Elizabethan Drama

Elizabethan Drama

Renaissance was the period, which was evolved during the tenure of Elizabeth I. Literary prospect of this tenure is worth mentioning. Elizabethan period is famous and can be remembered because of the development in every field of life. Although, the progress of renaissance was slow yet this period is remembered because of the growth of literature. People increased their interest in dramas and university graduates, who were educated, can write and earn by showing their mastery in writing plays. Some of the university wits are remembered because of their immense interest in this field. Prior to Elizabeth’s period, people did not show interest in the plays as they were mostly moral and religious plays but with the emergence of new minds, people started gaining interest in plays and most of the free time, which the spent, was the theaters.It was the period, when England consolidated and many people migrated to London, therefor,keeping in view the interest of the people in drama, theaters were built. Elizabeth herself was also fond of drama; therefore, apart from the theaters, plays were also performed at royal court.

Before the period of Elizabeth, moral plays were popular but the trend was discarded with the rise of new minds in this fields. To resolve a mystery, the vengeance for a crime and seeking morality was not enough for the people and adding new categories in drama was the need of hour. Today’swell-known artist had developed their interest in writing plays and thus they added new categories of plays.Moral plays were limited and they were not enough to present human nature in different ways. Furthermore, seeking morality, only through miracle plays, was not sufficient for the people. In Elizabethan period, categories like comedy, tragedy, romances and history were added, which compelled the people to attend theater in order to learn the all prospects of life.

University wits began to write plays and they became prominent because of their different style of writing. Some prominent writers among them are Thomas Kyd and Christopher Marlow followed by Shakespeare. These writers are as fresh today as they were in that era because of their universal style. Some other play writers of Elizabethan period are John Lyly, Ben Johnson, George Peele and Robert Greene. These were the writers, who transformed the taste of dramas by their writing styles. For instance, Ben Jonson is known because of his cynical comedy. Thomas Kyd and Christopher Marlow are best recognized because of their tragedies. Christopher Marlow was prominent as compared to Thomas Kyd because of the usage of blank verse in his plays. Some notable plays of Christopher Marlow are Tamburlaine, Dr. Faustus and Jew of Malta. However, Dr. Faust is noticeable among them, in which a scholar because of his ambitions faces the downfall.

Elizabethan period is best because of the development in every filed of life but when it comes to history of English literature, the tenure of Elizabeth is also known as the age of Shakespeare because of the work of this great writer. Christopher Marlow and Shakespeare both have resemblance in their plays. Even sometimes, it has been said that “no Marlow, no Shakespeare”. Christopher Marlow lived very short life but his name was remembered because of his talent. Nevertheless, Shakespeare’s early life is not clear but his immediate popularity in the field of drama is worth mentioning; his plays are usually divided into four main categories, which are history, comedy, romances and tragedy. Nonetheless, he cannot bound himself to only one category; therefore, he combines comedy with tragedy, romance with comedy and tragedy with history. Shakespeare’s most popular tragedies are King Lear, Macbeth, Othello and Hamlet. His plays are still adopted by the film industry because of their universality.

Say it Elizabethan period or the age of Shakespeare but it was the time when the writers had the time to show their hidden talents because of the emergence of theaters in London. Every writer showed his talent in form of writing plays with different thematic concept but Shakespeare was the one whose plays were mostly concerned with historical incidents and Greek concepts. Whereas, his comedies and romances are imaginative. Aristotle’s concept regarding the belonging of protagonist from upper class was ignored and the writers had proved that the element of catharsis could be fulfilled while portraying the hero from the upper middle class or lower class. The three unities had also been underestimate by the writers. For instance, in Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale” and Christopher Marlow’s “Dr. Faustus”, unity of time had been underestimated by these two great writers.

Any article, on Elizabethan drama, can never be concluded without mention the name and work of all the writers of Elizabethan period. Major writers of that era are; John Lyly (1554-1606), who is famous for his combination of prose and poetic romances. His romance called“Euphues” is masterwork. Robert Greene(1558-1992) is known because of his simple and easy versification, influent style, classic ornaments and his comic humor. His interesting plays are; “The Honourable History of Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay”, “The Comical History of Alphonsus King of Aragon”, “A Looking Glass for London and England”, “The History of Orlondo Furioso” and “The Scottish History of James, the Fourth”. Similarly, the last one among them is John Webster (1580-1634), who is best known for his tragedies. His “The White Devil” and “Duchess of Malfi” are regarded as masterpiece of all times.

Thus, if Elizabethan period is known as the age of renaissance besides the age of Shakespeare then it is because of the evolution of drama. In this period, amongst all the other writers, Shakespeare was prominent figure because of his masterful dexterity. By setting aside the only genre of religious play, writers have introduced new genres to dramas such as comedy and tragedy. The plays, before Elizabethan, were religious focusing only on moral theme but the Elizabethan dramas are more secular and convenient, focusing on the heroic figure.In a nutshell, Shakespeare’s mastery, Ben Johnson’s satirical comedy, and Christopher Marlow’s tragedies made the Elizabethan drama a remarkable piece of literature.Hence, it is admitted fact that as far as the plays are concerned, Elizabeth era was the golden age for the world of English literature.

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