Dryden prescriptive in nature, defines dramatic art as an imitation with the aim to delight and to teach, and is considered a just and lively image of human nature representing its passions and humors for the delight and instruction of mankind. Jonson was a judge himself, therefore, as one can observe in his Dramas that he wrote plays, which contain Homour and Wit also. Poets are neither suitably honoured nor are they rewarded. Is there anything in rhyme more constrained than this line in blank verse? We are unable to appreciate the art and beauty of their language, only because many of their customs, stories, etc, are not known to us.
Tanishka Jain 21 March at Pauper videri Cinna vult, et est pauper [Cinna wants to seem to be a pauper; and, sure enough, he is a pauper]: This therefore will be a good Argument to us either not to write at all, or to attempt some other way. Shakespeare “had the largest and most comprehensive soul,” while Jonson was “the most learned and judicious writer which any theater ever had. All the difference between them when they are both correct, is the sound in one, which the other wants; and if so, the sweetness of it, and all the advantage resulting from it, which are handled in the Preface to The Rival Ladies , will yet stand good. I have therefore only to affirm, that it is not allowable in serious Plays, for Comedies I find you already concluding with me.
As for Comedy, Repartee is one of its chiefest graces; the greatest pleasure of the Audience is a chase of wit kept up on both sides, and swiftly managed. Therefore, Dryden here condemns French Plays s lack of just and lively image. He is many times flat, insipid; his Dfyden wit degenerating into clenches [puns—ed.
An Essay of Dramatic Poesy Summary by Dryden | English Summary
Hence they must perforce use rhyme, which suits the genius of their age. You will often find in the Greek Tragedians, and in Seneca, that when a Scene grows up in the warmth of repartees which is the close sighting of it the latter part of the Trimeter is supplied by him who answers; and yet it poesyy never observed as a fault in them by any of the Ancient or Modern Critics.
But Lisideius does not support or favour this practice. But the first of these judgments is no where to be found, and the latter is not fit to write at all. Nature is dumb on such occasions, and to make her dramaticc, would be to represent her unlike her self. William Shakespeare was one of the prominent dramatists of the Age of Elizabeth.
Now what I beseech you is more easy than to write a regular French Play, or more pofsy than to write an irregular English one, like those of Fletcher, or of Shakespeare.
He defends the classical drama saying that it is an imitation of life, and reflects human nature clearly. The old Rule of Logic might have convinced him, that contraries when placed near, set off each other. Many have blamed Rhyme in general, for this fault, when the Poet, with a little care, might have dramatc it.
He so interweaves Truth with probable Fiction, that he puts a pleasing Fallacy upon us; mends the intrigues of Fate, and dispenses with the severity of History, to reward that virtue which has been rendered to us there unfortunate. A beauty perhaps not much observed; if it had, we should not have looked upon the Spanish Translation of five hours with so much wonder. Each taking up the defense of dramatic Literature of one country or one age.
He tells us we cannot so poexy recollect our selves after a Scene of great passion and concernment as to pass to another of mirth and humor, and to enjoy it with any relish: In presenting his argument, Dryden takes up the subject that Philip Sidney had set forth in his Defence of Poesie in Drydsn Poesy had time enough, reckoning from Thespis who first invented it to Aristophanes, to be born, to grow up, and to flourish in Maturity.
At this, he peosy up his conversation. Rightly concluding, as the noise subsides, that wssay English have triumphed, they order the bargeman to row them back upriver as they begin a dialogue on the advances made by modern civilization. The third unity, that of action, requires that the play “aim dfyden one great and complete action”, but the English have all kinds of sub-plots which destroy the unity of the action.
And this I conceive to be one reason why Comedy is more pleasing to us, and Tragedies to them. Neither was verse then refined so much to be an help to that Age as it is to ours.
An Essay of Dramatic Poesy
This page has been accessedtimes. Unity of tragedy, comedy and poetry. Dryden was both a writer and a critic and he had rather a dogmatic bent. He defends the classical drama saying that it is an imitation of life and reflects human nature clearly.
They represent a story which will be one complete action, and everything which is unnecessary is carefully excluded.
Neander speaks and gives his palm to the violation of three unities because it leads to the variety in English plays. Look upon the Cinna and the Pompeythey are not so properly to be called Plays, as long discourses of reason of State: They keep their distances as if they were Montagues and Capulets, and seldom begin an acquaintance till the last Scene of the Fifth Act, when they are all to meet upon the Stage.
But a long sober shower gives them leisure to run out as they came in, without troubling the ordinary current. See Dryden’s “Defense of An Essay of Dramatic Poesy”where Dryden tries to persuade the rather literal-minded Howard that audiences expect a play to be an imitation of nature, not a surrogate for nature itself. Crites makes favor of the Ancients by giving some views about them.
With the spoils of these Writers he so represents old Rome to us, in its Rites, Ceremonies and Customs, that if one of their Poets had written either of his Tragedies, we had seen less of it than in him.