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Appunti su William Shakespeare e parte storica: early stuarts, charles I, The chain of being, The sonnets, tragedy, analisi della scena sul balcone, The prologue, elements of drama, metaphysical poetry, e john Donne + The basic of poetry
The Tudor Dynasty and The Elizabethan Theatre
CELTIC AND ROMAN BRITAIN Pre-celtic The first inhabitants of Britain were Britons, Celtic-speaking people. They built a civilization and monuments in southern England like Stonehenge: a burial mound (which is a circle of big stones covering dead bodies) that apparently was an astronomical clock that was used to mark the passing of the seasons. The Celts The Celts were Indo-European tribes from Europe and Asia Minor, settled in England. Etymologically Celts means barbarians from the Greek. They are split into clans, each dominate by a non-hereditary leader. Leader had to be strong, clever and a good seller. Celts lived in hill forts surrounded by high walls, they made iron weapons and clothes by themselves. In battle women could fight as well as men; They were also excellent farmers and hunters. The Celtic priests were the Druids, that were close to nature and had visionary, medical and judicial skills/abilities. The Druids were also the children's teachers. The eldest English written records are some inscription in strange characters, called runes. Roman Britain In 55/54 B.C Julius Caesar and then Emperor Claudius in 43 A.D made military expeditions in Britain. To defend Britain from Celts invasions, the Romans erected Hadrian's Wall under Emperor Hadrian in 121 A.D. With the roman invasion: the suffix -chester (which means camping in latin) was added to the name of some towns (Manchester, Leicester); the...
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roman road sistem, the urban sistem and the social manners were adopted; around towns were erected high walls and were built roman fortresses. ANGLO-SAXON BRITAIN AND GERMANIC HERITAGE 1 The Anglo-Saxon invasion After the Roman invasion, tribes from northern Germany and Jutland came to Britain, like Angles, Saxons and Jutes. At first Britons fought Anglo-Saxons and afterwards they retreaded to the Welsh interior. In these battles one of the best know legendary leader was King Arthur. He became the first legendary king and a Anglo-Saxon hero. The germanic element These northern tribes shared a common germanic heritage and a common culture: they were a tough, warlike race and have given a very high value to the ideal of regal behavior (main kingly virtues: courage, loyality and generosity) The king's lords had to be brave like him, and they had to be ready to put their life at risk for him. Germanic society was aristocratic cause the commanders always had to prove themselves better than the common people. It was also a society ruled by men. Anglo-Saxon society The Anglo-Saxons believed in independence, therefore there were small kingdoms such as Mercia, Kent or Wessex. Besides they were gathered mostly into the countryside, therefore they introduced new farming methods and built self-sufficient villages. In the 6th century, Christianity spread in Canterbury wich later became a place of pilgrimage and a commercial town. Winchester was the chief town of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom and held the most important artistic and literary center. The Christian influence In 597 (6th century) St Augustine of Canterbury led a Christian mission from Rome commissioned by Pope Gregory I: from that moment on, England became a Christian country. Consequently churches and monasteries were essential for the illumination of sculptures, painting and architecture. Christianity introduced the idea of written literature to England, mainly in Latin. The writer Venerable Bede, a monk, was the first to write the history of Britain. The Vikings invasion Vikings came from Scandinavia on their long ships and started to invade Britain in c.(circa) 800. They were gre sailors, traders, fishermen and farmers. They were attracted by wealth of the british monasteries and their treasures. King Alfred the Great fought them a draw (li sconfisse) and divided England with them: the 2 north and the midlands were assigned to the Vikings. century and a half later, Canute, danish king, became king of England. THE ORAL TRADITION A Oral literature For centuries the traditional literature was the spoken word. In medieval Britain, bards (epic singers) or scops (singers of tales) recited poems, tales or stories of myth. Epic and didactic poetry The most important and widespread genre was the epic The finest exemplary of Anglo-Saxon epic poem is Beowulf (compared to Iliad) and then The Seafarer (compared to Odyssey). This type of poetry was also eminently didactic, cause it teaches important values. Alliteration, kennings and riddles Anglo-Saxon poetry makes use of several technical devices: allitteration: repetion of the same initial consonant sound in different words within a single line; kenning (perifrasi): highly formalised compound metaphor, it's also a kind of epithets, riddles: short descriptions of familiar objects in a difficult and enigmatic language. The purpose is to guess what object was (indovinello). BEOWULF Beowulf is the first great example of english literature. The poem talks about the Germanic Ancestors of englishmen: the Danes and the Geats, two scandinavian tribes. Considering that the story is set in a Germanic society, the heroic ideal is essential: the most important values are loyality, courage and strength. 3 The story talks about Beowulf, the nephew of the Kings of Geats, and how he goes to the aid of the king of Denmark whose royal palace is haunted by the monster Grendel and his mother, and BEO kills both of them. 50 years later, he fights against a dragon, and event though he wins, he loses his life. THE NORMANS (Middle Ages) The Norman conquest In 1066, with the Battle of Hastings, the Duke William of Normandy conquered England. The Normans were vikings who had settled on the north coast of France. William I the Conqueror introduced a feudal system wich was already present in Europe. It was a way of structuring society around relationships that were derived from the holding of land in exchange for service. The clash between Crown and Church: Thomas Becket The Church was also organized hierarchically and owned a huge property of lands. Under Henry II there came the first clash between the Crown and the Church in England. The Archbischop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, was against king plans to rule the church, so he spend six years in exile in France. Then he was murdered by king's knights on his return to England, and with his death he became a martyr. Richard the Lionheart Henry II's son, Richard I the Lionheart, was celebrated as a legendary figure for the his audacity and personal charm. During his reign he joined the Third Crusade. Magna Carta and Parliament During the reign of John I, known as the Lackland cause he lost Normandy and French lands, very high taxes were imposed, and they met the resistance of the feudal nobility. So King John was forced by the citizens and clergy to grant the Magna Carta, wich was the foundation of all the future rights and freedoms of the English people: these however only concerned the nobility and the freemen. Henry III provided important political changes as he called to Parliament two rapresentatives from each boroughs, and were voted by the people who had the right to vote (from the various boroughs). WARS AND SOCIAL REVOLT The Hundred Years' War (1337-1453) War between England and France broke out when Edward III claimed the vacant throne of France. One of the most famous victories was achieved by Henry V at Agincourt (in 1415), but the conflict continued; it was only interrupted by other tragic events, like the Black Death (bubonic plague). Under English king Henry VI, the France won so often thanks to Joan of Arc. In the end, 1453 the English kings had lost all the continental possessions except Calais. 4 Religious and social revolt Opposition to the Church developed under the leadership ofJohn Wycliffe. He attacked the supremacy of the pope, he translated parts of the bible from Latin into English and spread it: he inspired the Lollard heresy (LOLLARDI: people who didn't accept the supremacy of the pope). In addition the Peasants' Revolt (social upraising) blew up, caused by the Poll tax,a new form of taxation. The Wars of the Roses (1454-1485) The Wars of the Roses was a civil war between the two noble houses of York and Lancaster. The name derives from the white and red roses that marked the two families' coat of arms: the red rose of Lancaster and the the white one of York. Henry VII, of the Lancastrian dynasty, won the wars against the Yorkist king Richard III. The renaissance started with this event. MIDDLE ENGLISH LYRICS AND BALLADS The predominance of verse Historically speaking, the production of poetry outnumbers that of prose in almos all society, mainly because verses are much easier to remember so they meet the needs of oral cultures; therefore in the Middle Ages the distinction between poetry and prose did not exsist. Medevial lyrics Most of medevial lyrics survives, but they're anonymus and it's difficult to date them. Metrical characteristics It was introduced rhyme, written in metrical feet, and alliteration was mantained. Medieval ballads Are short, anonymus narrative poems or songs passed on orally. Most of them speak of some tragic event, wich includes supernatural elements. They may be based on some romantic figures or some real historical events. Features of ballads The name derives from the old french BALADE (dancing songs). The ballad can be defined like a popular verse, with a very simple metrical pattern: 4 stanzas (quatrains) with 4 beats (accenti) and followed by a refrain (ritornello). LORD RANDAL 5 Lord Randal is a popular Scottish ballad, in form of questions and answers between mother and son. the main theme is his death caused by his true love. he will leave his family material things and will leave the hell and the flames to his true love. language is simple, formed by forty lines and many alliterations. We also talked about other contemporary ballads like the Bob Dylan's version of Lord Randal: it talks about the treath of a nuclear war between the USSR and US. The other one is Geordie of Fabrizio De Andrè, it talks about a young man named Geordie, who is sentenced to be hanged, with the privilege of being hanged with a gold rope, for stealing some deer from the imperial reserve. Geordie's young wife/girlfriend will go to beg the king to spare the life of his beloved. GEOFFREY CHAUCHER Life Geoffrey Chaucher was born in London into a middle-class family and he is considered the father of English poetry and the greatest medieval poet. He was in the service of the King's son and he did many diplomatic trips to France; in one of them, he was captured by the French but then he was ransomed for a large sum. He also went to Flanders and to Italy. During these trips he came into contact with French and Italian cultures and literatures, that influenced his poetry. Works Chaucer's production is traditionally divided into three phases: the French, Italian and English phase. During the French phase, Chaucer wrotepoems inspired to the French allegorical poems (for example the "Roman de la Rose"). In the Italian phase, Chaucer's style and language are more mature. His masterpiece, is "Troilus andCriseyde", adapted from Boccaccio's "Filostrato”.Characters are given a deep psychology and there is ananalysis of love. The English phase is represented by "The Canterbury Tales", a collection of verse tales. It is considered one of the most important works in English Literature. THE CANTERBURY TALES The summary The poem speaks of several pilgrims (about thirty people of all kinds) who travelled with Chaucer to the tomb of Thomas Becket. On the road from London to Canterbury they have to tell two tales (and two on the way back) and, in the end, the best story will be rewarded and the worst will have a penalty. The structure The poem has a dynamic plot. Generally we can say that everything begins with an introduction (general prologue) then we move on to the story of all the stories. Also we know that Chaucer himself is a pilgrim, and not an "invisible narrator" 6 The characters Chaucers gives a potrait of middle class in England, and the use of irony doesn't make it less credible. The first character we met is THE WIFE OF BATH This is Chaucher's potrait of a woman (commare) of Bath, a location famous cause of its weaving (tessuto) trade. The description of her clothing and physical appearance is not only realistic but also an indirect psychological potrait. This woman, even if she's not particulary religious, goes to church and even her pilgrimages have little to do with her devotion; se just wants to meet new people, especially men. This is why she is presented to us like a very sensual being. 7