(Critical Survey of Literature, Revised Edition)

THE ROMAN ACTOR depicts the degeneracy of imperial Rome under the tyrant Domitian. In contrast to the general corruption stand Paris, the actor, and two senators of Stoic persuasion. The most original and impressive element of the play is the character of Paris. Unfortunately, the plot revolves around Domitian, a much less interesting character, while Paris is forced awkwardly into the central action. Paris, in defending the theater of Rome, is Massinger’s spokesman for the Stuart theater.