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British literature I.

Old English (600 1000)


- Latin literature
- chronicles and poems
- Anglo-saxon literature
- The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle - inspired by King Alfred the Great
- described English history until the
middle of the 12th
century
-Beowulf epic poem - heroic poem about a strong hero Beowulf
- about 8 th century
- 3000 lines
Middle English (1100 1500)
- John Wicliffe
- professor of Oxford University
- translated the whole Bible into English
- religious literature - the Roman Catholic Churche criticised
- influenced Jan Hus
- Geoffrey Chaucer
- outstanding author
- one of the first English writers
- The Canterbury Tales unfinished
- depicts pilgrims on a journey to a shrine
(=poutn msto) in
Canterbury, who tell each other stories
to pass the time
- Sir Thomas More
- wrote the Utopia - a vision of imaginary island with perfectly
organized society
Renaissance literature
- interest in science
- Elizabethan Age - a golden age for theatre
- William Shakespeare
- The English poet and playwright
- Often described as the greatest writer in the English language
- Was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 16 th century (also died there)
- In London he started a very successful career as an actor and
writer
He was also part owner of a playing company called the Lord
Chamberlains Men
-The company built their own open-air theatre on the bank of
the river Thames
the Globe
- wrote 36 plays - translated into every major language and read all
over the world
- plays based on events or people in history (Henry V, Julius
Caesar)

- comedies - As You Like It,The Merchant of Venice, The


comedy of Errors,
A midsummer nights dream, The Marry
Wives of Windsor, Much
Ado About Nothing
- tragedies Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, King Lear, Othello
- his later plays like Hamlet are known as problem plays they
deal with difficult,
philosophical questions
- Besides dramas he wrote extraordinarily beautiful sonnets
- His plays are still topical after four centuries
Hamlet
- tragedy
- main character Hamlet the Danish prince
- Denmark, Elsinor castle
- Hamlet saw the ghost of his dead father. It told him, that Hamlets uncle
Claudius murdered him, when he was sleeping (he poured a poison into his
ear). After kings death, Claudius married Hamlets mother Gerturde and
became the king.
Hamlet wanted to revenge. He pretended to be mad in order to find out
opinions of other people. He asked actors (just arrived to the castle) to play
a part of the murderer of the king (just in the way it happened). Hamlet
was observing Claudius and waited for his reaction. Claudius escaped and
it confirmed his guilt.
Hamlet wanted to tell his mother about the murderer. He knew somebody
was listening them behind the curtain he thought it was Claudius, so he
thrust (=bodnout) at the person. After that he found out it was Polonius (a
father his love Ofelia).
Claudius wanted to get rid of Hamlet, so he sent him to England (to kill him
there). Hamlet revealed his intention (=mysl) and escaped back to
Denmark.
In the meantime Ofelia got mad and drowned. Her brother Laertes
decided to kill Hamlet, so he called Hamlet on a fight. He poisoned his
sword. During the fight Hamlet was injured, but then they changed the
swords and Laertes was injured too. Furthemore the queen died too (she
drank wine, which was poisoned by Claudius, but she didnt know). In the
last minute Hamlet thrust Claudius and revenged for his father. Then he
told everything to his friend Horatio. Horatio wanted to commit a suicide
(to show a loyality to Hamlet), but Hamlet persuaded him not to do so.
Although it ended in tragedy, Hamlet reached his goal.