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Shakespeare Coursework Essay

England’s greatest poet and playwright was born at Stratford-upon-Avon, on 23rd April 1564. He died on the same date in 1616.

William, the eldest son, and third child (of eight) was baptised on 26th April 1564 and probably educated at Stratford Grammar School, but little is known of his life up to his eighteenth year.

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At the age of eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway eight years his senior.

Five years later he left for London. William worked at the Globe Theatre and appeared in many small parts. He first appeared in public as a poet in 1593 with his Venus and Adonis and the following year with The Rape of Lucrece. He became joint proprietor of The Globe and also had an interest in the Blackfriars Theatre.

When he retired from writing in 1611, he returned to Stratford to live in a house which he had built for his family. His only son, Hamlet died when still a child. He also lost a daughter Judith (twin to Hamlet), but his third child Susanna married a Stratford Doctor, John Hall and their home “Hall’s Croft” is today preserved as one of the Shakespeare Properties and administered by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

In 1616 Shakespeare was buried in the Church of the Holy Trinity the same Church where he was baptised in 1564. Tradition has it that he died after an evening’s drinking with some of his theatre friends. His gravestone bears the words:-

Good frend for Jesus sake forebeare,

to digg the dust encloased heare,

Bleste be ye man yt spares thes stones,

And curst be he yt moves my bones.

Some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays are:

* Romeo and Juliet.

* The Taming of the Shrew

* A Midsummer Night’s Dream

* All’s Well that Ends Well

* The Merry Wives of Windsor

* Henry V

* Much Ado about Nothing

* As you like it

* Twelth Night

* Julius Caesar

* Hamlet

* Othello

* Measure for Measure

* Macbeth

* King Lear

* A Winter’s Tale

* The Tempest


Paris asks Lord Capulet (Juliet’s father) if he could have his daughters’ hand in marriage. Back in Shakespeare’s time, it was the father that decided who could marry his daughter. So if he decided that you had to marry the wealthy, upper class 43 year old man from across the road, and you were a 14 year old girl, then you would have to obey your father, and you’d probably have to have a few kids too.

Marriage wasn’t about love in those days; it was about money, power and class. It was about bringing families wealth together, and marrying someone of your own class. If you married someone who was ‘lower down’ than you (ie, poorer than you), then it would look like you could only attract poor people off the street. People got married at a very early age, like 13 or so, and would have kids a few years later.

Even though Paris is from a very rich family, Lord Capulet decides that Juliet (who is 13) is too young, and is very precious to him, seeing as his other children all died. He says that Paris must;

‘Let two more summers wither in their pride,

Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride.’ (lines 10/11)

Basically that just means that that Paris must wait two more years until he can marry her, because she is not yet ready.

Paris argues that ‘Younger than she are happy mothers made’ (line 12), but Lord Capulet still doesn’t give in.

Lord Capulet tries to put Paris off by telling him to come to his party later that night, so that he can choose the most beautiful woman there to marry, even though there will be many to choose from (lines 31/32; And like her most whose merit shall be, Which on more view of many, mine, being one). So to sum up Capulet’s mood in this scene, I would say that he is getting rather annoyed with Paris, and he thinks that he must protect Juliet, and by not ‘giving her away’ to Paris, he feels he is doing this.


This is the scene where the party is going on at Capulet’s house. He is telling the ladies to dance and have a good time. He is reminiscing with Cousin Capulet about when they were younger and used to go to parties.

He says;

‘Nay, nay, sit, good cousin Capulet,

For you and I are past our dancing days.

How long is’t now since last yourself and I

Were in a mask?’ (lines 29 – 32)

That basically means that cousin Capulet is too old to dance, and should sit down and let the young people dance. Capulet then asks his cousin how long ago since they partied together and wore masks.

His cousin then replies with;

‘Berlady, thirty years.’

That means by ‘Our Lady (the Virgin Mary), its been thirty years’, which I suppose means that he is swearing on it, like today we say ‘I swear by God.’

Then Tybalt starts talking to Capulet, exclaiming that Romeo is at the party, even though he is an uninvited foe;

‘Uncle, this is a Montague, our foe:

A villain that is hither come in spite,

To scorn at our solemnity this night.’ (lines 60 – 63)

Tybalt is making Romeo sound like a criminal, so that he can be removed from the party, even though he hasn’t caused any trouble.

Capulet replies to this comment with;

‘Content thee, gentle coz, let him alone,

‘A bears like a portly gentleman,

And to say truth, Verona brags of him,

To be a virtuous and well-governed youth.

I would not for all the wealth of this town,

Here in my house, do him disparagement;’ (lines 64 – 69)

That basically means that Tybalt should just leave off Romeo, and let him have fun. He also says that Verona should be proud to have him living there, as he is a polite and well – behaved youth. Capulet says that he would not disrespect Romeo for all the wealth in the city. So I would say that Capulet starts off as being relaxed in this scene, and then gets angry with Tybalt for suggesting that Romeo is disturbing the party.


This scene starts off with Romeo and Juliet talking about how much the love each other. Romeo is telling Juliet that he is probably going to get killed, because he killed Juliet’s cousin, and was banished from the city. He seems laid – back about it, and it seems like he doesn’t really care.

Juliet obviously thinks the opposite;

‘It is the lark that sings so out of tune,

Straining harsh discords and unpleasing sharps’ (lines 27/28)

Juliet’s quote means that Romeo having to leave is like listening to a lark singing out of tune – it would be dreadful.

Then the nurse calls out for Juliet, warning her that her mother is coming. Romeo leaves, and her mother comes into the room. She explains what Juliet did not know; that Romeo had killed her cousin. Juliet is very shocked, and pretends to her mother that she wants to kill Romeo. Then Lady Capulet springs a surprise on her daughter.

‘Marry, my child, early next Thursday morn,

The gallant, young, and noble gentleman,

The county Paris, at Saint Peter’s Church,

Shall happily make thee there a joyful bride.’ (lines 112 – 115)

Lady Capulet is telling Juliet that she is marrying Paris on Thursday. She is saying that Paris is a lovely, brave and very kind man, and that she will make a very happy bride. Lady Capulet expects Juliet’s reaction to this news to be good, and probably thinks that Juliet will be quite exited. But to her shock, Juliet replies with;

‘Now by St. Peter’s Church and Peter too,

He shall not make me there a joyful bride’ (lines 116 – 117)

What Juliet has just said is that she shall not make a joyful bride tomorrow, by the name of St. Peter. Juliet is obviously angry about this and tells her mother:

‘I will not marry yet, and when I do, I swear,

It shall be Romeo, whom you know I hate.’ (lines 121 – 122)

Lady Capulet is angered by this, and says;

‘Here comes your father, tell him so yourself;

And see how he will take it at your hands.’ (lines 124 – 125)

Then Capulet and the nurse enter the room.

Lord Capulet wonders why Juliet is crying. Lady Capulet is still angry, and shouts;

‘Ay, sir, but she will none, she gives you thanks,

I would the fool be married to her grave.’ (lines 139 – 140)

She has just said to her daughter “I wish you were dead!”

Lord Capulet has a go at Juliet, exclaiming that Juliet is a selfish, ungrateful and unworthy.

‘How, will she none? doth she not give us thanks?

Is she not proud? doth she not give us thanks?’ (lines 142 – 143)

Juliet gets in a state, and says that she is not thankful for anything, and that she hates Paris.

Then, in between lines 149 – 157, Lord Capulet calls his daughter a ‘mistress minion you’ which means cheeky girl, a ‘green sickness carrion’, a ‘tallow – face’ and ‘baggage’, which means a vomity looking object, ugly and a minx. He goes on later to call her a ‘hilding’ (slut), and says that having her was a curse. The nurse says;

‘God in heaven bless her!’ (line 168)

That makes Capulet angry, and he starts on the nurse.

In Shakespeare’s times, the children had to obey everything that their parents said. The parents had the right to bully, hit and verbally abuse the children if they did something wrong, as we have encountered in this scene. Especially the fathers, who had control over their wives too. This had changed now, because kids today don’t really care about much these days. If we get told off, we aren’t bothered, and most of the time we find it funny. We are just like “yeah, whatever!” Nowadays, we wind up our parents on purpose, because when they tell you off, it is just funny, and you don’t feel threatened by it. Anyway, if someone did today what Capulet could’ve done, i.e. hit Juliet, then as it is against the law, then they would get fined a lot of money (past offenders got between �1000 and �10,000), and/or anything up to 5 years imprisonment.

So the conclusion in this is that Capulet likes to change his mind a lot, and is a bit two faced. I can tell this because in Act 1 Scene 2, when Paris proposes, he is like ‘wait until Juliet is older, in a few years time’ and totally against the idea of his ‘precious’ daughter getting married. Then in Act 3 Scene 5 he is really angry when Juliet reacts badly to the news that she has to marry Paris, and Capulet is for it this time. He insults her so badly, and is forcing her to something that she doesn’t want to do.

So he is being two faced in a way. His daughter that he loved so much before has now become nothing to him, because of a pathetic reason, and Capulet doesn’t actually care. I can see that Lady Capulet is scared of her husband, because she doesn’t try that hard to stick up for Juliet. In fact, I get the feeling that the Nurse is closer to Juliet than her own mother is, because she tries to stop Capulet’s verbal attack on Juliet. In Shakespeare’s times, mothers from rich times often hired a ‘wet nurse’. These were nurses who breast – fed, bathed and cared for the child as if it was their own. So this could be the reason why I think they are so close.

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Shakespeare Coursework Essay
England's greatest poet and playwright was born at Stratford-upon-Avon, on 23rd April 1564. He died on the same date in 1616. William, the eldest son, and third child (of eight) was baptised on 26th April 1564 and probably educated at Stratford Grammar School, but little is known of his life up to his eighteenth year. At the age of eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway eight years his senior. Five years later he left for London. William worked at the Globe Theatre and appeared in many smal
2021-07-12 23:55:22
Shakespeare Coursework Essay
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