Tudor Drama - A Frame


The Tudor Period (1485-1558), encompassing the reigns of Henry VII through Mary I and ending as Elizabeth ascended, was a wide ranging era in both the realms of politics and theatre. As a result "All that is most characteristic in the development of the English theatre falls easily within the one hundred and eighteen years [including the reign of Elizabeth 1558-1603] of [the Tudor's] dominion" writes Tucker Brooke in his book Tudor Drama: A History of English National Drama to the Retirement of Shakespeare.

From here we begin by reducing our focus to what seems to be classically treated as the most defining aspect of this 73 year Tudor era (excluding Elizabeth): the split between England and the Holy Roman Empire under the monarchy of Henry VIII. The divide between the new Church of England, Lutheranism, and Catholicism rocked the European world whose impacts carried its way directly into the realm of the theatre.

Likewise against the Church arose a new form of play outside the classically defined dichotomy of Comedy and Tragedy: The Heroic Play. These plays found roots in the ballads and folk tales of commoners. Contrasting the aristocratic Morality plays and the bourgeois Mystery plays of the "civic middle class" (Brooke 71), heroic plays spoke for the plights of the lower classes. In turn, they also turned their heroes into anti-establishment, and especially anti-catholic figures (Kermode, Scott-Warren, Van Elk).

It is this latter category of Tudor Drama that we have turned our attention to. Because the plays are rooted in folk heroes, well known stories had been treated by a variety of playwrights throughout the Tudor Period, including the tales of Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham.

By examining the evolution of Robin Hood in theatre through the Tudor Period, we seek to encompass and analyze this tumultuous time and how the political and religious events of England permeated through and became represented in theatre.


Hi Group,

There is a lot of great thought here, and I'm really eager to hear more about this time period. My initial concern, though, is that I'm having a hard time telling exactly what your focus will be in this project. You use most of this entry to discuss the evolution of comedy through the Tudor period, but then end by saying that you will discuss heroic drama - so, I'm a little confused as to what you want to examine. Is it the genealogy that leads from Comedy to heroic drama? Is it Heroic Drama itself? Or is it specifically the evolution of the Robin Hood character/myth?

If it's the latter, I'm a little afraid that there might not be enough information on so specific a topic. I find your narrative of the development of Comedy into the Heroic drama extremely intriguing, but I also worry that that topic could shoot out in lots of different directions. Discussing the genre of Heroic drama would be interesting but broad, so you might consider if there is a specific text or artist whose work you would like to examine within that genre.

I would also like to see a little bit more on how your group came to a consensus on the topic.

Finally, and most importantly, you haven't provided citations for any of your sources. It is extremely important that you show which sources you are using since it will help clarify for me what exactly you're looking at (thus clarifying your topic) and what else you need to examine.

So as not to hinder your progress, I'm not going to ask you to resubmit your proposal. Instead, I'm asking that you post an addendum to the proposal (as soon as possible) that answers the questions I'm posing above and that narrows your scope to a more manageable scope.

Please let me know if you have any questions,


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This page contains a single entry by daven073 published on November 8, 2012 11:02 AM.

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