Shakespeare Quarto Text
PLAGIARISM! PLAYS WERE COPIED!
- Plays during the Elizabethan era were big business! Money!
- The more Plays a Theatre produced the bigger the audience and the greater the profit!
- Plays were written and then performed as soon as possible - they were not printed until after they were performed
- Shakespeare was just paid a one-off fee for the play - there were no Royalties!
- There were no Copyright Laws to protect Shakespeare's work!
- The actors used 'foul papers' or prompts from the Playwrights own copy of the play which were produced as a Quarto text (sometimes the Playwright would pay a scribe to produce a better copy of the play)
- So rivals from other Theatre companies would copy the plays!
- Rival members would attend plays to produce unauthorised copies of plays - notes were made and copied as quickly as possible
- These would be taken to the rival theatre and another version of the Play would be produced!
- These unauthorised and inferior text copies of William Shakespeare's plays were produced as Quarto Texts
WHAT IS A QUARTO TEXT?
- A Quarto is a sheet of paper folded in half and then in half again - thus creating four quarto sections
- The reverse of the paper was also used for writing giving eight sections in all
- Each of the 8 sections would be used as a page of the play
- Shakespeare would have used a Quarto when writing his plays
- His rivals would have written copies on a Quarto
- The text on a Quarto was very basic with only limited stage directions
- There are variations of Shakespeare plays due to Quarto Text - Foul Papers
- As many of Shakespeare's plays were not printed in his lifetime changes to the original plays were inevitable made
- Many of Shakespeare's plays were first printed seven years after his death in the First Folio
- The content of the plays in the First Folio were committed to print from a fellow actor's memory or from the rough drafts or ' Foul Papers ' which had been written as Quarto Texts
- Printers used the Quarto Texts and then sold the plays. They often made totally unauthorised changes to a play in order appeal to potential customers!
- There are copies of these Quarto texts still in existence but none are believed to be in Shakespeare's own hand writing
- The Shakespeare plays as detailed in the 'First Folio' are very much like the plays we read today