Yet this Argument, if granted, would only prove that we may write better in Verse, but not more naturally. Just and lively image of human nature, representing its passions and humours, and the changes of fortune to which it is subject, for the delight and instruction of mankind. But one who has not the judgment to control his fancy in blank verse will not be able to control it in rhyme either. He agrees with Eugenius that in the last generation the English drama was superior. Though “the moderns have profited by the rules of the ancients” they have “excelled them.

Glossary of Key Terms 1. Dryden as a Critic 1. Here every one is a proper Judge of all he sees; nothing is represented but that with which he daily converses: They have developed their own principles and proved themselves to be superior to the Greek and French dramatists in many ways. He also favors English drama-and has some critical -things to say of French drama: But when Laberius, a Roman Knight, at his request contended in the Mime with another Poet, he was forced to cry out, Etiam favente me victus es Laben [Even with me favoring you, Laberius, you are beaten—ed. Violation of the three unities.

He credits the English audience with a certain robustness in suggesting that they want their battles and “other objects of horror.

dryden essay of dramatic poesy sparknotes

Writer you ever read: But suppose they are necessary in the places where he uses them, yet there no need to put them into rhyme. You instance in the calling of a servant, or commanding a door to be shut in rhyme. A continued gravity keeps the spirit too much bent; we must refresh it sometimes. Since that time it is grown into a custom, and their Actors speak by the Hour-glass, as our Parsons do; nay, they account it the grace of their parts: The group has taken refuge on a barge during a naval battle between the English and the Dutch fleets.


spxrknotes It does not imitate life but presents its own version of it. That it is the greatest perfection of Art to keep it self undiscovered. She has the breeding of the Old Elizabeth way, for Maids to be seen and not to be heard; and it is enough you know she is willing to be married, when the Fifth Act requires it.

But he is always great when some great occasion is presented to him: The violation of unities helps the English playwright to present a mere, just and lively image of human nature. First, The Protasis or entrance, which gives light only to the Characters of the persons, and proceeds dramxtic little into spsrknotes part of the action: Hence it is closest to life.

In Comedies, the Greek and Roman playwrights repeated common theme of lost children coming back to their home after gap of many years.

An Essay of Dramatic Poesy

The action of the play which is dull and boring, and is often not listened to by the audience. The Master piece of Seneca I hold to be that Scene in the Troadeswhere Ulysses is seeking for Astyanax to kill him; There you see the tenderness of a Mother, so represented in Andromache, that it raises compassion to a high degree in the Reader, and bears the nearest resemblance of any thing in their Tragedies to the excellent Scenes of Passion in Shakespeare, or in Fletcher: Further, the French generally write their tragedies on well-known historical facts which the people can easily comprehend.

dryden essay of dramatic poesy sparknotes

And yet this miserable necessity you are forced upon. Reserate clusos Regii postes Laris [Set wide the palace gates.

An Essay of Dramatic Poesy by John Dryden: An Overview

Thirdly, the Catastasis, or Counterturn, which destroys that expectation, embroils the action in new difficulties, and leaves you far distant from that hope in which it found you, as you may have observed in a violent stream resisted spaeknotes a narrow passage; it runs round to an eddy, and carries back the waters with more swiftness than it brought them on: Many of them limit to the very spot of ground where the play is supposed to begin.


The French are superior to the English for various reasons: When a Poet has found the repartee, the last perfection he can add dranatic it, is to put it into verse. In a form of tragedy they used Rhyme. Eugenius, Crites, Lisideius, and Neander. A Play, as I had said to be like Nature, is to be set above it; as Statues which are placed on high are made greater than the life, that they may descend to the sight in their just proportion.

An Essay of Dramatic Poesy by John Dryden | Poetry Foundation

Claudius, Macbeth, Elizabeth, Dryven b. So, Dryden holds that ancient principle should be respected, but should not be followed blindly. He is many times flat, insipid; his Comic wit degenerating into clenches [puns—ed.

dryden essay of dramatic poesy sparknotes

He goes on to say also that while the Ancients portrayed many emotions and actions, they neglected love, “which is the most frequent of all passions” and known to everyone.

They prefer emotions over plots. And the first of them is grounded upon that very reason for which some have commended Rhyme: May not I conclude against blank verse by the same reason? The Spaniards and the Italians have some excellent plays to their credit, and they divided them into three Acts and not into five.