What was life like in william shakespeare time

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what was life like in william shakespeare time

Shakespeares London: Everyday Life in London 1580-1616 by Stephen Porter

Everyday life in the teeming metropolis during William Shakespeares time in the city. Shakespeares London was a bustling, teeming metropolis that was growing so rapidly that the government took repeated, and ineffectual, steps to curb its expansion. From contemporary letters, journals and diaries, a vivid picture emerges of this fascinating city, with its many opportunities and also its persistent problems. By far the largest city in the country, it was the centre of government, the law and the church, the focus of politics and culture. It had a vigorous economy, with a range of industries and a lucrative trade in luxury goods for the courtiers and wealthy citizens. Growth produced overcrowding and high mortality, with shockingly high death tolls during the periodic plague epidemics, yet London attracted an endless stream of people, who were absorbed into its diverse communities and economic structures. Here the first playhouses were built, patronised by large audiences, who were treated to a rich and varied diet of plays to keep them, and the court, entertained. The London that Shakespeare knew was an expanding, changing and exciting city.
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Music In the Time of Shakespeare - Dirk Freymuth

What about Shakespeare's Times?

The age of Shakespeare was a great time in English history. The reign of Queen Elizabeth I saw England emerge as the leading naval and commercial power of the Western world. England consolidated its position with the defeat of the Spanish Armada in , and Elizabeth firmly established the Church of England begun by her father, King Henry VIII following Henry's dispute with the Pope over having his first marriage annulled. Sir Francis Drake circumnavigated the world and became the most celebrated English sea captain of his generation. European wars brought an influx of continental refugees into England, exposing the Englishman to new cultures. In trade, might, and art, England established an envious preeminence.

Although Shakespeare is known as the Bard of Avon, and came from Stratford, Shakespeare and London are inextricably linked. Most ordinary Elizabethan Londoners lived in apartment buildings that were squashed together haphazardly, without planning. London began to develop suburbs during this time. Some courtiers and other wealthy Londoners built themselves country residences around the edges of London in areas that later became part of what we know as London today. People emptied their chamber pots and refuse from their windows and rain washed the waste into the river from dung piles, ditches, cesspits and streams. The population of London had risen to , by and the city was evolving as the multicultural city that it is today.

Shakespeare's plays are masterworks, but they can be hard to understand for a modern English speaker. Gain direct insight into Shakespeare's writing in this course which explains how to enter Shakespeare's world, how to grasp what's happening in his plays, and how to enjoy each play on both the page and the stage. Shakespeare's Theatre and Stagecraft. Episode 2. Queen Elizabeth recognized how important the arts and theater were to her nation, creating a golden age of creativity. Although the rich and powerful people of the nobility often lived extravagant lives, they only made up a small percentage of the population.


Who was William Shakespeare? What was life like in Stratford-upon-Avon and London when he was alive? Very little is known for certain about William Shakespeare. What we do know about his life comes from registrar records, court records, wills, marriage certificates and his tombstone in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon. Traditionally his birthday is celebrated three days earlier, on 23 April, St George's Day.

New York: H. This people, in a sense, was an ignorant people. Those of the highest rank were well and laboriously educated according to the contemporary standard; but the rank and file paid no attention to learning. They neither read, wrote, nor thought. One today is astonished at the ignorance of the then common people concerning public affairs. Compare a history like Holinshed's with a history like Fronde's or Grardiner's.

2 thoughts on “Shakespeares London: Everyday Life in London 1580-1616 by Stephen Porter

  1. His theatre work was in London but he was often with his family in Stratford, where he also attended to his business interests.

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