Essay on The Globe Theater

This essay has a total of 657 words and 4 pages.

The Globe Theater



The Globe Theater changed the course of English Theater forever. The Globe broke rules of
ownership, class standards, and promoted the greatest playwright ever, William
Shakespeare. Throughout its history the Globe Theater has produced the best of
Shakespeare and his amazing plays and when it was closed London never felt the same. But
once again Shakespeare is upon us. The newly re-built Globe gives us one more chance to
re-live Shakespeare’s plays. Through examining the history and collapse of the Globe
Theater one can see how it has come to its recent re-birth, and that it is here to stay.

The Globe Theater was opened in London in 1599. James Burbage, half owner of the theater,
built the Globe. The other half of the theater belonged to five men of Lord Chamberlain’s
Acting Company. William Shakespeare was the most famous member and owner in the Company.
During this time period, it was unusual for the players to actually be owners of the
theater at which they performed (Miller-Schutz 1).

The Globe was a central feature of London life. It was the place of the first
performances of Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth. The Globe Theater was a
gathering place for all social classes. Normally it would be uncommon for the Queen or
any other royalty to be in the presence of so many commoners, but at the Globe it was
different. There were no social standards on admission, only on where you were able to
sit.

The structure of the Globe was made out of timber and built in a round shape. The
three-story theater had twenty wooden bays, oak pillars, a thatched roof, and a permanent
stage. The Globe had an approximate diameter of a hundred feet, which allowed it to hold
about three thousand spectators (Gurr 104).

In 1613, during a performance of Henry VIII the Globe accidentally burned down, luckily
none of the thousands of audience members were hurt. John Orrell describes that day best
in his book, Rebuilding Shakespeare’s Globe:

The text [in Henry VIII] calls for “Drum and trumpet, Chambers discharged’, a ‘warlike
voice’ to announce the arrival of ‘a noble troop of strangers’. On the fatal day,
however, the voice of the chambers, or cannon, accompanied a tongue of fire which
accidentally caught the thatch. The wind rapidly fanned the flames all around the roof,
and in an hour or two the house was in ruins.(93)

After the fire, the playhouse was immediately rebuilt on its original foundations, but
this time the roof was tiled not thatched to prevent future fires. John Orrell believes
“There seems to be no doubt, then, that the second Globe was a more beautiful structure
than the first, and more expensive despite the fact that it was no bigger in plan and may
even have been built of inferior materials” (94).
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