During the period of Queen Elizabeth’s reign in England, the traditional public theatre was transformed into the professional theatre. That is why, actors and playwrights began to take the higher positions in the English society. The development of the theatric art in England was associated with the Renaissance period and significantly dependent on its principles when dramatists referred to the classical Greek and Roman tradition. As a result, a lot of theatres were opened or re-opened in London.
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The Globe Theatre was one of the re-opened theatres to present the new approach to the drama and theatric art according to the standards of the Renaissance. The Globe Theatre is closely associated with the name of William Shakespeare who was among the theatre’s owners and main playwrights.
The role of the Globe Theatre in Shakespeare’s life is significant because the possibility to participate in the theatre’s The Lord Chamberlain’s Men Group and to write plays for the theatre’s performances contributed to the development of Shakespeare’s career as a professional playwright, influenced his personal life, making him one of the influential persons in London, and affected his works with references to the plays’ main ideas, themes, and motives.
William Shakespeare is one of the most prominent playwrights and poets of the 16th-17th centuries. The period of Shakespeare’s professional growth is connected with the reign of Queen Elizabeth.
The reason for the fact is the Queen paid much attention to the development of art in England and responded to the ideas of the Renaissance. During this period, the popular public theatre is replaced with the professional theatre. According to Thomson, the years of “crisis between 1597 and 1604 saw the beginning of the end of the ‘popular’ theatre.
They also saw, despite the appearances of 1597, the end of civic influence over the progress and control of the theatre” (Thomson 6). Thus, the art of theatre became more independent and that is why it became more socially significant. William Shakespeare began to work with The Lord Chamberlain’s Men Group in the 1580s, and the Globe Theatre was reconstructed in 1599 because of the significant role of the group in the process.
Montrose states that “at the opening of the Globe and the turn of the century, the drama of the public and professional stage was reaching an unprecedented level of artistic achievement, social importance, and economic profitability” (Montrose 20). Thus, the re-opening of the Globe Theatre meant the expansion of possibilities for Shakespeare to write his works and perform them in front of the public not only as a form of entertainment but also as the specific reflection of the social issues.
The development of the Globe Theatre also influenced Shakespeare’s personal life and contributed to his income’s growth. Professional successes of Shakespeare in writing plays along with performing on stage were accentuated by the changes in the playwright’s social positions.
The growth of the theatric art’s importance resulted in increasing the actors and playwrights’ status. Shakespeare often played in front of the Queen before the Globe Theatre was opened, and later the theatre became one of the most popular places in London because of the success of Shakespeare’s plays.
For instance, the first play which was performed on stage of the new Globe Theatre was Julius Caesar. Thus, Sohmer pays attention to the fact that with the help of Julius Caesar Shakespeare “proclaimed the new Globe a theatre of courage and ideas, and a place where one must observe with the inner eye, listen with the inner ear” (Sohmer 183). Moreover, “Shakespeare was a shareholder in a theatre company and a theatre building of which he himself was a major asset” (Thomson 18).
From this point, all the aspects of the playwright’s life were connected with the Globe Theatre which provided Shakespeare with the successful professional career and make him famous not only in London. Furthermore, the participation in The Lord Chamberlain’s Men Group and shares in a theatre company made Shakespeare an influential person in London who had the good reputation and the Queen and later the King appreciated Shakespeare’s works and performances.
The activities associated with opening the Globe Theatre inspired Shakespeare, and he concentrated on writing such prominent works as A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet. Moreover, a lot of comedies were written during this period. Using the Classical Drama standards as a pattern, Shakespeare provides his own vision of the drama and theatrical performance.
The possibility to work as a playwright, director, and actor at the Globe Theatre provides Shakespeare with a lot of chances to realize his intentions in detail. Worthen stresses “the variety of forms, formats, and practices of printed drama testifies to a fluid relationship between page and stage”, and this detail is characteristic for Shakespeare’s works which were written during that period (Worthen 36).
Shakespeare’s play is not simply the written text because the details of the further performance are taken into consideration, and moreover, Shakespeare related all his plays to performing at the Globe Theatre’s stage (Wilson 296-297).
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The themes and ideas of Shakespeare’s plays are significantly influenced by the playwright’s background and experience. That is why, it is possible to speak about the role of the Globe Theatre in Shakespeare’s choosing the themes as the place where different social issues can be discovered and examined.
Montrose states that Shakespeare “generates dramatic action by combining conflicts grounded in such fundamental cultural categories as ethnicity, lineage, generation, gender, political faction, and social rank” (Montrose 33). All these issues can be observed in the theatre where the public with its specific features plays the role of the audience and where the social conflicts are interpreted and discussed on stage.
It is possible to observe a lot of different characters in the theatre, and “Shakespeare frequently focuses dramatic action precisely between the social acts, between the sequential ages, in the fictive lives of his characters” (Montrose 33). Thus, Shakespeare’s observations helped him develop the fictional characters of his plays and perform them later at the Globe Theatre’s stage.
The Globe Theatre, a wooden open-air building, became the real home for William Shakespeare where he developed his professional skills as a playwright, performed his abilities as an actor and director. The theatre’s role in Shakespeare’s acquiring the social status and income is significant.
Moreover, Shakespeare’s activities in the Globe Theatre also influenced his works, their themes and ideas discussed because the theatre is one of the best places to observe the specifics of the human nature and social relations. That is why, the significance of the Globe Theatre for William Shakespeare’s life and its effects on the playwright’s works cannot be overestimated.
Montrose, Louis. The Purpose of Playing: Shakespeare and the Cultural Politics of the Elizabethan Theatre. USA: University of Chicago Press, 1996. Print.
Sohmer, Steve. Shakespeare’s Mystery Play: The Opening of the Globe Theatre 1599. UK: Manchester University Press, 1999. Print.
Thomson, Peter. Shakespeare’s Theatre. USA: Routledge, 1992. Print.
Wilson, Richard. Secret Shakespeare: Studies in Theatre, Religion and Resistance. UK: Manchester University Press, 2004. Print.
Worthen, William 2003, Shakespeare and the Force of Modern Performance. PDF file. 08 Dec. 2012. <http://catdir.loc.gov/catdir/samples/cam033/2002031061.pdf>.