(from Broadway to English)
THE PLOT OF "Romeo and Juliet" (The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet) by William Shakespeare (1594 - 1597)
In Verona, Italy, there are two families: the Montagues and the Capulets.
These families are always fighting.
The Montagues have a son, Romeo.
The Capulets have a daughter, Juliet.
One night the Capulets have a party and Romeo goes to the party. He meets Juliet and they fall in love.
Juliet’s cousin, Tybalt, sees Romeo and is very angry. Romeo and Juliet wish to get married. They know that their families will be very angry so they go to Friar Lawrence and got married in secret.
The next day, Tybalt sees Romeo. He is still angry with Romeo and wants to fight him.
Romeo doesn’t want to fight but his best friend, Mercutio, does.
Mercutio fights Tybalt. Tybalt kills Mercutio! Romeo is so upset, he fights Tybalt and kills him too!
The Prince of Verona is very angry and sends Romeo away.
Juliet goes to Friar Lawrence for help and says to Juliet: “Here is a special drink. You will sleep for two days. Your family will think you are dead but you will wake up. Then you and Romeo can be free together”.
Friar Lawrence sends Romeo a letter to tell him the plan. But Romeo doesn’t get the message.
He sees that Juliet is dead!
Romeo is very upset and he buys some poison and goes to see Juliet because he wants to “stay with her for ever” - Romeo takes the poison and dies.
Too late, Juliet wakes up! She sees what happened. Juliet decides to kill herself, but the poison is over.
Jiuliet finds the knife in the pocket of Romeo and kills herself. Romeo and Juliet are both dead.
Friar Lawrence tells the Capulets and Montagues what happened. They are so sad and they agree not to fight any more.
Queen Elizabeth I reigned from 1558 to 1603. During her reign the British Empire has experienced a period of splendor in the art of poetry, theatre, music and literature.
She expanded her reign abroad with new colonies across the globe thanks to the renewal of naval fleet.
She expanded British trade in the New World: the today's Americas.
She was considered a very good monarch.
Elizabethan Era is very famous for theatre: the plays of William Shakespeare and of others composers of that time are still very famous today all over the word.
Elizabeth I was a Protestant (Christian Protestant) and a strong believer in God.
In Britain, before Elizabeth I, queen Mary I and king Philip II were Catholics (Christian Catholics).
When Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth I she declared that Christian Catholicism was illegal. She was against Catholics religious rebels.
If Catholics were discovered to pray in secret they were punished; sometimes they were also executed.
When Shakespeare was born Elizabeth was already to the throne as Queen Elizabeth I, therefore the works of Shakespeare were created during the same cultural-religious changing era.
Shakespeare knew very well the social and cultural changes around him and around Europe.
During his life he wrote many plays that reflected the social life and the important changes of Elizabethan Era in Britain and in Europe.
William Shakespeare was born in 1564 in
Stratford-upon-Avon, in England. His father, John, was a glove maker.
His mother, Mary, was a farmer’s daughter. He had two older sisters, two younger sisters and three younger brothers.
William probably studied Latin, Greek and history, and left school when he was 14 or 15. Three years later he married Anne Hathaway. They had a daughter called Susanna and twins named Judith and Hamnet. Sometime before 1590 he left Stratford and went to London, the capital city of England.
London’s first theatre opened in 1576. Shakespeare worked in London as an actor and then started writing plays too. In 1593 the plague, a terrible disease, killed thousands of people and theatres were closed. During this time William started to write poems instead of plays.
His short poems are called sonnets.
Shakespeare helped build a new theatre called The Globe. It opened in 1599. It was round and had space for 3000 people. At The Globe some people stood in front of the stage and others had seats. The audience shouted, clapped, booed and laughed while they watched plays.
Musicians created special noises to make the plays more exciting and they had a cannon to make big bangs! No women acted in Shakespeare’s time: men and boys played all the parts. Shakespeare wrote comedies with happy endings, like A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He wrote tragedies which had sad endings, like Romeo and Juliet. His history plays are about kings and queens, like Henry V. Shakespeare wrote 38 plays, maybe more. He loved language and invented new words and expressions that we still use today.
William became rich and famous. He had houses in London and in Stratford. He died when he was 52 on 23 April 1616. His plays and poetry were very popular 400 years ago and they are still popular today. People all over the world love his work because he wrote wonderful stories about very interesting people.
Click on the link below to get information about Shakespeare and the Elisabethan Era from my blog The Travelling Teachers:
Elizabethan England had 4 main social classes: The Nobility, the Gentry, the Yeomanry, and the Poor. Each social class identified how people could dress, where they could live, and the kinds of jobs that people and their children could get.
A nobleman was rich and powerful during the reign of Elizabeth and also during the reigns of her father and grandfather, Henry VIII and Henry VII. A person could become a noble by birthright or by grant from the king or queen.
The gentry were the people who were knights, squires, gentlemen and gentlewoman who were very rich and did not work for a living. Their numbers grew rapidly, and became the most important class during Elizabethan time. Most of the important people of this time came from this class.
The Yeomanry were the ‘middleclass'. They could live comfortably with the little savings they built up, but at any moment they could lose everything in case of illness or period of severe famine. While the gentry spent their money for building large homes, the yeomen used their wealth more simply to expand their land and improve it.
The last class of Elizabethan Era was the day labourers, poor husbandmen, who did not own their own land. Artisans, shoemakers, carpenters, brick masons and all those who worked with their hands belonged to this class of society.
This class included also serving-men and beggars. Under Queen Elizabeth I, the government created an assisting system for the labourers class and the result was the famous Elizabethan Poor Laws.
The Poor Law
The first British Poor Laws passed in 1598 and continued till 1948.
In the Elizabethan Poor Law of 1601 there was a tax devoted to poors and an organization of people dedicated to the poor surveillance in order to find them a work.
The predecessor of Queen Elizabeth I, Mary, was Christian Roman Catholic. Mary was known for persecution of Protestants.
Religion in Europe during the 16th century was marked by the Protestant Reformation.
In 1521 the teachings of the monk Martin Luther (1483–1546) started the Protestant Reformation also known as the Reformation; the Protestant religious movement wanted to reform the Roman Catholic Church and establish Protestant Churches.
The Reformation consisted of several Christian factions leaving the authority of the Catholic Church in protest of canonical and procedural practices.
One of the main protest was against the “policy of indulgences” started on 1517: the payment of sums of money to be absolved from all sins and direct go to heaven after death.
Calvinism and Lutheranism formed the major Christian factions, called Protestants.
Although this movement originated in mainland Europe, the Protestant Reformation spread to England with King Henry VIII (father of Elizabeth I).
Many northern European countries, such as the German states, the Netherlands, England, and Scotland, adopted the Protestantism, while southern European states, such as Italy, France, and Spain, remained Catholics.
Catholics believed that human beings needed the assistance of intermediaries to help them to communicate with God. The church itself acted as an intermediary with God. The Church offered the official blessing to those people who had a good behaviour during life, because church was capable of interceding with God to protect people on earth.
Protestants believed that Christian needed only of the authority of the Bible. They believed Christians were wrong because they encouraged worship of something different from God.
When Elizabeth I inherited the throne she called the Parliament in 1559 the to create a new Church of England.
Elizabeth I closed all relations with the Catholic Church and issued the Reformation Bill which appointed Elizabeth as the Governor of the Church of England.
1559 Act of Supremacy
Elizabeth declared herself Supreme Governor of the Church of England.
Anyone refusing to take the Oath could be charged with treason.
Act of Uniformity
On the 8th May 1559, Queen Elizabeth I gave her approval to The Act of Uniformity which made Protestantism England’s official faith, established a form of worship which is still followed in English Parish churches today.
After Protestant Reformation Europe was divided between Catholics and Protestants and this split caused many persecution in Europe: Catholics against Protestants.
England in the 16th century experienced a massive immigration of Dutch, Flemish, and French Protestant refuges.
Many immigrants settled in London with the new economic opportunities due to the English Reformation and the improvement of manufacturing.
Jews in 16th-century England practised their religion secretly, and many of them converted themselves to Christianity or pretended to have done so.
Jews were not many in Elizabethan England. About 200 Jews among the thousands of strangers living in late 16th-century London.
Virtually all Jews practised their faith in secret: most were of Spanish or Portuguese descent, Marranos who had survived the Inquisition.
The main reason of migration was because there was better land in the new countries, more food, less people and they could practice whatever religion they wanted.
Around the late 1580’s, people started to migrate from England to the new world. The reason people migrated from England to Americas was mostly because of disagreement of religion.
Plague Outbreak 1592
The massive expansion of population in London in late sixteenth century caused many problems. London became crowded, dirty and with many diseases. In particularly the plague in 1592 caused many deaths. It was called “the Black death” .
Public places were closed and therefore also theatres were closed.
The unsafe conditions in London resulted in a major emigration from London, as people fled to the countryside to escape the plague.
New World Pilgrimage
In the early seventeenth century, English Separatists where a religious group who did not agreed with the reforms of the Church of England.
Puritans were another religious group who believed that the only one authority for the church was found in the Bible.
These groups during the seventeenth century began leaving England. This was in part due to religious persecution that began against all non-members of the Anglican Church.
Citizens who missed the weekly Sunday procession, had to pay heavy fines and often were imprisoned.
These religious groups became the first settlers in the New World (Americas).
The Mayflower was the ship that in 1620 transported 102 English Pilgrims, including a core group of Separatists, to New England.
The Elizabethan era (1558-1603) was notable for large immigration and emigration within, as well as to and from England. Immigration within England mainly consisted of people from the rural country side moving to the capital city of London.
Immigration from other European was mainly do to religious reasons, as was emigration from England. London was one of two European cities that experienced the greatest population growth from 1500-1800 nearly doubling its size in the late 16th century. These immigration and emigration events influenced political, social, economic, and religious aspects.
London as the attractive place to live
The Elizabethan era is considered the height of the English Renaissance, a cultural movement in England. This movement involved the revolution in literature, art, and music. London became the centre for Theatre performance and art, attracting rich people to the capital for these luxuries. The great influx of wealthy inhabitants in London, attracted English merchants and working class who also immigrated to the city. These new economic opportunities motivated them to sell their products or provide services to the wealthy inhabitants.
London Centre of Trade
During the Elizabeth era, London became the center of trade for all of Europe. Traders traveled to London from North Africa and India. This created a new category of immigrants as a notable population of Africans and Indians set up residents in England.
The presence of African's marked the beginning of the slave trade in early England. It is difficult to estimate the actual number of Africans that were taken to or immigrated to England during this time period.
But in around 1600, the presence of black people had become a problem for the English government. Their numbers recently increased by many slaves freed from captured Spanish ships (imported by the Spanish colonizers). The presence of black people suddenly came to be seen as a nuisance.
Elizabeth's Expulsion Orders
Queen Elizabeth I issued three expulsion orders from 1596-1601, calling for the expulsion of all dark-skinned citizens in England. This act had no effect on slaves without citizenship, it was only for the expulsion of legal working citizens.
The poor London Economy in the 1590's created resentment toward African immigrants, who were presumed to be taking away jobs. This intolerance measures of the government toward a particular ethnic group is considered an early indication of racism that transferred over to the Americas.
British Immigration - Facts of the 21st century:
In Britain live about 8 million people from different minority ethnic groups.
In mid 2014 the total of Britain population was 64,6 millions **
(12% was the total of minority ethnical groups)
In 2011 the Census conducted in England and Wales registered that population was composed of:
- Asian groups (Pakistans Indians, Bangladeshi, other) were 6,8% of the total population
- Black groups were 3.4%
- Chinese groups were 0,7%
- Arab groups 0,4%
- Other groups were 0,6% (Jews 0,0004%)
The same 2011 Census recorded 56 million residents of England and Wales in 2011 (included UK born and non-UK born population)
59 % were Christian (both Catholic Church and Protestant Church)
4.8 % were Muslims
0,4% were other religions
25% had no Religion
Britain – A Multicultural Society
This multicultural society causes many problems for the British government. There are a lot of street fights between whites and non-whites, because the people are not living equal. Each ethnic group follows its religion and its cultural events. Many white people still have a lot of prejudices against ethnic minority groups.
These facts are a big cause for the racial discrimination and the violence of many white people against minorities. White people are frustrated about illegal immigrants crossing the English Channel. There are also problems in education and employment: children of ethnic minority groups need more special help in education than whites. Among the ethnic minority groups the unemployment is very high.
** According to 2014 data of Office for National Statistics
But there are also positive aspects of the multicultural society in Britain.
Although all these problems exist, the ethnic minority groups are in no other European country as good as integrated than in Britain.
The offer of food is nowhere bigger than in London, and there are lots of mixed ethnic communities.
The Religion: a bridge between religion at the time of Elizabeth I and religion today
Because of the historical dominance of Christianity power in England, Christianity is the 'established religion' of the UK.
Bishops still sit in the House of Lords (the UK's second chamber of government)
"Britain is the only country left in the democratic world that allows clerics to sit in its legislature as of right".
Click below for more information about immigration and multiculturalism in the UK from my blog The Travelling Teachers :
Britain joined the EC in 1973 (which means that it was a member of the EU till the United Kingdom's recent withdrawal from the European Union - widely known as Brexit – following the referendum of June 23rd 2016).
From then on (from 1973), the issue of Europe has been the most divisive one within the Labour and Conservative parties for many years and still causes passionate discussions still today, despite the 52% of June 23rd EU referendum votes were in favour of leaving the EU.
51,9% voted to Leave the EU – 49.1 % voted to Remain in the EU.
Click below for more information about EU and the Brexit from my blog The Travelling Teachers :
The immigration is a very complex phenomenon which today is assuming new forms. Let's try to make some distinction to give a name to what is happening in the contemporary world. How to call people who move from a place to another place?
The word “migrant” indicates a generic category for those who move from a place to another place. Some migrants are “in transit” because for example they reach the south of Italy where they stop for a few months; then they reach their final destination in the north of Italy or to a Northen European country.
The word “immigrant” is technically a migrant who reaches the country of destination and settles there with the status of a resident. Following this criterion the category of immigrants also includes that of refugees (because the refugees are almost by definition people who are established in the country of the final destination).
Let's make another distinction between “economic migrant” and established “irregular migrant” “Economic migrants” are migrants and immigrants who move for economic reasons. “Irregular migrants” are those who, for whatever reason, enter a country without legal travel documents. It is a category that includes many others, such as refugees (potential asylum seekers and refugees) who in most cases arrive irregularly in countries of destination, without document of identification.
The term non-EU-citizen includes any person who is not a citizen of one of the 28 member countries. It is a term in itself neutral, but has come to assume, at least in the Italian debate, a negative connotation.
The refugee is a precise legal category, and refers to a person who has been recognized, in fact, the refugee status. That means that the person has been forced to leave its country because of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, and which can not return home. Refugees are a special category of immigrants who have a special legal status under the Geneva Convention.
To achieve the status of refugee a person must apply for asylum and wait for a response. The asylum seeker is someone who has applied for political asylum, and therefore the status of a refugee in a foreign country. It is, again, a category defined legally and temporally. In fact, the asylum seeker becomes refugee or economic migrant, or irregular migrant when he gets a definitive answer to his application for asylum.
In Italian the word “profugo” (which does not exist in English), is used to precisely define who leave their country for reasons of force majeure, as distinct from the term refugee, which instead defines who gets asylum.
But beyond the terms we are using today to define the migrants, “profughi” or the fugitives or even refugees it is important to understand that these are people with serious difficulties to which we should recognize the dignity of each person with all his needs but also with all of its resources.
And now the some songs from the show!
Taylor Swift - Love story
Rag'nBone - Human
John Legend - All of me
Elena - Mamma Mia (He's Italiano)