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Elizabethan Theater

By ashleymjohnson Apr 21, 2015 853 Words
Ashley Johnson 
Benjamin Steffen 
English 1 PAP 
1 February 2015 
Elizabethan Theater  
Elizabethan times in the 1600s was a progression for the world of theater. A period  named after Queen Elizabeth I of England, it is from this period that modern day society has its  foundation for the entertainment industry. From the violence that was prevalent because of the  Black Death, people turned to the theater for its poetry and romance. The plays created better  lives for people by creating more high class jobs and happiness to people who came to see them.  The Elizabethan Theater opened up the world of writing with great writers like William  Shakespeare and gave them a better chance in the world by giving them high class jobs, while  still letting everyone, upper or lower class, come and enjoy the play.   During this time period, there were two types of theatrical performances that were  available for the people’s viewing, comedies or tragedies. These two genres were never really  intertwined until the time of William Shakespeare. They were often called tragicomedies which,  “Usually have improbable and complex plots; characters of high social class; contrasts between  villainy and virtue; love of different kinds at their centre; a hero who is saved at the last minute  after a touch­and­ go experience; surprises and treachery.” (“No Sweat Shakespeare”) ​ The 

Merchant of Venice​
 ​
can be seen as a tragicomedy. It has a comic structure but one of the central  characters, Shylock, looks very much like a tragic character. The play has a comedy ending with  the lovers pairing off but we are left with taste in the mouth of the ordeal of Shylock, destroyed 

by a combination of his own faults and the persecution of the lovers who enjoy that happy  ending. The feeling at the end of the play is neither joy nor misery. “The play has a decidedly  comic structure but there is also a powerful tragic story. It can therefore be called a  tragicomedy.”(“No Sweat Shakespeare”) It opened the world of literature to a whole new genre.   It was also during Shakespeare’s time that writers were finally acknowledged by the  people. Before this time, writers were not considered upperclassmen. Shakespeare was not the  only famous playwright. “​

Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Dekker, John Fletcher and Francis  Beaumont. Had Marlowe not been stabbed in a tavern brawl,” says Anthony Burgess, “he might  have rivalled Shakespeare himself for his poetic gifts.”(“Wikipedia”) Writers were given a  bigger chance in the world which gave more opportunities for them to express themselves  through writing. ​

Actors were another group of people rising into a higher social because of  theater. As expressed by Shakespeares’ Globe, “The life of an actor changed dramatically during  Shakespeare’s lifetime. At first actors toured in companies, travelling the country to perform in  towns and cities and in private homes. By the time Shakespeare died, London had several  permanent theatres where the actors performed, drawing in huge audiences.” (“

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