Power Of Drama And Theatre In The Renaissance

1884 Words8 Pages
In this essay I will discuss how the power of drama and theatre affected the Renaissance. I intend to go through the changes of the theatre at this time, and how these changes came about. I will examine whether the power structure shifted during the Renaissance and I question as to who held the power to make changes in theatre. I will use the examples of Sir Thomas More and Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe to illustrate the changes that occurred in theatre during the Renaissance period.
The English Renaissance period occurred during the 16th and 17th centuries; during this time the interest in classicism and humanism was on the rise, and artistic innovation grew. Queen Elizabeth I reined over England from 1558 to 1603, and the majority
…show more content…
During this period the theatre went through many changes, due to various new influences and powers that came into focus. "The role of theatre in this time period changed drastically. Before the renaissance, theatre was mostly dominated by the church. With all the changes being made during the renaissance, theatre became a more public controlled form of performance art. People saw it as public amusement" (Bellinger). The power in which the monarch held at the time, and how they exercised that power, came through the enforcement of a royal proclamation in 1559 which called for the licensing of plays for performance. The Master of the Revels was a key figure in the licensing and censorship of drama and the theatre from the time of Shakespeare to the closing of the theatres in 1642. The Master was an official in the Lord Chamberlain 's office, responsible for providing suitable entertainment at court. The Master facilitated actors to become accessories of the court and aristocracy, while also providing them with a stable work environment that allowed them to practice their trade (Dutton). The Master 's primary role was to suppress any topics that may cause social chaos; all texts of plays wishing to be licensed had to be submitted to the Master for approval. Topics such as religion, sacrilege and criticism of sovereigns were sensitive and were some of the reasons for the introduction of the strict censorship. Many of the playwrights at the time were feeling aggravated with not being able to express their words as they saw fit. Shakespeare for example, makes reference to the interference of the written works at the time. In the sonnets he complains of being "tongue-tied" by authority. Making a clear comment on Marlowe 's murder by the State, in As You Like It, he makes a character say: "When a man 's verses cannot be understood, nor a man 's good wit seconded with the forward child understanding, it strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room.
Open Document