The years 1600 to 1604 saw the great change : the figure that had dominated England and represented her in the eyes of the world for half a century passed from the scene. But not before she had surmounted the last and saddest crisis of the reign with the Essex Rising — the fringes of which touched the Chamberlain’s men, and in which the Earl of Southampton was inculpated with Essex. In the theatre, a new period began in 1600 with the reopening of Blackfriars, after so many years, for the performances of the Children of the Chapel. This set up once more a rivalry between the private and the public theatre, of decisive importance for the future, and was accompanied by the outbreak of a stage-quarrel between Ben Jonson on one side, Marston and Dekker on the other, which touched rather more than the fringes of the Chamberlain’s men and Shakespeare in particular. These were the years in which he wrote Hamlet and Twelfth Night, Troilus and Cressida, with AW’s Well that Ends Well and Measure for Measure — the disenchanted titles of which might well stand as epigraphs for the time.
KeywordsPublic Theatre Private Theatre Wood Street Henry Versus Modern Poet
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