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Political Communication and Political Culture in England, 1558-1688$
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Barbara J. Shapiro

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780804783620

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804783620.001.0001

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Drama and Political Education

Drama and Political Education

(p.104) Chapter Five Drama and Political Education
Political Communication and Political Culture in England, 1558-1688
Stanford University Press

This chapter looks at history plays and tragedies. It pays attention to the changing link between English historical writing and the dramatic treatment of historical events. It specifically analyzes the role of drama in early modern English political culture. Poetry, and therefore drama, was considered as a powerful force for moral and political reform. The masque on the ruler was regarded as divine authority and a beneficent source of wealth and peace. The outbreak of the civil war resulted in the diminution and the surcease of the masque. Numerous plays between 1678 and 1682 have evidenced the conflicting ideologies of the emerging Whigs and Tories. It is observed that Roman plays showed the contrasting vision of republican and imperial regimes and values. Changes in the political climate may have then transformed a politically innocuous play into a dangerous one or vice versa.

Keywords:   history plays, history tragedies, English historical writing, historical events, drama, English political culture, masque, civil war, Whigs, Tories

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