English 1 PAP
1 February 2015
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.” (“