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Elizabethan Theatre

The first generation of professional playwrights in England was known collectively as the "university wits." Their nickname s Old Wives\' Tale (c. 1595) and Nashe\'s Summer\'s Last Will and Testament (1600) are simply popular shows, charming medleys of comic turns, spectacle, and song. Peele was a civic poet, and his serious plays are bold and pageant-like; The Arraignment of Paris (1584) is a pastoral entertainment, designed to compliment Elizabeth. Robert Greene\'s speciality was comical histories, interweaving a serious plot set among kings with comic action involving clowns. In his Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay (1594) and James IV (1598) the antics of vulgar characters complement but also criticize the follies of their betters. Only John Lyly, writing for the choristers, endeavoured to achieve a courtly refinement. His Gallathea (1584) and Endimion (1591) are fantastic comedies in which courtiers, nymphs, and goddesses make rarefied love in intricate, artificial patterns, the very stuff of courtly dreaming.


The rising Puritan movement was hostile to the theatres, which the Puritans considered to be sinful for several reasons. The most commonly cited reason was that young men dressed up in female costume to play female roles. Theatres were located in the same parts of the city in which brothels and other forms of vice proliferated. When the Puritan faction of Parliament gained control over the city of London at the beginning of the English Civil War, it ordered the closing of all theatres in 1642 — though this was largely because the stage was being used to promote opposing political views. By the time monarchy was restored the theatres re-opened. The English King and many writers had spent years in France and were influenced by the flourishing French theatre of Louis XIV, especially in tragedy. However, Restoration audiences had no enthusiasm for structurally simple, well-shaped comedies such as those of Molière, but demanded bustling, crowded multi-plot action and fast comedic pace, and the Elizabethan features of multitude of scenes, multitude of characters, and melange of genres lived on in Restoration comedy. The Elizabethan western" style="margin-bottom: 0in">

For 50 years, drama had been the highest form of literature in English, and the Elizabethan writers had gained a reputation through much of Europe, as attested in Don Quixote and elsewhere, as the finest dramatists since the Roman Empire. After the closing of 1642, the late 17th-century extravaganza of Restoration comedy was the only drama of real significance in English until Irishmen such as George Bernard Shaw, John Synge and Oscar Wilde revived the art more than two centuries later.

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Публикувано от: Стефка Видинова

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