English Renaissance (1500-1600)

1. Background

  • Humanism is a Renaissance cultural movement that turned away from medieval scholasticism and revived interest in ancient Greek and Roman thought.
  • Great Chain of Being is a hierarchal structure of life starting with God.
  • Magic! James I had an obsession with magic and witches.
  • Renaissance Man is a tem to describe "an outstandingly versatile, well-rounded person."
  • 95 Theses is a list of 95 complaints criticizing the catholic church written by Martin Luther, led to the founding of the Lutheran Church.

2. Shakespeare

  • Born in Stratford-on-Avon, England.
  • Wrote for royalty: Queen Elizabeth and King James I.
  • His plays were performed at The Globe Theater in London.

3. Sonnets

Shakespearean Sonnet

  • Innovated by Earl of Surrey and his contemporaries, but readers named it after Shakespeare.
  • Divided into three quatrains (4 line units) and one couplet.
  • Rhyme Scheme: ABAB CDCD EFEF GG

Petrarchan Sonnet

  • Crafted by Francesco Petrarch, 14th century Italian poet.
  • First 8 lines (octave) final six lines (sestet.)
  • Rhyme Scheme: ABBA ABBA CDECDE or CDCCDC

4. Macbeth

  • A Classic tragedy is the downfall of a tragic hero.
  • Characteristics: Hubris, over confident, a person of noble birth, struggles against fate.
  • Plot: A tragedy of a Scottish general who gets a prophecy from a group of witches who say that he will become king. He takes advantage of his allies and betrays the people he loves and this leads to an ultimate downfall.
  • Macbeth: Macbeth was written as a tribute to King James I
  • Characters: Lady Macbeth, Macbeth, witches, Banquo, Macduff, Fleance, Doctor, Nurse
  • Soliloquy: Character speaks their thoughts aloud when alone.
  • Aside: Speech spoken to the audience.
  • Monologue: a Long, uninterrupted speech.
  • Paradox: Contradiction
  • Themes: Betrayal can lead to downfall