What are the differences between French and English theaters during the 17th century?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In France the theatre was a center of social hovering because, at that time, the Kingdom of Louis XIV had brought so much patronage to the arts, and so many riches to the country (not to mention fame, class, and style) that more artists were able to expand their talents. The main plays came from Moliere, Racine, and Corliere. They contributed to a shift from tragedy/comedy to play drama. The tragedie Burgosie, which dealt with popular issues rather than just the aristocracy, began to grow as well as the popularity of attending these plays.

In England the situation was different due to the Interregnum, or the Puritan rule, which banned and closed theatres. After this ended and they were reinstated, females began to appear on stage (actual women acting). Charles II, as he reinstated the monarchy gave ample license for theatricals to be open-minded, and even sexually racy. He, himself had 7 mistresses and over 15 illegitimate children, so this was not a problem. Restoration theatre then was an outlet for the repression brought in by the Cromwell/antimonarchic rule, and was a way to allow the works of Marlowe, Johnson, Shakespear, and others to come to life again.

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