Characteristics and Great Figures of British Renaissance Era

Published: 10th May 2010
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Renaissance literally means rebirth. It refers to especially to the rebirth of learning that began in Italy in the fourteenth century, spread to the north including England by sixth century, and ended in the north in the mid-seventeenth century (earlier in Italy). During this period, there was an enormous renewal of interest in study of classical antiquity. Renaissance was also an age of discoveries, both geographical (exploration of the new world) and intellectual, for example Copernicus. In fact, Renaissance thinkers often thought of themselves as ushering in the modern age, as distinct from the ancient and medieval eras.

Great Figures of Renaissance Era:

a. William Shakespeare

Shakespeare was the greatest writer in Renaissance era. He wrote many dramas, plays, and sonnets. Shakespeare liked to return to different historical periods at different time, and it is interesting to see that the same historical subjects return in his early period, his middle period, and his late plays. Very often the political questions examined in the history plays and the Roman plays have clear links with the political situation in England at the time Shakespeare was writing-but he is always careful not to offend the monarch, or the earls and lords who financially supported his theatrical company. Many other writers at that time were not so careful (or clever) and were put in jail for criticizing their superiors. The genres of Shakespeare works are:

· Tragedies, such as Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, King Lear, Othello

· Comedies, such as Merchant of Venice, Midsummer Night's Dream, as You Like it, Winter's Tale, The Tempest, etc.

· Historical plays, such as Julius Caesar, Richard III, Henry IV, etc.

· Fictional plays, such as Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice

* Hamlet (1600)

Hamlet had become the best known of all Shakespeare's plays. The main character faces a familiar series of problem. Hamlet was a tragedy. At the end the hero dead, the harmony in the universe was overturned. Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, is deciding whether to go on living, or die. He has to face the fact that his father, the king, has been murdered by his own brother, Claudius, who is now the king. In addition, Gertrude, Hamlet's mother, has married this new king. Hamlet's duty is to avenge his father's death. However, to kill a king is one of the great moral problems.

b. Christopher Marlowe

Marlowe was most closely connected with Shakespeare's works beside Ben Jonson. Marlowe's plays are quite different in style and content from Shakespeare's. They are tragedies with superhuman heroes who stretch the limits of human life in several ways. The language of Marlowe is more classically based than Shakespeare's: where Shakespeare's characters speak the same language as their audience. Marlowe's characters use a more poetic style which was influenced by his university studies of Latin and Greek dramatic poetry.

Marlowe's best-known hero, Doctor Faustus, has sold his soul to devil in exchange for all knowledge and power. The play is a series of scenes showing Faustus's ambitions, but in the end he has no more time and when the devil returns to claim the soul he has bought, Faustus in his final moments tries to keep death away.

Characteristics of the Era:

The characteristics features of this era were:

1. Religious and toleration

The most characteristic feature of the era was the comparative religious tolerance, which was due largely to the queen's influence.

2. Social contentment

This was an era of comparative social contentment, in strong contrast with the days of England. It's proved, that many works have been influenced by social background. The increase of wealth, the improvement in living, the opportunities for labor, the new social content, these also are factors, which help to account for the new literary activity.

3. Enthusiasm

It is an era of dreams, of adventure, of unbounded enthusiasm springing from the new lands of fabulous riches revealed by English explorers.

Copyright (c) Ahmad Alim Aziz

Alim has been writing articles online for nearly 3 years. Not only does this author specialize in literature and technical writing, but you can also check out his latest website on broom holder which reviews and lists best broom holder product and accessories, includes dust pans

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