Ohio 7th Grade World History/Literature

Before the Renaissance and Reformation the only literature that people had was the Bible. The “re-birth” caused Protestants and humanists to create pieces of writing stating their ideas. Literature was affected by Johannes Gutenberg who invented the printing press. IT enabled people to create multiple copies of writings in different languages. The humanists and Protestants were able to spread their ideas all over the world. One of these humanists was William Shakespeare, commonly considered among the greatest English writers in history.

William Shakespeare: 1564-1616

A conjectural reconstruction of the Globe playhouse.

William Shakespeare was an important figure in literature. He was an English poet, playwright, and an actor. He wrote 38 plays and 154 sonnets. A sonnet has 14 lines, a structured rhyme and a logical structure. He attended King Edward VI Grammar School. He married Anne Hathaway at age 18. Shakespeare was a great playwright who created comedies, tragedies, and histories. A history is when Shakespeare make a powerful person who he thought had many faults look good, but made his opinions known on a different person. A comedy of his was “A Midsummers Night Dream”, and a tragedy was “Hamlet”. He also wrote poems, like “Venus and Adonis”. All of his literature contributed to humanism because he introduced ideas that the Middle Ages didn’t cover. Shakespeare talked about themes that are always going to be a problem. For example, he talked about forbidden love, death, war, etc. That’s a lot about Shakespeare.

Machiavelli: 1469-1521

Portrait showing Niccolò Machiavelli

Niccoló di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was also very important to the advancement of literature. Born in a small town near Florence, Machiavelli was an Italian political philosopher, musician, poet, and romantic comedic playwright. He wrote many books, but one of his most famous books is The Prince. It describes how a prince can retain control of his realm. In this book, he focuses on the new prince, not the one born into royalty. That is because a new prince has to “stabilize his newfound power”. His main interests were politics, military theory, and history. He had a realist political theory. His influences were Cicero, Sallust, Livy, and Xenophon. He also influenced Thomas Hobbes, and James Harrington. Some of his other works are Discorso sopra le Cose di Pisa, Decennale Secondo, Clizia, and Frammenti Storici.