not allowed (had to dress up as men to attend) • Threw rotten vegetables at bad performances

  13. Queen Elizabeth I – ( 1558-1603 ) • Ruled England for 45 years. • Nicknamed “the Virgin Queen” and produced no heir to the throne • Restored Protestantism and formalized the Church of England • During her reign, the economy was weakened by inflation, food shortages, and high rent. • Outbreak of the black plague, food riots, Catholic conspiracies, threats of invasion, etc. • During the Elizabethan Period, hundreds of people were convicted as witches and executed

  14. King James I– ( 1603-1628 ) • Renamed Shakespeare’s acting troupe “The King’s Men” • Believed in the supernatural and interested in witchcraft • Religious and believed in the existence of supernatural evil • Commissioned a translation of the Bible from Latin to English • Published a book about witchcraft called “Demonologie“ in 1597

  15. The Cost of a Show • 1 shilling to stand • 2 shillings to sit in the balcony • 1 shilling was 10% of their weekly income • Broadway Today: • $85 Orchestra • $60 Balcony • 10% of a teacher’s weekly salary

  16. Clothes • One set used all year long, rarely washed • Underclothing slept in, infrequently changed • Clothes handed down from rich to poor

  17. Conditions in London-BAD! • Thames River polluted with raw sewage • Trees used up for fuel • Poverty

  18. Living Conditions • No running water • Chamber Pots • Open Sewers • Crowded

  19. Personal hygiene/health • Bathing considered dangerous • Body odor strong • Childhood diseases • Children often died before 5 years • Small Pox • Bubonic Plague

  20. William The Man That Would Be Shakespeare • 1564-1616 • Stratford-on-Avon, England • He wrote 37 plays & 154 sonnets • He started out as an actor • No records document his life from 1585-1592, when he was between the ages of 21 and 28.

  21. William The Man That Would Be Shakespeare • There is little known about his domestic life after moving permanently to Stratford around 1611-1612 • There is no “tell-all” biography to reveal his intimate life. • Some believe the sonnets published in 1609 tell of his real-life relationships with a young man, a “Dark Lady”.

  22. Well-known Facts about Will • Great writer of England • Plays translated into all languages, musicals, ballets • Born Stratford-upon-Avon • Well-to-do, affluent while alive • Most quoted, other than the Bible

  23. Lesser-known Facts • Teen father: married pregnant 26 year old Anne Hathaway when he was 18 • Deadbeat dad: Left wife and children for London stage career • Father of twins • Elizabethan rapper: uses rhythm and rhyme • “Plagiarism” ?

  24. Book Sizes • 1. Folio: Sheet folded in half to make 4 sides • 2. Quarto: Sheet folded twice so as to make 4 leaves or 8 pages, (9 1/2" x 12") • 3. Octavo: Sheet folded so as to make 8 leaves or 16 pages (6 x 9" ) • 4. Duodecimo: Sheet folded so as to make 12 leaves or 24 pages (about 5 x 7")

  25. Early Editions of Hamlet First Quarto (1603) • For Hamlet, the First Quarto presents a "bad" or memorially reconstructed text. • Some scholars believe that these came from minor players remembering and dictating the play, although others have discredited this theory. In Hamlet, they believe that the actor playing Marcellus does this. • It is considered “bad” folio because it was recreated from the actors’ memories.

  26. Early Editions of Hamlet • The First Quarto text of Hamlet presents a much more sympathetic version of Gertrude; she swears to assist Hamlet in his revenge, for example. • A scene between Gertrude and Horatio exists in this version and disappears in later ones. Gertrude is told the news that Hamlet tells in his letter to Horatio, thus establishing her as Hamlet’s ally.

  27. Early Editions of Hamlet Second Quarto (1604). • J. D. Wilson showed in 1934 that this quarto was prepared from Shakespeare’s original manuscript or possibly from a corrected edition of the First Quarto. • The Second Quarto has about 200 lines not in the Folio.

  28. Early Editions of Hamlet First Folio (1623) • Contains 16 plays previously printed in quarto editions and 18 others that would not otherwise have survived.

  29. Early Editions of Hamlet • The Folio edition has stage directions. • The Folio edition includes about 90 lines not in the Second quarto.

  30. Introduction to the Play • Hamlet is Shakespeare’s most famous tragedy. • However, why might it have been considered a mystery? • When audiences try to “solve” the play’s mysteries, they often look inside their own hearts and minds. • It’s easy to understand why so many actors (and some actresses) have longed to play Prince Hamlet. • He is fatally attractive and romantically doomed. He’s brilliant, thinks complexly, and ironically up-to-date.

  31. Introduction Continued • Hamlet is fond of asking difficult questions, like his famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy. • Hamlet contains philosophical depth and is everything opposite of a dull lecture on the meaning of life. • Hamlet is a tragedy, a mystery, a revenge story, a ghost story, and a political thriller – with some good jokes thrown in. • Shakespeare’s powerful images of disease, poison and nature gone wrong create a perilous and paranoid environment

  32. “To be or not to be” in the Folio (III.i.63-97) To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep— No more, and by a sleep to say we end The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to . . .

  33. “To be or not to be” in the Quarto To be or not to be, ay there’s the point; To die, to sleep, is that all? Ay, all. No, to sleep, to dream; ay marry, there it goes. For in that dream of death, when we awake And borne before an everlasting judge, From whence no passenger ever returned, The undiscovered country, at whose sight The happy smile, and the accursed damned . .

  34. Sources • Thomas Kyd's Hamlet in the 1580s (now lost); this is referred to as the “Ur-Hamlet.” • Thomas Kyd's Spanish Tragedy (1587) (Revenge tragedy)

  35. Sources • Hamlet’s origin is said to come from Danish legends from 16th century tales of a young noble named Amleth (meaning fool or one who feigns madness in Danish). Collected by Saxo Grammaticus (historian).

  36. Sources • In the original, Amleth feigns madness to keep away from his murderous uncle.

  37. Sources • The ghost in the original play by Belleforest said "Hamlet! Revenge!" frequently, which must have been a joke by the time of the Hamlet.

  38. Sources • The Ghost (which Shakespeare probably played) is less prominent in the version of Hamlet that we know.

  39. Sources • From Harold Bloom, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human • Bloom believes that Shakespeare himself wrote the ur-Hamlet play from 1589 and that he made several changes in this version.

  40. Hamlet’s Sources • Readers who are troubled by Shakespeare’s borrowing habits might think about their favorite movies or songs. How many movies have wholly “original” plots? • Shakespeare’s originality doe not lie in what plot elements he used, but in how he used these materials.

  41. Hamlet Sites • The Enfolded Hamlet • Hamlet on the Ramparts • Shakespeare Quartos Online • The Authorship Debate

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