Elizabethan Theatre. Why was Elizabeth ’ s reign such an important period in the development of the theatre? How does it still influence us today?. Introduction.
Why was Elizabeth’s reign such an important period in the development of the theatre?
How does it still influence us today?
Elizabethan writers introduced theatre audiences to horror, the supernatural and GORE…
The most well known playwright of Elizabethan times is Shakespeare. But there were also other writers who in their time were just as, or even more famous than the Bard.
OR DID HE?
Evidence suggests that the real Shakespeare was an illiterate businessman!
Ben Jonson was born into a poor and unhappy family. He was first recognised as a writer with his play Every Man In His Humour. This play painted a brilliant picture of Elizabethan life. Ben Jonson was thrown into prison several times, for his political writings and also for killing a man in a duel. Other famous plays were Every Man Out Of His Humour, and Jonson’s masterpiece, Volpone.
Lyly began his career as a writer
with several novels, called Euphues.
He then began writing plays, at first
mainly for young acting groups made up from boys choirs. His plays often contained songs and commented on court life. His famous plays are Endymion (1591), Galathea (1592), Love's Metamorphosis (1601), and The Woman in the Moon (1597).
Kyd was well educated and shared a room with the other famous Elizabethan writer Marlowe. Kyd's play, The Spanish Tragedy (1589), was the most popular and influential tragedy of Elizabethan times. Other plays attributed to him are Cornelia and Arden of Feversham. In 1593, he was arrested on the charge of heresy. He was eventually released but died in poverty and disgrace.
Elizabethan theatre has had a very important effect on today’s theatre, and other parts of every day life. For example:
- Imogen in the play Cymbaline,
- Jessica in the play The Merchant of Venice
- Miranda in the play The Tempest
- Olivia in the play Twelfth Night
- Cordelia in the play King Lear
“If you cannot understand my argument, and declare "It's Greek to me", if your lost property has vanished into thin air, if you have ever refused to budge an inch or suffered from green-eyed jealousy, if you have played fast and loose, if you have been tongue-tied, hoodwinked or in a pickle, if you have knitted your brows, insisted on fair play, slept not one wink, laughed yourself into stitches, if you have too much of a good thing, if you have seen better days or if you think it is high time and that that is the long and short of it, if you believe that the game is up and that truth will out even if it involves your own flesh and blood, if you lie low till the crack of doom because you suspect foul play, if you have your teeth set on edge (at one fell swoop) without rhyme or reason - it is all one to me, for you are quoting Shakespeare!”