of conspiracy it recalls as distinctly the individual relations and conflicts of Cassius, Brutus, and Portia. But Otway's inept Shakespearean borrowings and revisions in Caius Marius have given way to evidences of truer contagion with the master's spirit.
Beneath many changes in outward form, Venice Preserved retains the same fundamental appeal to simple human sympathies which allies The Orphan with domestic tragedy. Above and beyond the general issues to the Venetian state and to the conspiracy against it, rise the issues of life and death that confront the irresolute Jaffeir, torn between the tender entreaties of his wife, Belvidera, and the stern admonitions of his friend, Pierre. The old conflict of love and honor is still supreme, but Otway's tragedy invokes neither the magniloquent accent nor the happy issue of heroic drama. His eloquence is from the heart, his appeal is to compassion. Belvidera is his own creation, his final incarnation alike of his characteristic type of heroine and of his own sensitive spirit. She is akin to the queen in Don Carlos and to Monimia, a new embodiment of Otway's compelling sense of sympathy. The Queen Anne dramatist Nicholas Rowe characterized his own dramas as 'She- Tragedies,' but Thomas Otway had already anticipated and interpreted with finer instinct and art the appeal to pity of the tragic heroine.
The half-decade ( 1677-1682) that had included Lee's Rival Queens, Dryden's All for Love, and Otway's The Orphan and Venice Preserved had turned the current decisively from rhymed heroic drama to blank-verse tragedy. In contrast, the following decades lack the initial impetus and the fresh vigor of the early leaders of the new period. Succeeding dramatists, like John Banks and Thomas Southerne, follow largely the stream of tendencies already set in motion in the emotional tragedy of Otway. If the main themes of Banks's tragedies are notably drawn from English history, their treatment accentuates the notes of pathos and sentiment. In the successive choice of Anna Bullen, Mary, Queen of Scotland, and Lady Jane Grey, as heroines, Banks continues Otway's dominant stress on the dire distresses and fatal catastrophes of woman. Southerne's outstanding serious dramas -- The Fatal Marriage, or The Innocent Adultery ( 1694) and Oroonoko ( 1696) -- are likewise akin to Otway's softened emotional tragedy in their insistent pathetic appeal. In enforcing the development of domestic tragedy, and in marshalling to its aid the rising forces of the drama of sentiment and sensibility, Southerne caught up and concentrated his inheritance from Otway and carried over well into the eighteenth century the impress of his own incessant dramatic productivity. He is thus a highly significant influence in the transition from Otway's tragedy of pity and pathos to the sentimental tragedy of the eighteenth century.
G. H. N.
1914. Nettleton, George H. English Drama of the Restoration and Eighteenth Century. [Especially chapter VI.]
1923. Nicoll, Allardyce. A History of Restoration Drama 1660-1700. Cambridge. [Especially pp. 131-145, 152-158.] (Revised edition, 1928.)
1929. Dobrée, Bonamy. Restoration Tragedy 1660-1720. Oxford.
1931. Ham, Roswell G. Otway and Lee; biography from a baroque age. New Haven ( Yale University Press).
1933. Dodds, John W. Thomas Southerne, dramatist. New Haven ( Yale University Press).