Restoration and Jacobean theatre

Essay by alusingtamCollege, UndergraduateA, November 2014

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Alu Singtam

Professor Kurt Cobain

British Poetry and Drama 17th and 18th Centuries

26th September, 2014

A brief essay on the similarities and differences between Jacobean and Restoration theatres

Jacobean theatre alongside Caroline theatre falls under the category of the English Renaissance Theatre which is basically the theatre of England which occurred between the Reformation to the closure of the theatres in 1642. This period of English theatre is considered to be the most brilliant period in the history of English theatre owing to the contributions of William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe and Ben Jonson. The genres of the drama of this period included the history plays, tragedy and comedy. Shakespeare's plays such as Henry V and Richard III, Marlowe's Edward II belong to this category. Famous tragedies of this period include Marlowe's Dr. Faustus and John Webster's the Duchess of Malfi. The Puritan rule under Oliver Cromwell banned and ordered the closing of all theatres.

One reason for this is that the Puritans were against the representation of women by young men in female costume.

"This squashing of the theatres was dramatically reversed at the accession of Charles II. He landed at Dover in May 1660, and by August he had granted a monopoly to run two London theatres to William Davenant and Thomas Killigrew. These patents did not restore the same sort of theatre that had existed in London before the Civil War. Where before there had been a number of theatres, now there were only two, the King's Company, run by Killigrew, and the Duke's Company, run by Davenant. They both set up shop in converted tennis courts, which provided a good space for theatre since they were enclosed spaces with galleries and boxes for spectators. Custom - built theatres later replaced the makeshift spaces :...