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Cultural Overview Shakespeares Era 1500s AD William Shakespeare lived in the late 1500s which was a time where England was relatively divided in terms of living standards and social status while also recovering from the Black Death that still ravished its lands The average step in the ladder of society at the time was the humble peasant who lived in what we would see as appalling conditions Most people lived in a tiny cramped up 3 bedroom house or less with anywhere from 8-30 other people living there Depending on the family the households was divided according to rank the mother and father shared a room the daughters and servant girls slept in one room and the sons and field workers slept in another room Most houses also only had thatched roofs of straw which provided little protection from the elements but since there were around 20 people in the house the body heat helped keep it warm Peasants also only had a bath around once a year which was taken in May which left them smelling fifthly for the rest of the year only having about 1-2 pairs of clothes Most people married young like at the age of 11 or 12 Life was not romantic back then as we may picture it Built to the engineering standards of 1599 the famous Globe Theatre playhouse was a large circular structure three stories high A small straw hatched roof only partially covered the circular structure giving it an appearance very much like an American football stadium where the center is uncovered In the center pushed up against one side extended the 5 feet high main stage At the back of this stage facing the interior walls were two doors and a main entrance consisting of a curtain Behind this were changing rooms for the actors To get back on stage they would enter from the arras or the two side doors
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