Golden Ages of Drama

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Golden Ages of Drama
Spain and England

Adam E Barratt
Dr. David Crespy
Theatre History – TH 267
Thursday, March 18, 2004
Golden Ages of Drama
Spain and England

If drama is the literature used in theatre, then as a simple definition, a golden age of drama is any time period in history that dramatic literature grew a great amount, at a great speed, from where it had started. There have been many golden ages of drama in many different places at many different times. The ironic thing about these great developments in dramatic literature is that just like most historical figures and their actions – the people forming this great drama did not realize that they were part of something so large and important to the future of theatre and drama itself. In this paper I will discuss some of the most important golden ages of drama focusing on the major playwrights of two golden ages of drama – those of Spain and England – and their contributions to the world of dramatic literature.

In order for a golden age of drama to form, many variables seem to have needed to be in place at the correct time, in the correct place. Each golden age of drama seems to coincide with the renaissance (Italian for rebirth) of that culture. For example – for the startup of the Spanish golden age of drama (1580 – 1680) many political and religious difficulties had to be overcome. With Spain becoming a world power under the rule of Philip II (1556-1598) and the riches gained from the discovery of the new world by Columbus just 80 years earlier – Spain had the resources to support the arts, which of course included drama. Possibly the most prolific playwright of all time came to the spotlight during this period. Lope de Vega (1562-1635) was an unknown rival to Shakespeare, who also wrote during this same time period – his plays were full of many characters, many time frames and many scenic locations. Vega’s true success was that he had a single goal...
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