How is Thomas Middleton's The Changeling different from traditional tragedies?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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The Changeling, by Thomas Middleton and William Rowley displays many of the features common to Jacobean tragedy, and is also emblematic of the way that tragedy had evolved from classical models. First, there were the obvious changes in performance, including elimination of the chorus, the actors no longer wearing masks, and the presence of more than three actors. On the level of plot, a major generic shift was to the comic sub-plot, often with rustics, madmen, or fools, a feature not found in classical tragedy. Another change is that classical tragedy tended to emphasize fundamentally good people who either could not escape ancestral curses or who made a fatal error of some sort, whereas all the characters in The Changeling are without redeeming virtues; there is no sense of a struggle for moral goodness, only an effort to get away with immoral behaviour.


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