Renaissance Drama

Start Free Trial

What factors facilitated the growth of drama and theater during the Renaissance?

Quick answer:

Factors that facilitated the growth of drama and theater during the Renaissance include the development of the English language, intellectual excitement, the rise of permanent playhouses, and the spirit of discovery and expansion.

Expert Answers

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

The Renaissance was an exciting time for drama and theater, the growth of which was largely centered in England. For one thing, the English language was continually developing, and writers like Shakespeare were willing to innovate and explore new paths of expression.

Further, the era was one of intellectual excitement. With humanist ideas expanding out of Italy, playwrights embraced new subject matter. They no longer limited themselves to the morality plays of the medieval period but rather expanded into comedies, tragedies, and histories, taking ancient plays as a model (in line with the Renaissance interest in the ancient world) but making the forms their own and creatively renewing them. Shakespeare is, again, a prime example, but we can also turn to Christopher Marlowe and his brilliant works of drama to illustrate this point.

The theater world itself was changing in the Renaissance period, and this allowed for further growth. Permanent theater buildings were constructed (like the Globe, for instance) where theater companies had a home and large audiences could be accommodated. Audiences of all social classes could gather at these playhouses, and attending the theater became an outing for all who could afford a ticket (and since prices varied by seating areas, must people could). Drama became popular and in demand. Audiences were also thrilled by the elaborate costumes and special effects they saw on stage.

The Renaissance was also an era of new discoveries and expansion, and this, too, fueled drama as playwrights attempted to capture the excitement of the era in their plays. Think, for instance, of Shakespeare's The Tempest and how it comments on the themes of discovery and interactions with new peoples. Again, Renaissance drama was fueled by the spirit of the times, and this appealed to audiences in a major way.

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