Greek and Elizabethan Theatre Essay

Greek and Elizabethan Theatre Essay

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William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, and Ben Johnson are names that have resonated through the centuries. Not since ancient Athens has there been such gluttony of talent, producing stories for the ages. Might Athens be were these Englishmen found their inspiration? Greece produced its share of legendary playwrights; Sophocles and Euripides are two of the most famous. There are far m Elizabethan England gave birth to some of the most famous names in theatre. ore similarities between Elizabethan and Greek Theatre then there are differences. The influence of both eras is felt even today, stage productions of Shakespeare and Euripides are performed from London too Broadway and everywhere in between. I believe that both eras have influenced modern theatre simply because the Greek so obviously influenced Elizabethan theatre.
The name most associated with excellence in theatre is William Shakespeare. His plays, more than any other playwright, resonate through the ages. It may be safe to say that he has influenced more actors, directors, and playwrights than any thespian in the history of the stage. But what were his influences? During the Middle Ages theatre was dominated by morality, miracle, and mystery plays that were often staged by the church as a means to teach the illiterate masses about Christianity. It wasn’t until the early sixteenth century that Greek tragedy experienced a revival, in turn, inspiring a generation of renaissance playwrights.
Greek and Elizabethan theatre, while similar in some respects, had a few large differences. The Greeks believed in a certain unity of theme, which was prevalent throughout the production. Greek plays were often drawn from myth or of historical significance, so it seems that only ki...


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...s to, to stagnate is to die. I believe it is an unfair question to ask which era was most influential. Instead we should ask how each era has influenced the modern era. Without either era theatre today would be a vastly different arena.
Speaking from a personal perspective, however, I would have to say that the Elizabethan era has meant the most to me over the years. William Shakespeare, Kit Marlowe, and Thomas Middleton have all had an effect on how I write, on how I tell a story. While the language may have changed the fact that we look into our own hearts in an attempt to find the truth behind our existence has not. And while we may not always succeed, it makes the world a bit brighter, to have those times when someone can tell you a story that so enthralls you that you are able to leave the mundane world behind for awhile and drift in a world of imagination.

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