In Elizabethan times people paid great homage to the queen Elizabeth 1. During the 16th century there was great tension between parliament and the monarchy, and Elizabeth upset many Catholics, although she did restore peace in the country later on. Popular amusements included music and dancing. The most favoured instruments were the bagpipes, the fiddle, and the lute. Dancing was considered to be good for the mind as well as the body.
There was not much technology i. . TV’s, radio’s etc, so theatres were very popular. Theatre groups performed forms of drama such as tragedy, comedy, tragic-comedy, and historical. Shakespeare would have had great difficulty with staging because of the lack of props and poor special effects. With no lighting, the actors would have to use dialogue to determine the difference between day and night. A lot of the essential background information had to be expressed in the stage directions.
And liegemen to the Dane’ tells the audience that the play is set in Denmark and the lines ‘ tis bitter cold’ and ’tis now struck twelve’ show the time and the weather. Because of the Elizabethan audiences were very superstious, Shakespeare could also use symbolism as an effective alternative. Spirits from heaven tended to come from an upper canopy that represented heaven and spirits from hell came from a trapdoor below the stage. The opening lines set the atmosphere for the rest of act 1. The mood is melancholic with a sense of mystery in the air.