Christopher Fry Poetic Drama

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Şafak Horzum

Poetic Drama and Its Revival in 20th Century in English Literature: A Brief Analysis of Fry’s The Lady’s Not for Burning

Poetic drama, having had its roots in the Elizabethan Age in England with the great playwrights such as William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson and Christopher Marlowe who breathed into the English drama the life spirit of poetry by means of their mighty lines, struggled a lot to revive in the nineteenth century and succeeded in the first half of the twentieth century with playwrights such as E. Martin Browne, T. S. Eliot and Christopher Fry. There were obstacles for this artistic form to find a place in the modern world which was in the turmoil of social and political alterations. With an emphasis on these obstacles for “poetic drama”, this paper will try to explain the new form based upon the ancient and to analyse Christopher Fry’s The Lady’s Not For Burning in the framework of poetic drama with the writer short biography.

In the nineteenth century, almost all the Romantic poets attempted to poetic drama. Since these poets took Shakespeare as the ultimate example for verse drama, they encountered some obstacles due to the fact that they wrote their plays in the “Elizabethan blank verse dialogue” (Savidge vi). Thus, the verse transformed into “a rhetorical vehicle, not a poetic one” (Black 155). Rather than reviewing their techniques to continue to the poetic form in drama, these Romantic poets decided that they could not trust to the actors for the reflection of true senses of verses and eventually set into writing closet dramas; therefore, “the place and function once occupied by poetic drama was . . . abandoned to opera” (Trewin 12). In the 1930s, the poetic drama gained impetus with the redefining of techniques of T. S. Eliot to compose plays and Christopher Fry was one to use them in his plays successfully.

In order not to fall into the situations of playwrights who were unable to comprehend the relationship between...
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