Metaphysical roots of the drama; The Climate of Stuart Drama
We are. There is an anonymous document written 16 21 called Tom to help too. And it's interesting now that truth must be anonymous which makes this point. Of all the benefits that the scent of heaven to earth there is long to be received with more praise and thankfulness than that of peace for the man I have too much of his father's blessings and I fear we have too much to cause to complain of your Majesty's unlimited peace. The exercise where I've long since turned virtue into vice and health into sickness pardon me O king if I speak to you in a language you are not accustomed to hear. Now this business of speaking to the king in a language is not a custom here suggests that the king was not listening to anything but flattery. And a number of Puritan history is written by puritans during the interregnum during the period after they came to power between sixty and forty two and sixty and sixty make the same kind of points and indeed attribute the the
same kind of vices to James which we are to meet in Stuart tragedies being attributed to the kings of Stuart planters or the villain. First of all they all charge James with homosexuality which is undoubtedly an authentic accusation. And then they go on to mention other rumors of court life doing the time and they're pretty juicy. So Edward Peyton for example writing a book called The Divine catastrophe of the kingly family of the House of Stuart some 16 15 to see trying to justify the past to the divine. Having come from tells this story. The queen deprived of the nightly company of a husband for obvious reasons turned her delight to the prince her son. Whom she respected above all her other children finding him to Sirius vested him from so much intensiveness to an amorous gesture in which the English collapse of pride to that purpose she initiated him in the court of Cuba. As one night
she shot him under lock and key with a beautiful young lady now dead which showed her love to the sport indeed more like a boy than a discreet mother who was bound to season her child in virtue that they may hold the taste of the age. Well Prince Henry died young according to some Thomas Edward Paik he was poisoned by his father James because he knew the boy was not to guard his body. And also charge the court with drunkenness. It's also an authentic accusation as was Zoom's and generally the Koreans were then so debauch in that beastly sin as at that time in the waiter's chamber at supper Cory was found dead at the table the wine coming out of his mouth a horrid sight to behold. And then of course the recurrent charge of homosexuality. Now King James More addicted to love males than females. The full complement he visited Queen and. Never large with her and for many years the queen departed the king Sobers affections to said George
Villiers when he would tumble and kiss as a mistress. Francis was born another Puritan historian in his book historical memoirs makes similar accusations adding that he never looked upon the English as French as the cars he rejoiced in nothing more than promoting excess by which he hoped to ruin nobility and gentry. This was a telling accusation James as you know was a Scotsman. Distantly related to the house of Judah and to Elizabeth and charges these trying to ruin the English because he hates them and the way he's trying to ruin them is by destroying their nobility as Bond makes charges avoids the Asterix feet Speace anti supper's unpracticed by the most luxurious Tyrus where one feast was laid on as soon as another was taken off. And again the abuse of knighthoods at this time of knighthood which antiquity reserves sacred is the cheapest and various jewels of resent virtue with was permitted to sleep late on any
had belonged to the yeomanry that had been a court friend or money to purchase the favor of the meanest able to bring him into an outward room. When the king the fountain of Honor came down and was uninterrupted by other business. Well obviously these are the charges of nasty minded Puritans spreading gossip generally in an outrageous style. Back Sam Johnson said of this man I was born with little boys and first downs that I just staffers of. An obviously too or they have an ulterior motive. Which is to to discredit the House of Stuart house which they have virtually brought to an end. It was restored 666 and a king who they killed. And they're trying to justify their own revolt but contemporary documents documents contemporary with James himself indicate that many of these charges were true. So John Harrington. The famous author of
the metamorphosis of Ajax. Wrote and received a number of letters on the subject of court life during this time which have been reprinted in new guy and antiquarian nuggets. And Harrington is a remnant of the old Elizabeth an aristocracy. He was a courtier and always been a strain and a favorite Korean dedicated faithful patriotic and now finds absolutely impossible to live in James's court because only flatterers and favorites can thrive there. And the Plain Dealer. The man who would speak his mind to his king is not allowed into the royal presence. Now the King's favorite around this time is a man named Robert Carr a handsome young man who because he is the favorite of the king and he has immediate access to all the wives of the of the courtiers. For them married women and unmarried women and Sir Thomas Howard another Elizabeth Cohen sends a letter to Harrington around this time telling him how to rise
at court. I wish you to be well trim. Get a jerk and well board and not too short. The king said he liked the flowing garment the king is nicely heedful of such points and well upon good looks and handsome accoutrements. Robert Carr is now most likely to win the prince's favor. This young man that much study all art and device changes television time and many times and all to please the prince do not of yourselves say this is good or bad but if it were your Majesty's opinion I myself should think so and so I would advise one thing the Rhone Janet were around the king right every day. Must not be forgotten to be prejudiced. You are not young you're not handsome you are not finely suited and yet you will come to court and think to be well favored when you say the moonshine of all the summer. But the room Janet surpasses Bucephalus
and a few more fancies worth your notice and your lady is virtuous and somewhat of a good housewife has lived in a court in her time and I believe you may venture forth again. But I know those who would not quietly rest a card to live on their wives as some perceive you and like it well it should be so in the others. In short the Italianate Coit that we see in the works of Shakespeare and the works of Meister in the works of Ford and Webster and Turner. Has its prototype right at home. It's the call of jam where you also see the predominance of flattering adultery the abuse of honesty and value. A feminist see among the courtiers among the king himself conspicuous consumption vulgar fashions factionalism even rumors of poison. Now Elizabeth's court was no great shakes it was
but it was idealized by contemporaries of the court. It too had its factionalism in the seat and it was with herself wrote poems about the injustice and the ingratitude of court life. But they loved her and she was a star around which many planets were able to rebound. She herself was educated witty and appreciative of good literature. But James is a fart and a fool a pious pap and of all Garry and with a great belief in his own learning which makes it even worse. In fact he said the cause of learning back about 100 years when he wrote a pamphlet to refute a book called The Discovery of witchcraft by Reginald Scott. Scott was trying to bring to an end the whole notion that there were Witches Abroad in the land he said there was no such thing as witches. James on the other hand believed firmly in witches and wrote a book to prove that they did exist. Put down Scott. The setting back in like him and by god knows how many years.
We should also know that Shakespeare flattered James and his play Macbeth by introducing three witches into the play. This was open flattery of the King and justification. Try attempt to underline emphasis the rightness of his own judgement. James was also extremely divorced as we've been seeing. He was a drunkard. In addition to his other virtues and very fond of expensive banquets and Harrington are good friends of John Harrington writes to Secretary Barlow and 16 0 6 a very funny account of the visit of the Danish king to England. Remember the Danes are thought to be the big drinkers you see this in Hamlet. The Danish custom of alcoholism I came here a day or two before the Danish king and from the day he didn't come until this hour I've been well-nigh overwhelmed with carousal and sport of all times. I think the Dane has strangely wrought on our good English nobles Rose
whom I can never get to taste liquor. Now follow the fashion and wallow in beastly delights the ladies abandon their sobriety and I seem to roll about in intoxication. He then describes a quite mask his Majesty then got up and would dance with the Queen of Sheba. But he fell down and humbled himself before her was carried to an inner chamber and laid on a bed of steak which was not a little of the file but the presence of the queen which had been bestowed on his garments such as wind cream jelly beverage cakes spices and other good matters. Now did appear hope faith and charity in the last hope to say to speak but why and when did her endeavor so feeble that she withdrew and hope the king would excuse her brevity. Take was then all alone for I am certain she was not joined by good works. And left the court in a staggering condition. Charity came to The King's Speech and then returned to hope and faith who are both sick and spewing in the lower hall. Well this is the kind of
condition which resulted in discontented courtiers and now contented populace and produce those rumors of sexual depravity at the court which the Puritans were so to exaggerate and which the Dramatis were to convert into the moral heart of their imaginative literature. Now there's one final source of Stuart drama the Temporist to a drama which is a literary event and that is the introduction of satire into theatrical works. Satire with its harsh scurrilous self-conscious brutal style. Formal satire written both in prose and poetry in dramatic form was very popular through the 16th century. Skelton wrote it. Yes going really. Why are Spencer So in the 59 is the number of the satirist multiplied so that added to their ranks are John Marston ever out the open.
Joseph Paul John Donne whose first book is a book of satire. Ben Johnson it was bread and so now English satire is very deeply influenced by two sauces the works of Juvenal and the works of Horace both Latin poets given Arion satire applies the whip and the scourge to the follies of the Times a satire of Lenny Bruce and our own restoration satire is much more gentle and reflective and satirizes through representation through banks like Nichols and May. Now satire is theoretically impersonal detached and objective and its main aim is the reforming aim to purge vice and Fowler to do away with it by exposing it. But it's really also an instrument of personal revenge and bitterness and this bitterness grows so thick invective goes those in the nineties
that the famous it's a remark or the Battle of the satirist results where we find a number of satyrs attacking each other viciously and abusively with John Austin and Joseph Paul now because of this war between the satirist there was a protest and this protest resulted in the Bishop's edict of 50 99 where SATs I was banned altogether from the English presses and all the books of SATs I would burn. But the satiric impost are not. Excluded from the ritual. It found its way into what was then considered the illegitimate form of literature namely the drama. It's interesting that John Marston only begins to write his After fifteen ninety nine when he can't write satires anymore and he and Ben Jonson set the tone for what is to come. Whether what comes calls itself comical satire plays a Ben Jonson comedies of Marston Shakespeare's prose and precedent but takes a more tragical
form in the works of Webster Turner Boma lecture Marston and Ford and the difference is this the satirist now writing the play. It's no longer simply an informal impersonal detached work of art is being presented to the audience. It's a work of art being thrown at the audience as it were because the satirist is being introduced into the play the writers and the play as a satirical commentator telling me what to think about the other characters on the stage by their side and to us and present and is not always integrated into the action but is usually there to express the Dramatis opinions about various follies and about various characters of the play that satirical commentator may sometimes be satirized himself and Shakespeare's their societies is sad. And as Johnson's massive MTA satirizing every minute it was human and he may eventually develop into something of a villain you know turn his
play The revenge is tragedy the hero of the play is really a hero of villains and DG and Websters for many it's also a villainous flick but more generally he's a virtuous straightforward character the blunt plain dealing individual The play a malcontent melancholy but honest who likes a John Harrington and so many of these courtiers cannot gain power from him because his tongue is too blunt. You can't withhold the truth from his sovereign and he's a dentist tied as a soldier as a scholar sometimes as a countryman. Very rarely successful courtier in the course of these plays the court we've seen is the seat of flattery. And the country is by contrast a seed of honesty bluntness plain dealing. In fact there's a confusion about the origin of the word satire as an etymological between the word satire serious and sexy. Rude country individuals associated with the pastorals Miles
who also comes with a with the spirit in his hands and was thought satyr wrote satires. So the satirist could identify himself with the country in this way and the satirist identifies himself with the values of the country which are medieval that values based on unlikely conservatism. Honor loyalty patriotism frugality modesty and a vigorous manliness as opposed to the new values that he is satirizing luxury ostentatious. A feminist lecturing and clothes excessive clothes now the sign of manliness is consonance and Chastity the pursuit of war. Then the idle pursuits of peace and the manly individual is hostile to romantic love. The paradox which I won't be able to explain to you but the more your more manly if you abstain from love then if you and if you yield to it and the satirist along with his surrogates
generally looks upon the courtly language of the lisping son appears as a devious method of seducing ladies and courtly love is simply as a euphemism for adultery. You noticed Shakespeare's playing dealers are usually soldiers and they don't want to have too much to do with women. Hotspur was more interested in fighting his wars and playing around with his wife and is just such a plain dealing straightforward soldier you know barbarous and Cleopatra also a manly soldier not much to do with with the girls and the fact is right. Satirical about falling before them and they generally have the satirical point of view towards the fireplace choreo square speech that call you about that comes on the battlefield and holds his nose when he smells powder can savage two thoughts as well.
Hamlet's attitude towards answering this Plain Dealer is always can tempt us of this kind of man of courtly poetry of excessive linguistic circumlocution. In fact Larry that is the very embodiment of the plain dealing soldier when he has to rule Catherine of France which he does for purely political almost Deleon reasons he does it in a straightforward way. Can't use the conventional leveler actually once the clock hands on a bargain. Now the language of Ben Johnson's rail is even more direct because the satirist and the satirical dramatist prides himself on the ugly coloration of his speech because the more brutal the more rasping the more direct speech becomes the more obvious it is that he will not blab he will not use oil as a cactus as an every man out of his human. My language was never ground into such oily colors to flatter vice
and drop iniquity but with an armed and resolve in hand I was stripped the ragged families of the time as at their birth. Now the place we're going to talk about in fact all the places to it will be an exposure of secret vice and folly by a ruthless artist disgusted with life. Nauseated by love in the brutal language of the now contented satirist. Thank you very much. The old. You've been listening to the fourth in the 1968 series of six Frank L. Y O Institute lectures delivered at the Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. The speaker is Dr. Robert Bruce Dean Dean of the Yale School of Drama who is general topic is the metaphysical roots of the drama. The title of this program was the climate of Stuart drama next week at this time Dr. Bruce Steen discusses
on accommodated man in King Lear. These lectures are released through the University of Cincinnati station WG you see this is the national educational radio network.
- The Climate of Stuart Drama
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- Chicago: “Metaphysical roots of the drama; The Climate of Stuart Drama,” 1968-11-29, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 10, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-z02z7m16.
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- APA: Metaphysical roots of the drama; The Climate of Stuart Drama. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-z02z7m16