Essay of Dramatic Poesie  is a work by John Dryden , England's first Poet Laureate , in which Dryden attempts to justify drama as a legitimate form of "poetry" comparable to the epic, as well as defend English drama against that of the ancients and the French. In presenting his argument, Dryden takes up the subject that Philip Sidney had set forth in his Defence of Poesie in The treatise is a dialogue between four speakers: Eugenius, Crites, Lisideius, and Neander. The four speakers are Sir Robert Howard [Crites], Lord Buckhurst or Charles Sackville [Eugenius], Sir Charles Sedley [Lisedeius], and Dryden himself neander means "new man" and implies that Dryden, as a respected member of the gentry class, is entitled to join in this dialogue on an equal footing with the three older men who are his social superiors.
An Essay of Dramatic Poesy by John Dryden: An Overview
John Dryden: An Essay of Dramatic Poesy - Words
The powerful and popular rivals like Thomas Shadwell and Richard Flecknoe and the swift changes in the authority of literature, religion and politics pressured Dryden to produce a bunch of literary works that were solely to express his support to either of the groups. An Essay on Dramatic Poesy is a work where he, by using a dialogue device modelled on the ancient masters, brings various critical arguments of his contemporary England regarding dramatic poetry. A seemingly desperate and embarrassing justification of English theatre by Dryden through his alter ego as a fine English man called Neander indicates a period in the British history where not only creating poetry was important but also the marketing of culture and fashioning of new idioms of art. Crites : He represents Sir Robert Howard.
John Dryden: An Essay of Dramatic Poesy
Please join StudyMode to read the full document. In the controversy Dryden takes no extreme position and is sensible enough to give the Ancients their respect. Through his wit and shrewd analysis, he removes the difficulty which had confused the issue.
Mobile users, click here to return to the main page. I could produce, even in Shakespeare's and Fletcher's works, some plays which are almost exactly formed; as The Merry Wives of Windsor , and The Scornful Lady ; but because generally speaking Shakespeare, who writ first, did not perfectly observe the laws of comedy, and Fletcher, who came nearer to perfection, yet through carelessness made many faults, I will take the pattern of a perfect play from Ben Jonson, who was a careful and learned observer of the dramatic laws, and from all his comedies I shall select The Silent Woman ; of which I will make a short examen, according to those rules which the French observe. As Neander was beginning to examine The Silent Woman , Eugenius, looking earnestly upon him: 'I beseech you, Neander,' said he, 'gratify the company and me in particular so far as, before you speak of the play, to give us a character of the author; and tell us frankly your opinion whether you do not think all writers, both French and English, ought to give place to him. Besides, in performing them, it will be first necessary to speak somewhat of Shakespeare and Fletcher, his rivals in poesy; and one of them, in my opinion, at least his equal, perhaps his superior.