Criticism: Politics And Heroic Drama - Essay

Susan Staves (essay date 1979)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Staves, Susan. “Authority and Obligation in the State: ‘Let Majesty no more be held Divine.’” In Players' Scepters: Fictions of Authority in the Restoration, pp. 43-73. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1979.

[In the following essay, Staves analyzes heroic drama in the political context of the years immediately following the Restoration.]


The issues which erupted into the civil war were not solved by that war but remained for Englishmen to struggle with until nearly the end of the seventeenth century. In particular, the revolution failed to define the limits of the king's authority over his subjects. It merely weakened...

(The entire section is 11963 words.)

J. Douglas Canfield (essay date 2000)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Canfield, J. Douglas. “Heroes and States: Heroic Romance.” In Heroes and States: On the Ideology of Restoration Tragedy, pp. 6-25. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 2000.

[In this essay, Canfield uses Dryden's Conquest of Granada as an exemplary heroic drama in order to uncover the political and ideological values that underlie the genre.]

The restored king and court had been quite taken with French drama in their exiled sojourn on the continent, particularly the rhymed romances and tragedies of France's greatest dramatist at midcentury, Pierre Corneille. So Charles II invited his courtier playwrights to follow suit. The very formal style of...

(The entire section is 9685 words.)