Historical Context for Shakespeare's Plays Essay example

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Arguably the greatest playwright of his time, perhaps in all of history, William Shakespeare's literary works have had a tremendous impact (see Appendix 2). Reaching into the pop culture of the modern world through movies and quotes used in everyday conversation, Shakespeare's influence is astounding (see Appendix 1). One rarely stops to think, however, about events that had an impact on Shakespeare's life, particularly his writing. The outbreak of the plague, social disparity, political unrest, just a few of the historical happenings that impacted Shakespeare's plays, including Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, and Henry IV
The basic setting of Macbeth is a man named Lord Macbeth usurping the Scottish throne from the rightful
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Over 30,000 people perished during this outbreak. Although not as severe as other outbreaks in London such as the final outbreak in 1655-66, it ravaged the country nonetheless (www.princeton.edu).
Romeo and Juliet From plague and disease outbreak, sprung a new era of unrest. Enter the social discrepancy of the class system, the basis of one of Shakespeare's most famous works, Romeo and Juliet. Although this work of Shakespeare is not completely original, he introduced many new ideas to this pre-existing story that had been passed down from generation to generation. Originally penned in English as a poem, Romeus and Juliet was written by a poet named Arthur Brooks. Much of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet was pulled straight from Brooks' poem, such as the first contact at the ball, the sleeping potion, and the eventual suicides of both Romeo and Juliet. Although his content is not completely original, Shakespeare's style and sense of urgency in his plays are what truly distinguish him from other adaptations. Shakespeare condensed a story that was previously written as a period of nine months into four days, heightening the speed of plot movement and the aforementioned sense of urgency, while also introducing an entirely new character by the name of Mercutio (www.sparksnotes.com). Aside from the history of the actual story, Shakespeare's Romeo

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