Download Ben Jonson, John Marston and Early Modern Drama: Satire and by Rebecca Yearling PDF

By Rebecca Yearling

This publication examines the impression of John Marston, mostly visible as a minor determine between early sleek dramatists, on his colleague Ben Jonson. whereas Marston is mostly famed extra for his very public competition with Jonson than for the standard of his performs, this e-book argues that this type of view of Marston heavily underestimates his value to the theatre of his time. In it, the writer contends that Marston's performs signify an test in a brand new type of satiric drama, with origins within the humanist culture of serio ludere. His works―deliberately unpredictable, inconsistent and metatheatrical―subvert theatrical conventions and supply confusingly a number of views at the motion, forcing their spectators to interact actively with the drama and the ethical dilemmas that it offers. The booklet argues that Marston's paintings therefore anticipates and maybe encouraged the mid-period paintings of Ben Jonson, in performs corresponding to Sejanus, Volpone and The Alchemist.

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Extra resources for Ben Jonson, John Marston and Early Modern Drama: Satire and the Audience

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Once again, Marston poses as an amiable and accommodating playwright, labouring to provide his audience with what will please them. However, the apparent geniality is undermined by a substratum of irony. Marston observes the formalities of his role as playwright – the prologue praises the audience, attempting to coax them into the right mood of acceptance, while modestly downplaying the author’s own talent – and yet simultaneously draws attention to these formalities as formalities, as a conscious performance that dramatists must go through in order to find success.

However, the speaker then adds that the audience, too, must be appropriate to the play: If any spirit breathes within this round Uncapable of weighty passion …………………………………. Who winks and shuts his apprehension up From common sense of what men were, and are, ... let such Hurry amain from our black-visaged shows. (13–20) In order to appreciate the play, the audience must enter into the right frame of mind and be prepared to embrace the darker and gloomier passions. Again, therefore, the spectators are manipulated into a kind of double-bind: if they dislike the play or want to leave, that becomes evidence that they are temperamentally unsuited to its weighty themes – and, after all, no one would want to be thought of as ‘uncapable’ of understanding passion.

He simply insists that it is – and he hopes by the magisterial confidence of his prologue and induction speakers to intimidate his spectators into accepting this opinion as fact. The audience is invited to take Jonson, or leave him, as he is – and at times he even goes so far as to express complete indifference about which option they choose. As the speaker claims in the famous last lines of Cynthia’s Revels, Stiffly to stand on this, and proudly approve The play, might tax the maker of Self-Love.

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