thesisexperts.com we employ professional writers and researchers to help you
with whatever topic you need. Whether the paper is due in a week or in
a day, a professional writer from thesisexperts.com will help you solve your
essay and term paper problems. Feel free to call our toll-free 24-hour
service at 1-888-774-9994. Our state-of-the-art database will ensure
that your paper is delivered on time... every time.
Your Custom Research Paper Right Now!!!
and Discovery in the Shakespearian/Elizabethan Era
Shakespeare was born in April 1564 and died in April 1616. His active career
as a playwright and writer spanned from approximately 1588 to 1612. During
those twenty-four years,
was going through a period of unprecedented global expansion as it
established the hegemony it was to maintain for centuries.
way of illustration, between 1606 and 1612, Shakespeare’s productions
included King Lear, MacBeth, Antony and Cleopatra, Pericles
and The Tempest (Bloom, 1985, p. 191). During that same short period
the English founded Virginia (1607), the French founded Quebec (1608), the
Spanish founded Santa Fe (1609), and the Dutch founded New Amsterdam/New
York (1612) (Palmer and Colton, 1978, p. 948).
Ultimately, global expansion was a key aspect of political
developments during this period.
maritime voyages of discovery and the heroics of individual explorers were
subjects of popular discussion and popular art at the time. Critics have
suggested that the plotting of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, where a
ship founders on an island peopled by survivors of a previous mishap, was
directly inspired by events relating to global exploration (Wills, 1995, p.
37). The following brief discussion will detail the events of discovery and
exploration that were ongoing during Shakespeare’s lifetime.
during Shakespeare’s lifetime the English had only recently
. Commercially, it remained a new development where they predominated.
However, during Shakespeare’s lifetime the most important English
discoveries were being made in
, predominantly in the illusive search for the ‘northwest passage’ to
the riches of
and the spice producing regions.
The search for the
began with Frobisher’s first voyage in 1576, launched when Shakespeare was
twelve. While initial discoveries of gold proved unfounded exploration in
the region of
was continued in 1585 by John Davies.
Shakespeare’s career reached its apogee, the ill-fated explorer
Hudson met his end. In 1607 and 1608
led expeditions searching for a northeast passage north of
. In 1609, while working for the Dutch, he explored his namesake the
in a voyage that led directly to the establishment of
three years later. However, in 1610,
sailed for the
. Icebound over the winter, he announced his intention to continue the
quest. His mutinous crew refused and set Hudson, his son, and a handful of
loyal sailors adrift in a small boat in the bay that now bears his name (The
Canadian Encyclopedia, 1988, p. 1019). Thus, as Shakespeare’s career
reached its climax, British explorers were actively searching for both a
northeast and a northwest passage through the
the same time they were exploring the possibility of settling areas in
between the French settlements in the St Lawrence and the Spanish dominions.
The first was in
(1607) and eventually a string of settlements “were established in a long
”(Parry, 1961, p. 106). Uniquely, these British settlement attempts were
joint-stock enterprises given legitimacy by a royal charter. According to
Parry, discussion of the benefits, costs and complications of exploration
and settlement in North America was “the subject of careful and detailed
discussion” during the first decade of the seventeenth century (1961, p.
106). It is intriguing to contemplate Shakespeare’s attitude on this
pressing contemporary issue.
aspect of the underside of the global advances
was making was the development of the slave trade. English involvement in
slave trade from
commenced in 1562, two years before Shakespeare’s birth and flourished
during his lifetime (Swisher, 1998, p. 170).
English were by no means alone in the race for discovery.
Their continental Catholic enemies, the Spanish and French, were also
active. In the
had established dominion throughout South (Cortez, 1530) and
(Pizzaro, 1521) with the only exception being Portuguese settlement in
. The discovery of silver in
in 1545 and subsequent discoveries of gold enriched the Spanish treasury.
During Shakespeare’s age ‘authorized’ pirates such as Sir Francis
Drake became famous for raiding the Spanish galleons as they returned to
(Parry, 1961, pp 60-64).
the North of the British, the French were active in the St Lawrence area
(as noted earlier
was established in 1607). Cautiously the French were pressing inland from
their tenuous shoreline establishments in the Maritimes and along the St
Lawrence. Samuel de Champlain was beginning three decades in the
and establishing the basis for the French fur trading empire (Parry, 1961,
Portuguese were also extremely active in
and throughout the east at the time. In the closing decades of the fifteenth
century, the Portuguese led by Diaz and da Gama had been the first to
‘turn’ the horn of Africa and reach India by sea (Palmer and Colton,
1978, p. 102).
, the smallest of the European powers, had been one of the first European
nations to vigorously pursue exploration. It maintained colonial interests
, and South Asia/Malaysia.
during Shakespeare’s lifetime, all the major European powers viewed
exploration and expansion as an imperative. In
it was viewed as the foundation of commercial prosperity and a key element
of government policy.
as the above commentary has firmly established, the major European powers,
, were firmly committed to exploration and colonization or, at least,
commercial exploitation during Shakespeare’s lifetime. However, another,
equally important form of discovery was also ongoing. As
was expanding the boundaries of the known world and extending its dominion
over the globe, a mental revolution was also underway and the universe as a
whole was being redefined.
productive life is neatly placed in the midst of the century between the
publication of Copernicus’ Revolutions of Heavenly Orbs (1543) and
the death of Galileo (1642) (Kuhn, 1957, pp. 224-226). Thus, even as
Europeans explored the globe, they were also redefining the structure of the
solar system as well as digesting the idea that the earth was not the center
of the solar system. The Ptolemaic system was losing its ascendancy after
centuries of being unchallenged.
scientific or cosmological revolution was also an important aspect of
‘exploration and discovery’ during Shakespeare’s lifetime. Adjusting
the earth’s place in the cosmos was as important a development as the
spectacular advances that were being made in the exploration of the surface
of the earth itself during Shakespeare’s productive years. In conclusion,
during Shakespeare’s lifetime,
was experiencing a period of unprecedented global expansion and erudition,
as it established the hegemony it was to maintain for centuries.
Howard “Chronology” in William
Shakespeare, The Tragedies Chelsea House Pubs: 1985, p. 191.
Canadian Encyclopedia Hurtig Pubs: 1988.
Thomas S The Copernican
R R and Joel Colton A History
of the Modern World Alfred A Knopf: 1978.
J H The Establishment of the
European Hegemony: 1415-1715 Harper & Row: 1961.
Clarice “Chronology” in
on Macbeth Clarice Dwisher ed. Greenhaven Press Inc. 1998, pp.
Gary Witches and Jesuits: Shakespeare’s Macbeth Literary Research
Your Thesis or Dissertation From The Service You Can TRUST -
ThesisExperts.com Custom Order Form!