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Shakespeare' S Progressive Significance In His Tragedy "Romeo And Juliet"

5660 words - 23 pages

I. IntroductionA. The historical background of RenaissanceThe 16th century in England was a period of breaking up of feudal relations and establishing of the foundations of capitalism. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth many writers appeared on the literary scene. There had never been an age in English history which saw so many brilliant writers working at the same time. Their efforts were part of the intellectual as well as a literary movement that “began in the 14th century in Italy and later spread to France, Spain, the Netherlands and England. It was called Renaissance and its ideal was Humanism.”(Luo 64) Renaissance is a French word which means “rebirth” in English. In the 15th and 16th centuries, scholars in western European countries had a keen interest in the Greek and Latin culture. “That is the art and science of ancient Greek and Rome were being born again after long years of neglect.” (64) The humanist took great interest in the welfare of human beings. They went on to new and magnificent achievements in every phase of human endeavor. According to them "it was against human nature to sacrifice the happiness of this life for an after life.”(64) They argued that man should be given full freedom to enrich their intellectual and emotional life. “In religion they demanded the reformation of the church. In art and literature, humanists held their chief interest not in ecclesiastical knowledge, but in man, his environment and doings and bravely fought for the emancipation of man from the tyranny of the church and religious dogmas.” Humanism shattered the shackles of spiritual bondage of man's mind by the Catholic Church and opened his eyes to "a brave new world" in front of him.
B. Early life experience of the great dramatistRecords about Shakespeare’s life experience are very rough, which even once were regarded as a mystery. Shakespeare was born in Stratford-on-Avon, a small town to the northwest of London. His father was a burgher, a well-to-do glove maker and later became an alderman of the town. Shakespeare may have attended the grammar school of the town where he may have learned “little Latin and less Greek”, as noted by his contemporary Ben Johnson. It is apparent that about the year 1578, having gone heavily into debt, John Shakespeare, William’s father, lost two large farms inherited by his wife from her father. Thereafter, he was involved in a series of lawsuits, and lost his post on the Stratford town council. Matters got steadily worse for him, until finally in 1586 he was declared a bankrupt. But by this time the future poet-dramatist was already a family man himself. In 1582, in the midst of his father’s legal and financial crisis—and perhaps because of them—Shakespeare married Anne, daughter of Richard Hathaway of the village of Shottery near Stratford. The Episcopal Register for the Diocese of Worcester contains their marriage record, dated November 28, 1582. At this time, Shakespeare was only 18, and the bride was eight...

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