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gbeatty eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'm afraid this question is too big and too open-ended to really address in this format. Johnson was one of Shakespeare's contemporaries, and wrote a number of plays. He's best known for his comedies, which tended to be pretty dark and cynical about humanity. I'm most fond of Volpone, but others consider The Alchemist to be his best play. He also wrote masques for the court (allegories and elaborate shows using expensive designs, music, and dance). To really examine him as a dramatist, you'd need to read one or more of the comedies and one or more masques, such as The Mask of Blackness. You'd then want to compare their qualities and analyze similarities, differences, etc.


arjun | Student

In literature, we find Ben Johnson as a dramatist, critic and scholar of Elizabethan age. He always criticizes romantic comedies because of rules and regulations. Even he criticizes Shakespeare `s plays, “stupid monkey plays and chat between clowns”., and about ‘The tempest `– “a stupid tedious stuffy fairy tale” and points out that the play is devoid of the seriousness of comedy and has a thin plot.
Actually romantic comedy was created by university wits and Shakespeare got lot popularity where as Johnson reacted against it and tried to establish classical comedy on the stage. In English comedy He introduced realism. In his opinion, drama should be the reflection of life and mingled it with humour. He introduced satire in order to correct the society. According to smith “As for satire he was committed to it by his conception of the purpose of comedy. …..plays.” He introduced humour excessively in characters and tried to cure it by laughing.
As a dramatist he observes three unities because he is a great lover of ancient writers.
It is fact that Johnson adds great ornament to English comedy but there are some weaknesses are strictly committed by him that is following rules and regulation, doctrine and principle. On the whole, Johnson is a great comic, dramatist and critic of his age he is known a great classical dramatist.

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A Midsummer Night's Dream

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