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Dramatic Satire and the Crisis of Authority

  • Rebecca Yearling

Abstract

Negotiating a relationship between themselves and their audience was, of course, something that all playwrights of the time had to do, but it was an issue that was of particular importance to the satiric playwright, given that the efficacy of satire relies on the audience’s willingness to accept the satirist as a source of moral truth. The satiric playwright needs to find a way of making his spectators respect and agree with his judgements, in order to bring them to share his view of the world, to recognise and condemn what he sees as the vices and follies of their society.

Keywords

Social Critic Moral Truth Happy Ending Moral Message Early Play 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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    Matthew Steggle, for example, gives an account of the way in which it ‘celebrates the imperfectly articulated, the irrational and the playful, or, put another way, a sense of fun’. Steggle, ‘Varieties of Fantasy in What You Will’, in ed. Wharton, Drama of John Marston p. 57. See also James Bednarz, Shakespeare and the Poets’ War (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001) pp. 170–4;Google Scholar
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    Cato committed suicide in 46 BC, after failing to prevent Julius Caesar’s rise as dictator of Rome. His death was, in the early modern period, typically read as an act of Stoic courage, demonstrating an admirable commitment to moral principle. However, educated spectators would also have been aware of the alternative perspectives on Cato’s death put forward by writers like Plutarch in his Lives, which questioned the romanticising of Cato as an ideal hero-philosopher. For more on this, see Mark Beck, ‘The Socratic Paradigm’, in A Companion to Plutarch, ed. Mark Beck (Oxford: Blackwell, 1988) pp. 470–3.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Rebecca Yearling 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca Yearling
    • 1
  1. 1.Keele UniversityUK

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