· After fall of Rome (5th & 6th) century, drama languished in Europe.
· From AD 400-900, almost no record of dramatic productions.
· 10th century: church revives theatre by incorporating dialogues into Mass.
· Brief dialogues developed into:
1. Mystery plays that dramatize stories from Bible.
2. Miracle plays based on lives of saints.
3. Morality plays that personify virtues and vices in allegorical stories.
· The plays’ didactic content was gradually abandoned in favor of broad humor and worldly concerns.
· By 16th Century religious drama was replaced by secular drama.
· No longer supported by church, playwrights must find a way to make audience pays for entry.
· Plays were changed to please the audience and keep them coming and paying.
· Audience made from all classes so playwright included philosophy and poetry alongside violence and jokes.
· Theatre accommodated around 25 hundred.
· Rounded exterior with partly roofed yard in the center.
· Interior walls had three galleries of seats sheltered from weather and rain.
· In front of the stage was the pit which was less comfortable and cheaper as audience would stand to watch play.
· Because of its structure, theatre provided intimate atmosphere as audience surrounded stage on three sides.
· Stage was big enough to allow wide variety of actions like banquets and battles.
· Setting not elaborately indicated by scenery or props and action was not interrupted from set changes.
· Two theatrical conventions as a result of theatre structure:
1. asides: speech directed only to audience to inform them of characters’ thoughts (impossible with Greek amphitheatre)
2. soliloquy: speech delivered by actor alone on stage, revealing actor's state of mind.
· Financial situation deteriorated when William was teenager.
· He had limited education but was a learned man.
· At 18, married 26 year old Anne Hathaway.
· By the age of 21, Shakespeare had to support wife and three children.
· By 1592 he was in London earning a living as actor and playwright.
· He was connected with the Lord Chamberlain’s Men who built the famous Globe Theatre in 1599.
· 1597, he was prosperous enough to buy a house called New Place in Stratford.
· 1611, retired to New Place with his family.
· On a street in Venice, Roderigo argues with Iago who he paid to help him win Desdemona. Roderigo has just heard Desdemona married Othello.
· Iago shows contempt for Othello who just promoted Cassio over Iago as lieutenant.
· Iago and Roderigo tell Brabantio that his daughter was abducted by Othello the Moor.
· Meanwhile Othello is asked to attend at the Duke’s table.
· Brabantio follows to accuse Othello in front of Duke, of witchcraft against his daughter.
· Duke and senate take Othello’s side when they hear that it’s his war stories that won Desdemona, not his witchcraft.
· Duke asks Othello to head to Cyprus to defend it against the Turks, Desdemona goes with him.
· Cassio’s ship arrives, followed by Desdemona’s ship.
· Waiting for Othello, Cassio clasps Desdemona’s hand.
· Iago uses this incident to plant seeds of betrayal in Othello.
· Iago gets Cassio drunk. Roderigo provokes him so they start fighting.
· Governor attempts to hold Cassio down but Cassio stabs him.
· Othello arrives, told by Iago of what happened, Cassio loses Othello’s favor.
· Iago advices Cassio to seek Desdemona to gain Othello’s favor back.
· Desdemona hears Cassio and sympathizes with him.
· Iago asks his wife, Desdemona’s maid, to fetch him Desdemona’s handkerchief.
· Iago uses Desdemona’s pleas in favor of Cassio to raise Othello’s suspicions.
· Iago plants Desdemona’s handkerchief in Cassio’s room.
· Finding her handkerchief in Cassio’s room, Othello consults with Iago who tells him he will kill Cassio.
· Iago stabs Cassio, Othello hears his cry, assumes he killed him so he heads to kill Desdemona.
· Othello smothers Desdemona in her bed, maid arrives, Desdemona cries murder then changes her story admitting suicide.
· Maid tells Othello about handkerchief, he goes after Iago to kill him.
· Othello is captured but he kills himself before he is taken to his trial in Venice