She Stoops to Conquer – A Deliberate Reaction against Sentimental Comedy

Before Goldsmith and Sheridan appeared on the scene there had been a decay of true comedy and sentimentalisation was growing up. Pity was creeping into the world of intellectual laughter. The Comedy of Manners had passed through a heyday of extraordinary brilliance and licentiousness, with the Restoration dramatists. But after the Stuarts, the standard of public decency rose higher, and Jeremy … [Read more...]

The School for Scandal as a Comedy of Manners

The name ‘Comedy of Manners’ is applied to the comedies of the late 17th century of the restoration dramatists, and revived in the 18th century by Sheridan and Goldsmith, where the emphasis is laid upon the social follies of the characters rather than on humours of plot and situation. The comedy of manners is almost wholly intellectual. It is also wholly aristocratic; the manners displayed being … [Read more...]

The Modernity of Chaucer

  The kaleidoscope presents an orderly arrangement of elements, most snapshots do not. An increase in naturalism means a decrease in order. Most artistc value rests, among other things, on the exact reconciliation of these demands. Primitive art, on the whole, is an art of rigid symmetries, sacrificing plausibility to a wonderful sense of patterns, while the art of impressionists went so far … [Read more...]

Musee des Beaux Arts

MUSÉE DES BEAUX ARTS  (THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS)                                                             W.H. Auden “Musée Des Beaux Arts” has been a popular poem ever since it was published in 1939. To understand it properly, it is necessary, first, to understand the various references within the poem. The title of the poem refers to a Brussels art gallery, whilst the “old masters” are the … [Read more...]


Shakespeare was a born story-teller, and his career as an artist began with storytelling for its own sake. His first attempt at tragedy – Titus Andronicus – remains a melodrama, a horror story, and so successful is it that at a recent production of the play at Stratford-on-Avon, it was necessary to have a nurse in attendance to minister to the women who fainted as the play’s horrors were revealed. … [Read more...]

Chaucer – The General Prologue

The General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales opens with an essentially sexual image to explain seasonal change: Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote The droghte of March hath percedt o the roote And bathed every veyne in swich licour Of which vertu engendered is the flour From the piercing liquid of April’s showers comes new life, the flower. Successive images of the wind … [Read more...]

Love’s Labour’s Lost

“Love’s Labour’s Lost was a battle in a private war between court factions.” This statement by Richard David neatly and clearly underlines the uniqueness of the play. No other play shows so much consistent evidence of Shakespeare’s involvement in one of the many vituperative literary quarrels of the day, to such an extent that there are many both obvious and hidden verbal references to it. Even … [Read more...]


Webster began writing for the stage in 1601. Between 1601 and 1607 he worked upon Marston’s play The Malcontent. He is also said to have collaborated with Dekker in The History of Sir Thomas Wyatt and also in Northward Ho! He published elegies upon the death of Prince Henry in 1613. Besides the two great tragedies, he also wrote another tragedy Appius and Virginia. He also wrote a tragic-comedy … [Read more...]

Two Gentlemen of Verona

The brilliance of two modern productions of The Comedy of Errors and Love’s Labours Lost has rescued those plays from near oblivion. But the beguiling ways of modern director have, as yet, done nothing to blow the dust from The Two Gentlemen of Verona. It is probably the probably the least popular of all Shakespeare’s plays. The combination of (1) a complicated plot (2) a remote world, (3) … [Read more...]

The Spanish Tragedy – Kyd

The opening is typically Senecan in character. The ghost of Andrea, a Spanish Courtier and Revenge are introduced at first and they are supposed to watch the development of the play. They serve as chorus in the typical Senecan style. The Spanish General who relates the death of don Andrea is the Prologue of the play. The play centers around the Marshal of Spain, Hieronimo and his son Horatio. … [Read more...]