What were the reasons for the decline of drama after Shakespeare's time period?

Drama declined in England after Shakespeare's time period primarily in response to political factors. First, James I increased censorship of the theatre, which gradually chilled creativity. Further, wealth polarization, increasing dissatisfaction with the Stuart dynasty, civil war, and, finally, the shuttering of the theaters under Cromwell all led to the sharp decline of the dramatic arts.

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There were many reasons for the decline of drama after Shakespeare's time period, but one of the biggest reasons was the absence of patronage by the crown. When Shakespeare first began as a playwright, it was during the monarchy of Elizabeth or during the Elizabethan era. Elizabeth herself was extremely well-read and literate. She spoke and read a number of languages and also admired her father's penchant for writing, as Henry VIII is thought to have written Greensleeves for Elizabeth's mother, Anne Boleyn. Even if historians determine that Henry did not compose the song, he nevertheless was engaged with music and supported musical endeavors and other arts in his court.

Elizabeth was not only supportive of the burgeoning theater industry, but she was a patron and fan herself. She encouraged Shakespeare and other playwrights to continue producing works that could be acted on the London stage.

For this reason, the Elizabethan Age generally is considered to have been the Golden Age of the English theater, because Elizabeth encouraged so many artists to continue with their works and was a patron in terms of providing economic support. In addition to Shakespeare, other contemporaneous writers include Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Kyd, and Ben Jonson, among others.

Another reason that Elizabeth was a great patron of the theater was that she did not reject the arts for religious or ideological reasons. She had witnessed tremendous strife in her lifetime. Her mother was beheaded shortly after her own birth, and she was subject to the changing attitudes towards the legitimacy of her father, first, and then her sister Mary. She also witnessed the violence that fanatical ideology unleashed as the country pivoted from the Anglican Church to the Catholic Church and back again.

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The rise of Puritanism is a key factor in the decline of drama in England after Shakespeare. The Puritans were fanatical Protestants who regarded the theatre and other forms of entertainment as sinful, so they were always trying to get theatres closed down.

Although Puritans were around in Shakespeare's day, Queen Elizabeth kept them in check, and so English theatre thrived during her reign. However, under later monarchs, Puritans become more powerful and important in public life, giving them a greater degree of control over what people could or couldn't do.

Not long after the outbreak of the English Civil War, the Puritan-dominated Long Parliament closed down all the theaters in London. Then as now, London was the epicenter of English theatre, and so the closing down of theatres had a catastrophic effect on drama in the land of Shakespeare, Marlowe, and Jonson.

Theatres would remain closed until the restoration of the monarchy in 1660. The ascension to the throne of Charles II, a notable patron of the theatrical arts, brought about something of a renaissance in English drama, most notably in the field of comedy, with playwrights such as John Lacy and George Etheridge capturing the public mood for humor and frivolity after years of Puritanical repression.

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There were several reasons for the decline of drama after Shakespeare's time period. First, though there was definitely censorship in the Elizabethan age, Elizabeth I's open, vibrant, and widely prosperous society allowed the arts to flourish. Shakespeare continued to write after her death, and for about another decade, drama continued to flourish in England.

However, James I's reign was the beginning of a chilling effect on theater. James increased censorship, such as forbidding production of Sir Walter Raleigh's play The Historie of the World because he found it too critical of rulers. Further, James I used the ideology of the divine right of kings to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of himself and a few friends. This growing wealth inequality led to increased poverty, which also had a negative impact on theater.

As the country became increasingly polarized, the monarchy became more and more out of touch. As the country careened towards civil war under Charles I, this disruptive political factor figured into the decline of drama. The Puritan victory in the English Civil War, which led to the 1642 shuttering of the theaters as an immoral influence, was a final blow to dramatic arts in that period. Drama would not come back to life again until the restoration of the monarchy.

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Two reasons for the decline of Elizabethean theatre is the closing of the theatres by the plague outbreaks during 1592 caused theatres to close for 2 years. After that, the Puritan's closing of the theatres in 1642 as immoral and frivolous certainly caused the theatre to suffer a black eye.

The Jacobeans and those who followed did not have Shakespeare's mastery of the human spirit and failed to understand that at the core of human personality is a deeply moral drive. The Jacobean tragedy was darker and much more focused on revenge. The style reverted back to the Greek tragedy of Seneca. Even in Shakespeare's tragedies, the moral triumph of law remained a firm constant. Shakespeare was a genius in unravelling the deepest secrets of the human spirit.

In comedies, the theatre degenerated into depravity which further alienated the Puritan controlled government officials and encouraged further censorship of performances.

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After the death of Shakespeare, the allure of drama gave way to newer genres though not entirely and not all at once.  Printing techniques were being perfected and more books were printed to a (slightly) more literate society making the need for the drama a little less noticeable.  Also England, in the century following Shakespeare's death, fought several wars with quite a few countries depleting many things needed for the theater:  actors, leisure time and an appreciation for the arts all took a hit.

This was happening all over Europe and not all of the decline can be attributed to the death of Shakespeare.  However, whenever the master quits producing, often the art form dies- at least in the worst case scenario.  Sometimes, it is re-invented and transformed.

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