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    English Renaissance Theatre

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    Italian Renaissance ( Neoclassical) Drama
    -Moral lesson- “to please and instruct”
    -The Three Unities -time, place and action
    -Five act structure
    -Separation of genres
    English Renaissance ( Elizabethan) drama
    -Mixed neoclassical, medieval, and uniquely english elements
    – Disregarded neoclassical unities
    – Episodic structure
    – Mixture or serious and comic elements
    – Appealed to all classes and levels of education
    -Varied plot sources:
    –Classical material( mythology and history)
    –Contemporary popular literature
    –English history
    Episodic plot characteristics of Elizabethan plays
    – Early point of attack
    -Chronological organization
    -Basic unit is short scene
    -No act structure
    -Multiple plots and subplots
    -No restrictions upon time and place
    -locale only specified in dialogue when important to action
    -Mix of serious and comic elements and characters
    -Blank verse more often than rhymed verse
    Conventions of Elizabethan drama
    – Plot need not be original
    – Plot sources can be combined
    – No visual realism
    – Period authenticity not required
    – Audience could be directly acknowledged
    – Female characters, but no female actors
    The first generation- the University Wits
    – Thomas Kyd
    – John Lyly
    – Robert Greene
    – Christopher Marlowe
    Thomas Kyd
    – Popularized revenge tragedy
    – The spanish Tragedy
    – Many Senecan devices – ghosts, asides, soliloquies , 5 act structure
    The Senecan revenge Tragedy
    – A secret murder, usually of a good ruler by a bad one
    – A ghostly visitation of the murder victim to a kinsman, generally a son
    – A period of intrigue or plotting, in which the murderer and the avenger scheme against each other, with a slowly rising body count.
    – A descent into either real or feigned madness by the avenger or one of the auxiliary characters
    – An eruption of general violence at the end , that utterly decimates the dramatis personae, including the avenger
    John Lyly
    – Wrote for children’s companies
    – Specialized in Italian-style pastorals
    – Mixed classical mythology with English subjects and characters
    -Witty, expressive dialogue
    Robert Greene
    -Wrote pastoral comedy for the adult companies
    -Resourceful heroines
    -Disguised characters
    Christopher Marlowe
    -Developed the “chronicle” or history play
    – Edward 2
    -Constructed a choherent story of diverse historical elements
    rearrangent and telescoping of events to create clear causal structure
    The Second Generation
    Ben Jonson
    William Shakespeare
    William Shakespeare
    – Professional playwright/actor of public theatre
    – Active from 1592 – 1612
    – Interweaving of multiple plots
    – Episodic structure
    Shakespearean texts
    – Quarto
    –individual plays
    — Texts vary
    – Folio
    — Collection of all Shakespeare’s plays
    — Published in 1623
    Ben Jonson
    – Comedies and court masques
    – More conscious than Shakespeare of classical models and neoclassicism
    – More popular and respected than Shakepeare
    – Didactic and moralizing
    – First “poet laureate’ of England – given royal pension in 1616
    Children’s Companies
    – Boys from court chapels and choir colleges
    – Plays used as training in elocution and deportment
    – Neoclassical form
    – Appealed to educated, sophisticated audiences
    – Most respectable type of theatrical troupe
    Adult Companies
    -professional actors
    -English renaissance ( Elizabethan) form
    -Appealed to audience of all classes and backgrounds
    – Not particularly respectable
    Leading adult companies in Shakespeare’s time
    – The Lord Chamberlain’s Men
    -The Lord Admiral’s Men
    Government control of players
    –Acting companies by the Crown
    –Performances by local government
    –Religious Plays banned in
    — Master of the Revels
    Major Elizabethan playhouses
    – The theatre
    – The Curtain
    – The Swan
    – The Rose
    – The Globe
    – The fortune
    – The hope
    The 2nd Globe
    The Second Shephards Play
    -two separate stories
    – First
    –A non-biblical story about a thief,Mak who steals a sheep from three shephards. The thief and his wife try to deceive the shepherds by pretending the sheep is their son. The shephards are fooled at first but then discover the thief’s deception.
    — The storyline switches to the familiar one of the three shepherds being told of the birth of christ by an angel and being told to go to bethlehem
    -The play uses allegorical characters to show what man must do to gain salvation of christ. it is the account of the life of Everyman, who represents all mankind.

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