Criticism In A Groat's-Worth Of Wit?

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A Groat 's-worth of Wit was one of many works which voiced the frustrations of that generation. These frustrations are also presented in the beginning of the book, through the conflict between Roberto and his father, Gorinius. Roberto 's father is an unlearned man who acquires a great fortune and is contemptuous of learned men who despite their excellent education lack the means to properly provide for themselves (Greene, pp. 5-6). Thus, Greene 's criticism of his fellow play-writers tells a lot about the social circumstances which drove 16th century writers to write for the stage. It also expresses his view that for a great writer, the theater is a compromise, and a dangerous one at that. Actors and theater owners exploit his genius to make profits while he himself becomes debauched by the company he keeps, and writes blasphemous and sinful works which distance him from God 's mercy. A seemingly opposite view of the theater is presented in Thomas Nashe 's Pierce Penniless, his supplication to the Divell. Interestingly, the hero of this tale is once again a scholar who is frustrated by his economic situation and envious of those who are more prosperous, albeit inferior to him in his own eyes. But Nashe 's envy, unlike Greene 's, was centered not only on merchants and holders of public positions but also on the print…show more content…
Touching on the sin of sloth, Pierce addresses the subject of the theater. Sloth, argues Pierce, is the product of idleness. The absence of an external threat to the country during the Elizabethan era, along with influx in courtly positions, created a wide stratum of courtiers and soldiers with an abundance of leisure. These men spend their afternoons pursuing idle pleasures such as visiting brothels, drinking, gambling and visiting the theater. Of all these questionable activities, the theater is the least harmful, argues Pierce, and goes even further and asks: "Nay, what if I prove plays to be no extreme, but a rare exercise of virtue?"
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