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Drama became the national literary manifestation of the time for different reasons:

Ø  The theatres were open to everybody and the admission prices were relatively low;

Ø  plays could be understood by everybody, lattered and unlettered;

Ø  the theatres - going habit was very diffoused;

Ø  there still was living menory of moralities and interludes;

Ø  humanism introduced a new interest in classical drama;

Ø  there were lots of talented playrights;

Ø  the shape of the theatre and of the stage was drammatically functional;

Ø  the theatre was patronized by Court and aristocracy;

Ø  Elizabethan England was quite "theatrical" in itself;

Ø  the theatre was a real mirror of society.


In the Elizabethan society there was the variety of people: Catholics, Puritans, scientists, nobles, mercants .

According to medieval conception, each class had an individualsocial status wich had been allotted to everyone at birth.

Society was a mirror of divine order, according to a precise hierarchy, at the top of wich ther was god, followed by angels, men, animals and objects, in descending order.

For this reason, ther was a "god" in every "kingdom" of life: the king among men. The lion among animals. The rose among flowers . . .


Drama derived from breaking of this order, but new techniques made it easier to present it on the stage.

The new Elizabethan hero was full of passion and doubts and replaced the old allegorical characters. The relationship between the laws of men and of nature was emphasized.

The natural phenomena were presented as the consequence or the presage of criminal actions.


the language was affected by the concept of hierarchy. For example, a monarch was ed to the sun to emphasizehis role.

The use metaphors, blank verse, stichomythia, was wide spread and the language was like real living speach. This was very important because the English plays were written to be performed, the language had to be convincing and the actors had to have great verbal skill.


Up to 1576, plays were performed in the inns, on a platform raised in the yard sorounded by galleries. That made an auditorium.

In 1576 James Burbage, an actor and a carpenter, beult the first playhouse outside the town, called "the theatres". Within a few years, lots of theatres were built, and the most famous was "the Globe".


The theatre were designed as wooden structures and had a circular or octagonal shape and three tiers of galleries surrounding a yard open to the sky.

In this yard there was a roofed raised stage where the actors performed, called "outer stage". At its back there was a curtain, that concealed a second stage, called "inner stage", for smaller scenes.

Over these stages there was the "upper stage", where the musicians played or that was used to represent a balcony or the wallsof a town. The actors entered and went out through two doors on the curtain or a trap - door opening on the floor.

The scerery was very simple: few objects symbolized a place or the role of the actor.


Performances usually started at 2 o'clock in the afternoon and lasted about 2 hours.

The nobles, paying  12 pennies, could sit on the stage; the people, who payed 2 pennies, could sit in one of the galleries; the "groundlinds", the people who payed 1 penny, stood in the yard.


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