Discuss the poetic drama in the Romantic period

MODERN ENGLISH LITERATURE NOTES

The play is written mainly in verse:

 

  • - In earlier times all plays throughout Europe were in verse, and tragedy continued to be written so long after prose had become the accepted medium for comedy. Shakespeare interpolated comic scenes in prose into his great poetic plays; and by the time of Dryden, prose comedies existed side by side with tragedies in verse.
  • - As the theatre increasingly attracted a mass audience, prose (with a greater or lesser approximation to everyday speech) became the accepted mode of expression for all plays.

- Works written by poets in dramatic form:

 

  • o Lord Byron’s Werner (1830)
  • o Browning’s A Blot in the ‘Scutcheon (1843)
  • o Shelley’s The Cenci (1886), and Tennyson’s Becket (1893)—had some success, but on the whole the public preferred the rhetorical dramas of Sheridan Knowles and Bulwer-Lytton.
  • o Stephen Phillips briefly revived blank verse in the commercial theatre in London, but he was the last of the poetic dramatists in the tradition of the 19th century.

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