John dryden essay

Lisideius shows that the French plots carefully preserve Aristotle's unities of action, place, and time; Neander replies that English dramatists like Ben Jonson also kept the unities when they wanted to, but that they preferred to develop character and motive.

He relies heavily on Corneille - and through him on Horace - which places him in a pragmatic tradition. Sharma, K. Neander rejects the argument that change of place and time diminishes dramatic credibility in drama. Ker Oxford: Clarendon Press, To read Macrobius, explaining the propriety and elegancy of many words in Virgil, which I had before passed over without consideration, as common things, is enough to assure me that I ought to think the same of Terence; and that in the purity of his style which Tully so much valued that he ever carried his works about him there is yet left in him great room for admiration, if I knew but where to place it.

While French plays hew closer to classical notions of drama adhering to the unities of time, place and actionNeander steps in to support English drama precisely because of its subplots, mixture of mirth and tragedy in tragicomedyand spirited, multiple characters.

Thunder, or of Swallows in a Chimney: those little undulations of sound, though almost vanishing before they reached them, yet still seeming to retain somewhat of their first horror which they had betwixt the Fleets: after they had attentively listened till such time as the sound by little and little went from them; Eugenius lifting up his head, and taking notice of it, was the first who congratulated to the rest that happy Omen of our Nations Victory adding, we had but this to desire in confirmation of it, that we might hear no more of that noise which was now leaving the English Coast.

dryden essay of dramatic poesy text pdf

Even Neander's final argument with Crites over whether rhyme is suitable in drama depends on Aristotle's Poetics: Neander says that Aristotle demands a verbally artful "lively" imitation of nature, while Crites thinks that dramatic imitation ceases to be "just" when it departs from ordinary speech—i.

For him, human actions will seem more natural if they get enough time to develop. However, he is not a rule bound critic, tied down to the classical unities or to notions of what constitutes a "proper" character for the stage.

Crites argues in favor of the ancients: they established the unities; dramatic rules were spelled out by Aristotle which the current-and esteemed-French playwrights follow; and Ben Jonson-the greatest English playwright, according to Crites-followed the ancients' example by adhering to the unities.

Neander extends his criticism of French drama - into his reasoning for his preference for Shakespeare over Ben Jonson. As a poet, Dryden is best known as a satirist and was England's first Poet Laureate in French drama raises perfection but has no soul or emotions as it primarily focuses on plot.

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An Essay of Dramatic Poesy by John Dryden: An Overview