By Peter Hyland

ISBN-10: 031216274X

ISBN-13: 9780312162740

ISBN-10: 0312162766

ISBN-13: 9780312162764

ISBN-10: 0333598806

ISBN-13: 9780333598801

ISBN-10: 1349249521

ISBN-13: 9781349249527

Peter Hyland presents a hugely readable account of the ancient, social and political pressures of Shakespeare's England and the fabric stipulations less than which his performs have been written, together with a entire description of the advance and standing of the theatrical career. half the e-book is given over to a survey of the performs and examines various arguable matters that come up once we ask accurately what we will be able to 'know' approximately them. in the event you are daunted by means of the amount or the impenetrable prose of a lot fresh writing on Shakespeare, Hyland's booklet could be a stimulating creation.

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And the like power have Kings. 14 This mystification of royal power was underpinned by the doctrine of 'the king's (or queen's) two bodies', which proposed that the monarch had a 'body natural' and a 'body politic'. The body natural contained the body politic; the body natural could die, but the body politic was immortal and passed on to a dying monarch's 42 An Introduction to Shakespeare rightful successor, which in England would normally be his or her first-born son. It is clear that, in the case of Elizabeth, neither a first-born son herself nor having one of her own, this doctrine was problematic and in need of continual readjustment, and that it must have generated problems in the debates over who would succeed her.

Long-held beliefs were being put to the test of a scepticism that had arisen out of scientific discovery, especially in astronomy and medicine, out of exploration and the discovery of the New World and 'new 44 An Introduction to Shakespeare found lands', and out of changing ways of thinking about the individual, his role in society and his relationship with God. Some beliefs resisted, some were modified, some were supplanted, and if there was an Elizabethan world picture it was marked by diversity rather than uniformity.

Raising sheep was an efficient way to use land and a far less labour-intensive activity than growing crops, so many labourers were displaced from the land and without work. As a result there was a steady migration of rural workers to the towns, especially to London. Increased opportunities for education produced a growing number of intelligent and ambitious men who moved to the capital in search of opportunities and employment that might advance them (we could count Shakespeare as one of them).

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An Introduction to Shakespeare: The Dramatist in His Context by Peter Hyland


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