An Essay On Criticism

1555 words - 6 pages

M.A. in English LiteratureCourse Title: English dramaStudent's Name : Khaled Saleh IbnianInstructor's Name: Dr. Ekbal Al jabbariAll for Love (play)All for Love or, the World Well Lost, is a heroic drama by John Dryden written in 1677. Today, it is Dryden's best-known and most performed play. It is a tragedy written in blank verse and is an attempt on Dryden's part to reinvigorate serious drama. It is an acknowledged imitation of Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, and focuses on the last hours of the lives of its hero and heroine.[1]Combining the unities of classical theatre and the style of Shakespearean drama, Dryden creates an elaborately formal production in which fashionable philosophies of the time could be discussed and debated in a public atmosphere. Dryden used the theatre as a forum for testing problematic philosophical, moral and political questions. The results of these investigations were to form the basis of his later works.The original 1677 production by the King's Company starred Charles Hart as Marc and Elizabeth Boutell as Cleopatra, with Michael Mohun adventitious and Katherine Corey as Octavia.[2] All for Love; also called, The World Well Lost is a tragedy by John Dryden, first acted and printed in 1677. Dryden deals in this play with the same subject as that of Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. Whilst, however, the elder poet "diffused the action of his play over Italy, Greece, and Egypt," Dryden laid every scene in the city of Alexandria. Moreover, he "contents himself with the concluding scene of Antony's history, instead of introducing the incidents of the war with Pompey, the negotiation with Lepidus, death of his first wife, and other circumstances which, in Shakespeare, only tend to distract our attention from the main interest of the drama" (Sir Walter Scott). Dryden, says Saintsbury, "omits whatever in the original story is shocking and repulsive from the romantic point of view.... The best pieces of All for Love cannot, of course, challenge comparison with the best pieces of Shakespeare ... but the best passages of this play, and, what is more, its general facture and style, equal, with certain time-allowance, the best things of Beaumont and Fletcher, and therefore the best things of almost any English tragedian save Shakespeare." The original cast included Hart as Antony, Mohun as Ventidius, Clarke as Dolabella, Goodman as Alexas, Griffin as Serapion, Mrs. Boutell as Cleopatra, and Mrs. Corey as Octavia. The play was revived at Lincoln's Inn Fields in February 1704, with Betterton as Antony, Mrs. Barry as Cleopatra, Wilks as Dolabella, and Mrs. Bracegirdle as Octavia; at Drury Lane in December 1718, with Booth as Antony, Ms. Oldfield as Cleopatra, and Mrs. Porter as Octavia.Serapion describes foreboding omens (of storms, whirlwinds, and the flooding of the Nile) of Egypt's impending doom. Alexas, Cleopatra's eunuch, dismisses Serapion's claims and is more concerned with Cleopatra's relationship with Antony. He...

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