Shakespeare:
A Virtual Field Trip

by Judith Engram

 

 

Since we are going to be reading one of Shakespeare's plays, it is only fitting that we know a little bit about this famous playwright's life and his times.  Follow along on this virtual field trip to learn more about Shakespeare and his plays.
Stop # 1
Shakespeare: 
The Man
Stop # 2
Life During Shakespeare's Time
Stop # 3
The Globe Theatre
Stop # 4
Plays for Study


STOP # 1
Shakespeare: The Man
In order for us to truly appreciate Shakespeare we need to know more about who he was.

Instructions for STOP ONE:  In your notes answer the following questions regarding his life by clicking on his picture.

1.  On what date, and where, was Shakespeare born?
2.a. Where is it believed Shakespeare attended school? 
   b.  Did Shakespeare have a university education?
   c.  Why has his education raised some controversy?

3 a. Who did Shakespeare marry?
   b. How old was Shakespeare when he married? 
   c. How old was his wife?
4.  How many children did Shakespeare have and what were their 
     names?
5. In what city did Shakespeare establish himself as an actor?
6.a.  Who were the Lord Chamberlain's Men?
    b.  What name did they take on in 1603?
7. a. When did Shakespeare leave London?
    b.  How long had he lived there?
8. On what date did Shakespeare die?
*Bonus question: Besides plays, do you know what else Shakespeare is famous for writing?

STOP # 2
What Was Life Like During Shakespeare's Time?

Queen Elizabeth I
For us to fully understand Shakespeare's plays, it is very important that we understand the time period in which the plays were written.  Shakespeare lived during the Elizabethan era (named for the queen at the time, Queen Elizabeth I) or Renaissance Period.  A very different time than the 21st century!  What was life like back then? To find out, complete activity 2.

Instructions for STOP TWO:  Answer the following questions in your notes by clicking on the underlined links OR if the links below are not working, click HERE to find the topic.
 

1. Men & WomenMen and woman had very different responsibilities. Click on the links below and list some of the responsibilities men and women had during this time.
a) What responsibilities did the men have? (Examine the list of activities under the "Cycle of Seasons" section).
b) What responsibilities did the women have? (Read the article and summarize, in point form, some of the duties).
2. Weddings & Betrothals:
a) What was a betrothal?
b) After a betrothal was a couple considered married?
3. Marriage & Family:
a) What was the minimum age for boys and girls to marry with parental permission?
b) When is one considered to have come of age?
c) What is considered a foolish reason to marry?
d) What kind of relationship existed between parents and their children?
e) What kind of relationship existed between husbands and wives?
4. Education (What every schoolboy knows):
a) Where were boys and girls educated?
b) How were noble children educated?
c) Describe a typical school day?
d) Were students treated similarly to how they are today? Explain.
e) Would you have wanted to attend school during the 16th century? Why or why not?
5. Occupations:  Who would you obtain the following items from -
a) books
b) hats
c) shirts/smocks
d) drugs
If you were noble, what would the following servants on your staff do?
e) Steward
 f)  Nurse
g) Wet nurse
h) Tutor
6. Heirs & Inheritance:
a) In a family, when the father dies, who inherits everything?
b) What is an heiress?
c) What happens, regarding inheritance in a noble family, when there are only daughters and no sons?
7. Masters & Servants:
a) Where do grooms work?
b) Where do maids or serving maids work?
c) What is a valet?
d) What is the female equivalent of a valet called?
e) What does one's reputation depend on?
f) Who do servants take money from?
g) What is a vail?
8. Filling the Time:
a) What were three common pastimes during the 16th century?
b) Why were theatres only attended during the day?
9. Religion:
a) What was the official established state religion?
b) Read through the definition of Puritanism.  What did Puritans believe in?
10. Titles:
a) Who gets addressed as "your grace'?
b) How do children address their parents?
11. Money:
a) What were all coins made of?
b) What were the basic denominations of currency?
c) What makes up a pound?
d) What is a crown worth?
12. Duels:
a) What actions were considered a challenge?
b) Why did dueling often take place "out of the way"?
13. The City of London:
a) How did people cross the Thames River?
b) What were streets like?
c) What was emptied out of windows?
d) Why was everyone "tipsy" all the time?
14. The Plague:  The plague was a terrible disease that spread throughout Europe in the middle ages.  Within five years (between 1347-1352) it had killed 25 million people.  Because smaller outbreaks of the disease continued, Europe lived with the fear of the plague for centuries until it disappeared in the 1600's.
a) Where did it come from?
b) How could it be avoided?
c) How did it effect the theatres during this time?
15. Jesters and Fools: 
a.  Describe natural fools.
b.  Describe artificial fools.
c.  What were the jesters/fools like in Shakespeare's plays?
d.  What sort of things did they do to entertain?


STOP # 3
Shakespeare and the Globe Theatre
The Globe theatre is quite possibly the most famous theatre of all time.  It is important that we know a bit about it and understand its importance to Shakespeare himself.

Instructions for STOP Three:  Click on the picture of the Globe to find the information to help you answer these questions.
1. Where and when was the original Globe theatre built?
2. Why is the Globe associated with William Shakespeare?
3. While watching a performance, where did the wealthy patrons sit?
4. What were "groundlings" and where did they locate themselves during a performance?
5a. When was the globe torn down? 
  b.  When was the New Globe rebuilt?

To answer questions 6 a & b, click below and scroll down to "outdoor theatres" on the left.

click here

6a.  What was the name of the first theatre in London?
  b.  What other theatres existed during Shakespeare's time?


STOP # 4

Some Useful Information On the Plays You Will Be reading


Twelfth Night



Romeo & Juliet


Hamlet

Problems with the site?  E-mail me at
engramja@staff.ednet.ns.ca