Elizabethan Drama

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The term, Renaissance, comes from the Latin word 'rinascere' that means to be reborn. The Renaissance was a great cultural movement - - a period of renewal, revival, and growth. The Renaissance began in Italy during the early 1300's. By 1600 the cultural revival had spread to France, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and other European countries.

Many Renaissance scholars and artists studied the art and learning from ancient Greece and Rome, attempting to recapture the spirit of those cultures in their philosophies and their works of art and literature. New ideas in art, astronomy, science, literature, mathematics, philosophy, religion, and politics were developed and advanced by a few individuals. But the influence of the Renaissance impacted and shaped the future, leading to a modern era. Of all the practices of Renaissance Europe, nothing is used to distinguish the Renaissance from the Middle Ages more than humanism as both a program and a philosophy. The humanist philosophy stressed the dignity of humanity, and the humanists shifted intellectual emphasis off of theology and logic to specifically human studies. In pursuing this program, the humanists literally created the European Renaissance and paved the way for the modern, secular world.

It was of great importance in the development of English comedy that Plautus, and particularly Terence, had a leading place in the scheme of Renaissance education. Tudor schoolboys acted Roman comedy for the improvement of their conversational Latin and thus acquired their ideas of dramatic art. The result was an indoctrination of Plautine and Terentian method that quickly made itself apparent in English plays of academic nature.

But it was the plays of Lyly that were the fi...

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...o being by the success of that play.

Edward, Prince of Wales comes upon Margaret, a keeper's daughter and the belle of Fressingfield, in her dairy, and falls in love with her as she hands him a cup of milk. He commissions Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, to act as his go-between and win him the girl's heart that he may make her his mistress. Lacy discharges his trust with so much goodwill that he himself comes to love Margaret and is loved by her. At first the prince is furious and would kill the traitor, but he ends by forgiving him and uniting the lovers.

Greene, by his taste for the romantic and his moments of tenderness, foreshadows Shakespeare, as does Lyly by his wit, Kyd by his tragic atmosphere, and Marlowe by his lyrical eloquence. Those various gifts had yet to be united in one man and one work. Shakespeare was to gather them together and to enhance them.
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