What's the difference between Renaissance Tragedies and Morality plays, using Doctor Faustus as an example?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Morality plays were a late medieval dramatic genre, typical growing out of the slightly earlier genre of Mystery plays. Although the themes were not purely Scriptural, they tended ti have strong moral overtones. They were based on stock rather than individuated characters. The characters personify abstract moral characters and the plots revolve around how virtue triumphs in the face of vice. The versification is often awkward, still bearing marks of strong stress or accentual prosody as opposed to fully developed accentual syllabic meter. Rhymed verse was more common than blank verse.

In Renaissance tragedy, starting with Marlowe, a more fluid, fully developed accentual syllabic meter is common. Characters are individuals, and plots often centered around revenge or passion rather than the straightforwatrd conflict of virtue and vice (although in the specific genre of revenge tragedy, often the morality is a matter of a noble hero vs. an evil villain)

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial