Important Dramatists Of The Age Of Revival

Important Dramatists Of The Age Of Revival

In this article, let us know some important details about the major dramatists that occurred in the age of Revival.

Important Dramatists Of The Age Of Revival And Their Works

Henry Medwall (1462-1502)

  1. Henry Medwall (1462-1502) is known as the first English playwright who wrote in the vernacular language.
  2. He went to Eton College and the University of Cambridge and took part in plays at these institutions.
  3. Henry Medwall worked as a chaplain for Cardinal John Norton, the Archbishop of Canterbury during the reign of Henry VII.

Literary Career And Works

  1. Henry Medwall’s main literary work is the play Fulgens and Lucrece (1497), which is the oldest surviving secular play in English.
  2. He also wrote a morality play called Nature.
  3. Fulgens and Lucrece was likely performed during Christmas between banquet courses when Cardinal Morton hosted foreign ambassadors.
  4. Henry Medwall passed away in 1502.

Medwal’s Fulgens And Lucrece

  1. Henry Medwall’s play, Fulgens and Lucrece, is inspired by a speech about true nobility called De Vera Nobilitate (1428) by Cicero.
  2. It holds the distinction of being the first play in the English vernacular to be printed.
  3. Notably, it’s the initial play to showcase the influence of classical antiquity.
  4. In a groundbreaking move, it features a woman as the main character who must choose between two competing suitors.
  5. The play revolves around a debate on the origins of true nobility, with household servants adding lively interruptions.

John Rastell (1475-1536)

  1. John Rastell (1475-1536) was an English printer and writer.
  2. He was born in London to a prominent Coventry citizen and a Warwickshire justice of the peace.
  3. Rastell’s initial printing press was located near Fleet Bridge at ‘the Abbot of Winchombe’s place.’

Literary Career And Works

  1. After 1526, John Rastell began printing his own works, making a significant impact on Tudor drama history.
  2. He is credited with writing two plays, “Of Gentylnes and Nobylyte” and “The Nature of the Four Elements,” and likely contributed to a third, “Calisto and Melibea.”
  3. “The Nature of the Four Elements” uses a not very dramatic allegory to highlight the benefits of a humanistic education, focusing on natural science and discovery.
  4. “Of Gentylnes and Nobylyte” is a dialogue between a ploughman and a knight, challenging the idea of nobility based on birth and discussing the concept of the ‘commonweal.’
  5. “Calisto and Melibea” concludes with a moralizing address emphasizing that natural knowledge and reason support religion.
  6. Rastell’s most famous work is “The Pastyme of People, the Chronydes of Dyvers Realmys, and most especially of the Realme of England” (1529), a chronicle covering English history from ancient times to the reign of Richard III.

John Bale (1495-1563)

  1. John Bale (1495-1563) was an English theologian, historian, playwright, literary historian, and Bishop of Ossory.
  2. He was born on November 21, 1495, in the small village of Cove, near Dunwich in Suffolk.

Literary Career And Works

  1. John Bale’s literary career included dramas that attracted Cromwell’s attention, especially his play King Johan, performed in 1539, which depicted King John’s defeat using allegorical figures.
  2. Apart from King Johan, Bale is known for The Image of Both Churches, a detailed commentary on the Book of Revelation.
  3. During his 8 years of exile, Bale was highly productive, producing twelve works, including A Comedy Concerning Three Laws and The Image Of Both Churches, after the pro-Protestant Edward VI took the throne in 1548.
  4. Bale returned to England, resumed his ecclesiastical duties, and was reluctantly appointed as the Bishop of Ossory by Edward in 1552.
  5. Bale chronicled his experiences in the Catholic diocese of Ossory in his work “Vocacyon of Johan Bale to the Bishoprick of Ossorie in Irelande” (1553).
  6. He passed away in Canterbury in November 1563.

Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527)

  1. Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) was an Italian author and statesman born on May 3, 1469, in Florence.
  2. He began his education under a well-known Latin teacher named Paolo da Ronciglione.
  3. Machiavelli is thought to have attended the University of Florence and received a strong humanist education.
  4. However, not much is known about his personal history.

Literary Career And Works

  1. In 1500, Machiavelli went to France to negotiate terms with Louis XII for the war against Pisa.
  2. Louis XII’s mistakes in Italian affairs, outlined in Machiavelli’s “The Prince,” led to his downfall.
  3. Machiavelli’s travels to different royal courts and involvement in foreign policy influenced the principles he later wrote about in “The Prince.”
  4. The lessons in “The Prince” are drawn from the experiences and actions of notable figures Machiavelli encountered during his travels.

Machiavelli’s Historical Writings Comprise

  • Florentine Histories
  • Discourses on the First Decade of Titus Livius (also known as The Discourses)
  • Life of Castruccio Castrancani (unfinished)
  • History of the Affairs of Lucca

His Literary Works consist Of

  • An imitation of The Golden Ass by Apuleius
  • An essay on the Italian language
  • The play Mandragola
  • Several minor compositions
  • Seven books on The Art of War

Machiavelli’s most famous work is the political treatise, The Prince (1532), which provides rules for establishing and preserving authority, endorsing the use of any means, whether fair or unfair.

Machiavelli passed away in San Casciano in 1527, just a few miles outside his beloved Florence.

Machiavelli’s Mandragola

  1. In Machiavelli’s play “Mandragola”:
    • Fortuna and virtu are used to show that immorality can be acceptable.
    • The protagonist, Callimaco, boasts of virtue, while the leading lady embodies Fortuna.
    • Callimaco is like the virtuous prince mentioned in Machiavelli’s “The Prince,” risking his life for love and authority.
  2. The antagonist, Nicia, holds power like an inherited prince but loses Fortuna due to his passiveness.
    • Each character represents a political figurehead, echoing ideas from “The Prince” through symbols and stock figures.
  3. Theatre serves as a careful way to reveal truths, as the audience connects with the action but remains distant enough from the stage to avoid direct fear.

Final Words

I hope that you have completely absorbed the main writers of the revival age and their major works as well. If there is anything else you need to know about the same, please let us know. Till, then, you can check out Romanticism In English Literature – All Important Romantic Writers

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