Stuart Politics in Chapman's Tragedy of Chabot

Stuart Politics in Chapman's Tragedy of Chabot

Stuart Politics in Chapman's Tragedy of Chabot

Stuart Politics in Chapman's Tragedy of Chabot

Excerpt

In the early years of the seventeenth century when Scotchmen flocked to London as to a second Mecca, and when English diplomats angled for the favor of the vain and frivolous James, George Chapman, by some queer streak of good fortune, attracted the attention of Prince Henry. Though this attention apparently meant to him only the minor office of sewer-in-ordinary in the Prince's household, it brought other advantages in its train. It furnished the encouragement for the greatest labor of Chapman's life-time, his translation of the Iliad , and it stimulated him to the period of his greatest dramatic productivity. Although the date of Chapman's work is very uncertain and almost impossible to fix definitely, yet it is with some degree of probability that the bulk of his dramatic work has been assigned to the years between 1603 and 1612, between the accession of James I and the death of Prince Henry. At least it is certain that to this period belong most of the characteristic tragedies upon which his fame as a tragic dramatist depends. It is, therefore, to these dramas and to his poetry of this period that I shall turn in an attempt to discover his interests and methods.

One is immediately struck with certain positive, distinguishing marks in Chapman's work: a strong moralizing tendency, an overworked fondness for symbolism and allegory, and narrow scope of subject-matter. The six tragedies which are generally agreed to be his are on historical subjects, and of these it is . . .

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