Reading, Society, and Politics in Early Modern England

By Kevin Sharpe; Steven N. Zwicker | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIVE
Performances and playbooks: the closing of
the theatres and the politics of drama

David Scott Kastan

2 September 1642 is perhaps the best-known date in the history of the English theatre. On that day, Parliament ordered the theatres closed:

whereas Public Sports do not well agree with Public Calamities, nor Public Stage-
plays with the Seasons of Humiliation, this being an Exercise of sad and pious
Solemnity, and the other being Spectacles of Pleasure, too commonly expressing
lascivious Mirth and Levity: It is therfore thought fit, and Ordained by the Lords
and Commons in this Parliament assembled, That while these sad causes and set
Times of Humiliation do continue, Public Stage Plays shall cease, and be forborn.1

While this has often been taken as the order that ended playing for the eighteen years of the interregnum, in truth it neither accomplished that nor intended to. Parliament in September of 1642 ordered a temporary stay of playing, not unlike those that followed the deaths of Prince Henry or of King James, when it was similarly held 'that these tymes doe not suit such playes and idle shewes'.2 No doubt many who voted for it hoped that the injunction would permanently remain in effect, but the explicit intent of the bill before Parliament was to stop playing at a particularly charged moment, one that demanded 'sad and pious Solemnity' rather than public sport, and that proposed, 'instead of playgoing', determined efforts to effect 'Repentence, Reconciliation, and Peace with God'. The king had raised his standard at Nottingham on 22 August, eleven days before the bill was approved, and, with civil conflict inevitable, fasts and prayers had been ordered to appease and avert the wrath of God that seemed already to be in evidence. The deteriorated political situation and the public worship mandated in response were the 'sad causes' and the 'set Times of Humiliation' that the bill spoke of. In 1642, the decision to prohibit playing was undertaken in the name of propriety at least as much as in that of politics.

Playing, of course, did not end with the 1642 ordinance ('ordinance' being the formal term used, until the king's execution, for acts passed

-167-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Reading, Society, and Politics in Early Modern England
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 363

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.