Historical Context The Renaissance English Literature Essay Free Essay

For this intent, I have chosen the drama by William Shakespeare The calamity of Othello, the Moor of Venice on which information will be given and developed throughout this paper.

During the length of this essay we will happen an analytical geographic expedition on the drama, besides, there will be a word picture of the drama into construction, scenes and characters. Here, we will besides happen the life and importance of this great writer and his societal and historical context.

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The Renaissance, dating from the XV C. to the XVI C. was basically a cultural and rational motion, closely tied to society and political relations of the late fourteenth to the early 17th century. This motion, by which the until so known society became what we call the modern universe, originated from an highly rational Italy and had spread to the remainder of Europe by the 16th century.

The word that symbolizes this period comes from the Gallic “ metempsychosis ” . This term was chosen for the turning involvement in ancient Greek and Roman values. Towns expanded, European economic system evolved, early signifiers of capitalist economy emerged and common, or popular, literature emerged ( although Latin remained the linguistic communication of scholarship ) besides, in France, the linguistic communication of the Paris part replaced Latin as official linguistic communication, even though the latter was still used for some intents, as would be the Church. Furthermore, the middle class arose as new concern category and supported Renaissance acquisition and art, which due to the development of printing besides brought on a communications revolution for which the printed book became a major force for alteration.

During this period, we besides find that there was an huge alteration in European theater, with worthy references of England, Spain, France and Italy. Many major companies were established as for illustration, Chamberlain ‘s Work force: Shakspere ‘s company and the visual aspect of professional histrions both indicated the creative activity of a more serious type of theater. Theatre was “ castrated ” ( work forces as females and vice-versa )

To set how society worked during these centuries, we now know that, for illustration, high category citizens went to “ hear ” dramas ( sitting at the sides, or every bit far as possible ) , whereas the low category citizens stood at the forepart, closest to the histrions. Furthermore, if they could afford it, the blue bloods would sit on the phase to bask the drama from as near up as possible.

Gestures and remarks besides were affected by this. Jokes were said in a low tone so that merely the low category would hear, and intelligent ideas were said out loud so that the high society would hear. Nowadays, it has been reversed ( high category at the forepart, low at the dorsum and top ) . It is of import to province that during these representation there was no unreal lighting. Plaies during the twenty-four hours ( 2-3 hours ) to do the most of what sunlight they could acquire. Theaters closed on Sundays, Lent and pestilences. Private wendy houses could hold dramas whenever they chose, but monetary values were six times the normal rate and were candle lit ( a really expensive light at the clip ) . For this ground, dramas were divided into Acts of the Apostless for candle altering ( they ran out every 30-40 proceedingss ) during which clip minor histrions would play something amusing to go through the clip. Shakespeare did non split his dramas.

What we should besides cognize about this period, is that dramas were non written to be read, but to be seen. For this ground, many dramas have non reached our present clip.

Biography: Writer and information on the writer

In this context of the Renaissance and metempsychosis of theater, the most of import English figure was William Shakespeare. Born in Stratford-upon-Avon on 26th April 1564, boy of John Shakespeare and Mary Arden, William Shakespeare is now a well-known poet and dramatist. Married at the age of 18 to Anne Hathaway ( 26 ) and had three kids to her, a girl, Susanna, born 7 months after the nuptials and twins in 1585, Hamnet and Judith.

We lose path of Shakespeare from 1585 to 1592 until he joins Lord Strange ‘s Work force in 1592. Later, in 1594 he joined the Chamberlain ‘s Men ( the King ‘s Work force from 1603 ) . Not long after, in 1597 he acquires a house in Stratford, New Place, to which he will increasingly retire from 1610. Finally, he died the 23rd of April 1616.

As for Shakespeare ‘s dramatic development, we can split this into several different parts. This division was created for the intent of dating many of his plants and being able to put them into a certain clip in his life.

First of wholly, we are faced with an apprenticeship and experiment period ( dramas written before 1594 ) in which he would compose dramas to delight and suit into the manner of the times and in which we see the influence of school rhetoric, an expansiveness period ( dramas from 1595-1598, Richard II to Henry V ) characterized with a more scenic virtuosity, adulthood period ( from Julius Caesar to Coriolanus,1598-1608 ) known as the period of “ the great calamities ” , and eventually a “ last dramas ” period ( 1609-1612. From Cymbeline to The Tempest ) in which he uses the mixture of phantasy and world, cognition and the ultimate credence of decease and vision of the significance of life.

By the terminal of his life, Shakespeare had written 38 dramas, five “ narrative ” verse forms and 154 sonnets ( verse forms ) .


As we know, Othello is one of Shakespeare ‘s most singular calamities and so, is marked by this specific construction.

The tragic construction is divided into five parts, approximately fiting the five-act construction of Elizabethan Drama. And so, we have the overall model of the play, which presents the hero ‘s or heroine ‘s good luck turning to misfortune and stoping with the chief character ‘s physical licking ( decease ) and religious victory.

The dislocation of this construction would be the followers:


Rising action.

Climatic tableland ( divided into: highest point and turning point ) .

Falling action.


The intent of the debut is to pull attending or explicate the initial state of affairs, which is achieved by: a prologue ( on occasion ) , duologue, and action. The chief characters are presented to the audience ; their relationships and struggles are outlined or suggested briefly. And eventually, context and state of affairs are outlined: topographic point and clip of action. Then, with the 2nd act ( or move two and portion of act three ) we have the lifting action in which we have the development of the major struggle, tenseness saddle horses and suspense grows. The lifting action outlines the hero ‘s psychological character concentrating on his strengths and lacks. Besides, the major elements that will impact the hero and which he will hold to contend against are presented. The climatic tableland ( flood tide ) is presented to us in act three ( or move three and portion of act four ) . This is the highest point of the drama, where the hero ‘s calling is most fortunate and happy. And where we will hold the turning point of the drama, the lowest point in the lucks of the hero. Finally, during this subdivision, a specific event or opinion brings about the reversal of lucks and the hero ‘s tragic fate and devastation are sealed. Next we have the falling action in act four ( or portion of act four ) where the major struggle starts being resolved and minor struggles and subplots start being resolved every bit good by unifying and interacting with the chief struggle. Information is revealed to the audience, who realises how the result of the drama will be and finally the hero slides down towards his fatal destiny and the remainder of the events move towards a black terminal. Finally, in the decision, act five, consequences in the tragic calamity with the hero ‘s decease which is besides the most tense minute in the drama for the characters, entire devastation is ensued and the old order of things terminals and we are shown the beginning of a new one. In this concluding portion of the drama, the audience experiences alleviation and enlightenment about the events.

And so, the construction and scene of our drama consequences in five Acts of the Apostless divided into their different scenes in which we have the debut of some new characters where I will give a brief account of each one as they appear in the drama.

First act ( 3 scenes )

1st scene: A street in the metropolis of Venice

RODERIGO, a Venetian gentleman and covetous suer of Desdemona. His jealousy brings him to assist Iago kill Cassio.

IAGO, Othello ‘s ensign. He is the scoundrel of the drama. He is highly manipulative and does his best to lead on the remainder of the characters of the drama. He is besides a really misogynous character and meddlesome in other people ‘s sex life.

BRABANTIO, a arrogant senator and male parent to Desdemona. He feels betrayed by his friend Othello when he learns of the matrimony to his girl.

Servants with torches.

2nd scene: Another scene from Venice

OTHELLO, a baronial Moor in the service of the Venetian province. The drama ‘s supporter and hero. Although he has a singular societal position, he is still really prone to many insecurities as he still feels really self-aware of his race and civilization. His love for Desdemona is twisted into green-eyed monster because of Iago ‘s remarks.


CASSIO, Othello ‘s lieutenant. He will lose his place after a bibulous battle in Cyprus yet he is really loyal to Othello. Iago uses him to do Othello covetous.

Military officers with torches.

3rd scene: A council chamber.

DUKE ( of Venice ) , his function is to open manner for Othello to state us how he won Desdemona and to direct him off to Cyprus.

SENATORS sitting at a tabular array ; OFFICERS go toing.


DESDEMONA, girl to Brabantio and married woman to Othello. She is in secret married to Othello before the drama begins. She is a really determined and collected character.

Second act ( 3 scenes )

1st scene:1st scene: A haven in Cyprus. An unfastened topographic point near the quay.

MONTANO, Othello ‘s predecessor in the authorities of Cyprus.



EMILIA, married woman to Iago and attender to Desdemona. Bing really misanthropic and worldly, she is really affiliated to her kept woman and does non swear her hubby.

2nd scene: A street in Cyprus.

Enter a HERALD with a announcement ; Peoples following

3rd scene: A hall in the palace.


CLOWN, retainer to Othello. The gags he uses reflect and falsify the action and words of the chief secret plans.

Third act ( 4 scenes )

1st scene: Before the palace.

2nd scene: A room in the palace.

3rd scene: The garden of the palace.

fourth scene: Before the palace

BIANCA, a concubine, kept woman to Cassio. She is promised matrimony by Cassio yet he is merely mocking her.

Fourth act ( 3 scenes )

1st scene: Cyprus. Before the palace.

LODOVICO, kinsman to Brabantio. He acts as courier between Venice and Cyprus. The intelligence he bares is that Cassio is to take Othello ‘s topographic point as governor.

2nd scene: A room in the palace.

3rd scene: Another room in the palace.

Fifth act ( 2 scenes )

1st scene: A street in Cyprus.

GRATIANO, Brabantio ‘s kinsman. Accompanies Lodovico and is who announces the decease of Brabantio.

2nd scene: A bedroom in the palace.


In order to finish the assignment I have used assorted founts of information. These include:

Classroom information from our Literature of the Renaissance categories in “ Masaryk University ” .

Classroom information from my Shakspere and his context classes organize my place university “ Universitat Jaume I ”

Classroom information from Middle English besides in my place university.

Web sites such as:

hypertext transfer protocol: //www.lecturalia.com/autor/341/william-shakespeare

hypertext transfer protocol: //evafatimah.wordpress.com/2008/11/04/othello-plot-characters-setting-dramatic-structure/

hypertext transfer protocol: //www.biografiasyvidas.com/biografia/s/shakespeare.htm

hypertext transfer protocol: //nfs.sparknotes.com/othello/

To read the text I have used assorted beginnings, but largely I have stuck to this web site:

hypertext transfer protocol: //scholarsbank.uoregon.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1794/851/othello.pdf

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