By Susan J. Owen
Restoration Theatre and Crisis is a seminal learn of the drama of the recovery, specifically that of the Popish Plot and Exclusion situation. This used to be the time of unparalleled political partisanship within the theatre. This ebook considers the entire identified performs of this era, together with works via Dryden and Behn, of their old context. It examines the complicated ways that the drama either mirrored and intervened within the political procedure, at a time whilst the drawback fractured an already fragile post-interregnum consensus, and sleek get together political tools first started to increase.
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Extra resources for Restoration Theatre and Crisis
There is some personation and caricature of Shaftesbury and other Whig leaders, but dramatic satire of the Whigs is far more diffuse and far-reaching than this. 52 Personations were certainly identified at the time,53 and could be 52 Scott, Algernon Sidney and the Restoration Crisis, ch. r, argues that historians have been over-preoccupied by Shaftesbury and Exclusion, but this is controversial: cf. the reviews in History, 78 ( 1990), I 14 and Albion, 24 ( 1 992), 652. My reading of the plays may lend some support to Scott's view, since characters who can, like Achitophel, plausibly be read as Shaftesbury are not that common, and exclusion and banishment are no more prominent as themes of disorder than presumption by the lower classes, mob rule, and civil war.
For example, Harry M. Solomon in 'The Rhetoric of Redressing Grievances' ( 294) has little patience with the darkness of tone and 'rich READ I N G THE P O LI T I C S O F RESTO RAT I O N D RAMA 25 ambiguities' noticed in the play by others. Solomon's extraordi nary subtitle is 'Court Propaganda as the Hermeneutical Key to Venice Preserv'd'. The idea that we can decode, unlock, or solve the mystery of the text by reference to court propaganda seems dubious in terms of literary critical method, and simplistic in political terms.
This insoluble conflict leads him to reproach the Gods in outbursts against creation. His cri de creur, 'Guide me, ye Gods, in this unhappy Labyrinth' ( r . 2. p. ' ( 5 . p. 4 1 ). This image of a labyrinth seems suggestive. However, the play is not value free. In the first place, there is a stringent and Whiggish critique of royal lust, intemperance, and tyranny. Secondly, the contra dictions in the plot are tentatively resolved in favour of a Prot estant ethos of respect for-and within-marriage.