All For Love: More Sentiment than Tragedy

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The heroic play was the special product of the Restorations drama. The Puritan rule closed the theatre in England in 1642. But the drama retained its hold under the Cromwell government. The playwright William Davenant obtained permission to stage a play called ¡§The Siege of Rhodes¡¨ an opera* in 1656. To this opera pattern, Dryden contributed the heroic play, ¡§The Conquest of Granada¡¨. In it he cited examples of the ancient Greek writer Ariosto, with his story of love and valour (great bravery) as to his conception of the heroic play. Thus the heroic play combined some of the features of an Epic poem with some features of drama but was utterly unlike Elizabethan tragedy. This kind of the play was, generally, written in Heroic Couplets. Dryden's major heroic plays like ¡¥Indian Emperor¡¦, 'Tyranic Love', ¡¥The Conquest of Granada¡¦, ¡¥Aureng Zebe' are more than heroic plays. After 1675 Dryden gave up writing heroic plays. (Opera: Drama in which all or part of the dialogue is sung, and which contains instrumental overtures (proposition), interludes, and accompaniments. Types of musical theatre closely related to opera include musical comedy and operetta.) fæ All for Love - is it a heroic play? : It would be always unfair to describe All for Love as a heroic play. It does not fulfill or posses all three elements required in a heroic play. First of all contrary to heroic plays written in heroic couplets, it is written in blank verse. Indeed Dryden¡¦s All for Love requires no outrageous exaggeration in depicting of either passion or virtue or valour. It has a little space for poet's imagination from running rio... ... middle of paper ... the play. On one occasion, Cleopatra herself becomes over sentimental, saying that Nature had intended her as "a wife, a silly, harmless house hold dove, fond without art and kind without deceit." In Act V, she bewails (laments) the curse of doting (loving) on her lover. The play indeed brings out the catharsis of the feeling of pity. Characters are responsible for their calamity and misfortunes. Their suffering and deaths here are entirely due to the faults in the characters - hero and heroine. They had not control over their illicit passion because fate had made Antony and Cleopatra, in capable of any control. In spite of all shortcomings, All for Love is a great achievement of the Restoration drama. It lacks the high ardour (great enthusiasm) and passionate romance of a tragedy of Shakespeare, but it represents the sublime, a divine theory of love.
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