Elizabethan Drama, 1558-1642: A History of the Drama in England from the Accession of Queen Elizabeth to the Closing of the Theaters - Vol. 2

By Felix E. Schelling | Go to book overview
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A HISTORY OF ELIZABETHAN DRAMA

XIII
HISTORY AND TRAGEDY ON CLASSICAL MYTH AND STORY

THE influence of the ancients on English drama is coeval with the drama itself. But whether in theme, treatment, or style, classical influences were filtered through many foreign channels, imbibing on the way qualities of each, and, even when least so affected, limited and confined in tragedy to one Latin and one Greek dramatist. It has been said that "Euripidean tragedy leavened the dramatic poetry of every cultured nation in Europe through all the centuries while Æschylus and Sophocles fed the worms in the libraries." And if we recall how close a follower of Euripides was Seneca with all his differences and departures from classical precedent, and how far, moreover, later Greek comedy (and through it Plautus and Terence, with "Christian Terence," the School Drama, and the earlier artistic imitations of the Roman dramatists to follow) partook of the nature of that ultimate inspiration, it is not too much to affirm that the Euripidean idea of tragedy is practically all that the Europe of the Renaissance took over from the drama of the ancients. As to variety of channels and influences in England, we

Influence of ancient drama in England.

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