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1. The history of English Drama 1.

The Origins of English drama Medieval literature lacks individualism as people were extrovert at the time. Everything was determined by religion and rituals. The characters of medieval drama are archetypes, not individuals. Medieval drama (MD) developed from two sources: pagan rituals and the rituals of Christian mass. Its plot is linear with the clash of good and bad.Its message was that man should be grateful for salvation. Its place was the marketplace and it lasted all day long. The actors were amateurs. The texts were written by priests and it was not didactic, it was meant for pleasure. MD was always a comedy: it had a happy ending. It was a two-level drama, it showed the divine world's influence on the human world. Mystery plays included the mixture of old and new religion and they were played by amateurs. Mystery cycles were performed by professionals and they showed the lives of saints. Morality plays were allegorical, they dealt with the general man. They showed the combat of good and bad and man had to choose. The seven sins were personified and tried to persuade man to do bad things but he always chose good. The most famous allegorical play is Everyman.

2. Marlowe Under the reign of the Tudors the rise of the middle-class could be observed. It was also the time of the Renaissance and the rediscovery of Latin and Greek literature and humanist ideas. Sir Thomas More represented these ideas in his famous Utopia, the description of the ideal welfare state. The court needed educated aristocrats and education then meant literature and classical languages. University Wits were a group of scolars from Cambridge and Oxford, who wrote mainly drama. Marlowe was one of them. Marlowe (1564-1593) attended Cambridge university and later he went to London to write plays.Dr Faustus was his second drama.The topic comes from a German legend and it has been dealt with many times in literature. Dr Faustus is a scientist and alchemist who sells his soul to the devil (Mephistophilis) for knowledge. He is a real Renaissance character who doubts the doctrines of the Church and forgets about his limitations. He is a double character, both frightening and majestic.He is bound to fail as he chooses the wrong way. The play is both a two-level play and a morality play. The divine world determines the protagonist's fate and good and bad angels fight for his soul.Thre is a transition of old Ptolemaic and new Copernican view of science in the drama. Marlowe seems to believe that knowledge does not come from books only but also from experience.His third drama is The Jew of Malta about a wicked character who sacrifies even his daughter for money.

3. Renaissance England and its theatrical life Renaissance was a very heterogenous trend, which meant the transition from Medieval art to Neo-classicism.In the 19th century Burckhardt used this term as the revival after the dark Middle Ages. It started in Italy in the 14th century, it meant the rediscovery of antiquity. Due to discoveries and the development of trade, people became richer and their perspective widened. The individual appeared. Secularisation meant that science and arts became independent , it was not subordinated to religion any longer. The medieval notion of the Great Chain of beings was shattered. According to this notion man had a determined place in the universe. Renaissance said that man could change this position. Pico della Mirandola claimed that man had a free will and could choose between the good and the evil. Learning and education became important as the means of elevation, it meant mainly studying the classical languages. In England Renaissance appeared later, during the reign of the Tudors. The court needed educated men, so education became valuable. For example Sir Philip Sidney in his major work Defence of poetry uses the Horatian idea of teaching and delight. The Elizabethan theatre had two sources: native popular tradition (mystery and morality plays) and scholarly tradition(classical texts). There were public and private theatres. There was no scenery, only richly decorated clothes. imagination had a great part. Texts were often lost or pirated. Usually there were more versions of them. Dramas were more than just plays, they penetrated people's lives. Theatres were often dangerous as they were the hotbed of bubonic plague or they often burned down. Later they were considered immoral by Puritans so many of them were closed.

4. Shakespeare and history Shakespeare was born in 1564, he knew Latin and Greek. He did not attend university, his knowledge came from texts. For some years we do not know anything about him, then he turns up in London and joins the Lord Chamberlain's Men, which later became the Globe theatre. He created poems (Venus and Adonis) and sonnets. they are littele dramas between man, woman, time. His dramas were produced between 1592 1613. They are written in blank verse , they are musical and poetic. They have two levels of meaning, overthought (particular happenings) and underthought (metaphysical). During the Elizabethan era he wrote comedies and historic plays. Richard III. is a play which deals with English history and formed the Tudor-myth. The Tudor dynasty was founded when Henry defeated RichardIII at the battle of Bosworth, and he assumed the throne as Henry VII. Shakespeare described Richard as a deformed character, who was born with teeth and a hunchback. His soul is also distorted, he is an evil villain. He is a Machiavellian hero, for him the aim always justifies the action.He has the rightful king murdered so he commits the Cainic sin. There are three layers in richard's behaviour: politically he is a dictator, who destroys his rivals. Psychologically, he mixes courage and genius with hatred, while metaphysically he represents the devil. He is the enemy of England, so he cannot win. Shakespeare's historical dramas connect medieval and modern times. There is a connection between his historical plays and moralities. Everyman is replaced by England. England murdered the king so she must suffer. Later God pities on her and sends Henry Tudor.

5. Shakespeares Comedics The ancient concept of comedy was represented by Aristotle. It demands a happy ending that is why Dantes Divina Commedia is called like this: it starts in hell and ends in heaven. In the Middle Ages only folk comedy existed, which borrowed elements form pagan rituals. The Elizabethen concept had a didactic aspect. Comedy represented human folly and made people laugh at their own mistakes. The court comedy showed the relationship of man and woman and made people smile, not laugh. Shakespeares comedies are in 4 categories. 1. early comedies are based on the order disorder concept. Problems are solved in the forests fairy world. There is supernatural invention. Comedy of Errors, A Midsummer Nights Dream 2. mature comedies they are problem comedics. The Merchant of Venice, As You Like it 3. Problem plays dark comedies. They have an almost tragic beginning but a ruler comes and solves everything. 4. Pastoral comedies they are romances, Winters Tale, Tempest Midsummer Nights Dream (MND) was written for his patrons wedding. It is a two level comedy. The fairy world and the human world are connected by Puck. Lovers flee to the forest and all the love affairs have a happy ending there. But before that the play is full of misunderstandings, illusions and magic. Measure for Measure is a dark comedy of the society. All the characters are sinners in some way. The Duke of Vienna gives his power to Angels. Angelo sentences a young man to death for adultery. The mans sister visits Angelo and tries to save her brother. Angelo promises to save the brothers life on condition that the sister makes love with him. She refues but the Duke, who is in the town solves all the problems.

7. Shakespeares tragedies Towards the end of his life he had dark, chaotic visions. He thought man himself contains the whole, chaotic world. His heroes think they can rule the macrocosm and this moral disorder leads to social disorder. Shakespeare is sceptical, he knows that fate or fortune rule the life. There are 3 kinds of Shakespearean tragedies: 1. tragedy of order concerns social matters e.g. Macbeth 2. tragedy of passion e.g. Romeo and Juliet 3. tragedy of isolaton Othello Macbeth: is a two level drama. The hero can choose between the bad and the good side. Macbeth chooses the wrong way so he must fall. He turns to evil forces to learn his future. The witches foretell the future but Macbeth does not understand it clearly. He interprets the prophecy according to his own interests. He kills the lawful king and in this way he creats disorder. He gets unable to control the events and he doesnt count with his conscience. He suffers from dark visions and he becomes isolated. In the end he must die because of his sins.

8. Shakespeares later works Winters Tale, The Tempest In his last period he wrote pastoral comedies, which provide a solution to the problems. With Elizabeths death there was a general decline in society. New tendencies appeared in the theatre too, a new kind of play appeared similar to the opera. Mannerism was the last stage and decline of the Renaissance. It meant an overdecorated style with a complicated language. On Baroque masques and the opera became wide spread. Opera is a genre based on sight, it always has on allegorical meaning. Shakespeares last works are similar to operas. Their predecessors are medieveal romances and pastoral comedic. They represent an optimistic point of view: Providence rescues the heroes. Tempest: The central character is Prospero, who lives on an island. He is planning revenge against his brother who took his power in the real world. Prospero has magic power, which he learnt from books. But when his borthers son is shipwrecked and falls in love with Miranda, he forgives him instead of taking revenge. His knowledge is more important than his power, he gives everything to the young couple. Finally he breaks his magic stick. Supernatural forces are represented by Caliban (nature with instincts) and Ariel.

9. Restoration Drama Goldsmith: She Stoops to Conquer He was born in Ireland, studied in England and abroad. In London he was a physician then worked for the Monthly Review. From this time on he depended on his open. Works include: - The Chinese letters - The Traveller - The Vicar of Wakefield She Stoops to Conquer is a drama with comic elements achieved by a series of contrasts. There is a contrast between the old and the young, city and counry, social classes but mainly between appearance and reality. Mrs Hardcastle says she is modern but she is the most old-fashioned. She wants her son marry a young woman juts to keep some jewels in the family. But the young people do not like each other. Social class plays an important role and is a source of humour in the play. The characters behave in very different ways when in socially different circumstances. Deception and misunderstanding plays a major role in the drama. At the end of the play everyone gets who they wished for. It means that young people overcome the deceptions and snobbery of the older generation and they will be happy. Oscar Wilde was an Irish poet and dramatist. His parents were intellectuals. In London he worked as an art reviewer. He lectured in the USA and also lived in Paris. His great love was Lord Alfred Douglas, who also caused his loss. His homosexuality was revealed and he was sent to prison. His main works include - The Picture of Dorian Gray - The Happy Prince and Other Tales - The Ballad of Reading Gaol His most famous play is The Importance of Being Earnest. It is a comedy of manners. The main characters are Jack, Algernon, Lady Bracknell, Gwendolen and Cecily. Jack and Algernon are Victorian dandies indulging in art and pleasure. Jack is in love with Gwendolen but Lady Bracknell opposes the marriage because of Jacks low social standing. He has invented a wicked brother named Ernest in the town, so he always finds an excuse to escape there. Algernon, on the other hand, invented an invalid friend in the country called Bunbury so he has an excuse to escape there Lady Bracknell opposes his marriage to Cecily until she finds out that the girl is rich. Algernon transmits Wildes philosophy of arts (last pour lart) and his critique of marriage: it kills love and its only a device for social standing. Both young men are leading a double life and this causes misunderstandings. But it is a light comedy so all the problems are solved in the end.

10. The renewal of drama in G. B. Shaws Pygmalion He was born in Dublin, middle-class family. He has about 60 plays, 5 novels, criticism and large correspondence. He established drama as serious literature. His plays demonstrated ideas through his characters. For him the stage was a pulpit. His most famous works include - Mrs Warrens Profession - Men and Superman - Pygmalion - Saint Joan Pygmalion is the name of an artist in Greek mythology who created a beautiful Statue of a woman and he fell in love with it. He asked the gods to bring it alive and Venus fulfilled his wish. Professor Higgins does the same to Eliza Dolittle, the poor flower-girl. He brings her alive by teaching her educated speech and civilised manners. But he is unfit to love and marry his creature. He is a real bachelor. He is afraid of losing his independence. Besides, there are social differences while Eliza is still the poor flower girl. Shaw turns the myth into an allegory in Victorian England. Ha makes the story less romantic. Shaw was interested in the questions of gender differences and these have an important role in the play. His attention is focussed on the language, the means of his art.

11. Synge and the Irish Renaissance Irish culture involved both Cristianily and Celtic tradition and they kept up Gaelic as well. The English rule led to rebellious throughout history. Irishness war overemphasised and idealised in literature. Drama could express national ideas and the Abbey Theatre was built in 1904. Irish drama is very poetic and symbolic with only a few characters. There are allegorical plays (Yeats) folk histories and there are ones describing peasant life (Synge). The language is English but the Irish dialect was used. Synge (1811-1909) graduated in Dublin, lived in Paris but Yeats called him back stating that literature is national and folk literature. He wrote for the Abbey Theatre but his plays didnt give a positive picture of Ireland. He wrote about Irish superstition, lies and alcoholism. He stated that truth is sometimes ugly. He described the folks daily life. The Playboy of the Western World is his best play. It is about a conflict between father and son. The son hits the father and tells everyone that he killed him. The people in the pub are hungry for scandal so they celebrate him as a hers of passion. In reality he is lazy, stupid and afraid of girls. There is also a love triangle in the story, the barmaid leaves her fiance for the protagonist. But the father does not die, so the son hits him again and now he murders him.

12. English drama in the 1950s: the Angries and the theatre of the Absurd The term Angries comes from the title of an autobiography Angry Young Man (1951) and is applied to writers like John Osborne, Kingsley Amis, Alan Sillitoe. This group rebelled against the English society and expressed disillusionment. John Osbournes play Look Back in Anger provoked controversy. Some saw it as the opening of a new era others hated it. The play is a reaction to the drawing room dramas, which dealt with the life of the middle- and upperclasses. This play deals with working-class heroes and represents a kind of domestic realism. The protagonist is Jimmy, who is the embodiment of the angry young men: he is violent, restless and frustrated. He is an idealistic man who cannot find any meaningful activity for himself in this society so all his energies turn against his friends and family. The term absurd is the representation of 20th century culture. Nietzsche stated that God is dead. But man cannot answer his own questions. They get alienated from other people and the universe. Life becomes meaningless and the language too. The theatre of absurd is the complete negation of the traditions of drama. It hasnt got a plot and there are no recognisable characters. There are no real dialogues and the monologues are often incoherent. Absurd means being out of harmony. There is a certain black humour in these plays and the problems cannot be solved.

13. Beckett and Pinter Samual Beckett was born in Dublin and his friend was James Joyce. He wrote Waiting for Godot in 1948. It was written in French and it was first performed in English in a prison. Beckett is pessimistic about the power of language. He does not consider it as a means of communication. The form of the drama is linear but there are a number of repetitions in it. The two main characters are Vladimir, who is a thinker and philisopher and Estragon, who is a feeler-type. The whole play is about waiting for Godot, who does not appear at all. In the meantime the characters speak just to pass time. They are shown as a pair and they complete each other. Pozzo and Lucky have a different relationship: that of a slave and his master. They are dependent on each other in the second act Pozzo becomes blind and it is Lucky who leads him. The only scenery is a tree, which may be the tree of life or knowledge. As in the second act is grows leaves, there is a slight chance of salvating Divine intervention is possible, but far from sure. Harold Pinters plays suggest that that the nature of the universe is evil. The Birthday Party (1958) is a drama in three acts. Meg, a 60-year-old woman runs a boarding house with her husband, Petey. Her only border is Stanley, an ex-pianist. Two strangers arrive, Goldberg and McCann. Stanley is afraid of them and escapes. They organise a birthday party for Stanley, and he is made fun of. The next morning the two men take Stanley away. Pinter shows us how Stanley is lost. Pinter is a pessimist: as he thinks the universe is evil, all positive attitudes appear as illusions. Man cannot escape, but can try to be isolated, try to escape or pretend. Communication between people is also just an illusion. Consequently, Pinter does net believe in social or political action.

14. Contemporary English drama Brian Frial (1929-) was born in Ireland to a Catholic family. In his works his main concern is communication and he looks at the English Irish relationship through language. In his opinion the oppression of Ireland is not political but linguistic. He shows how the past-historydetermines the present. Translations was first performed in 1980. It shows the story of a small community, the way it changes. It is about a school that needs changes, but the play shows it is not good if the changes come from England. The two main characters are Manus and Owen, both scholars. Owen left his home and became a successful businessman while Manus stayed at home. The central question of the play is the question of language (for example whether place names should be transleted into English). It is performed in English but there is a distance between the characters who speak Irish and those who speak only English.