She Stoop Figurative Language

Carey, John. John Donne: Life, Mind, and Art. Boston: Faber

& Faber, 1990. Clements, Arthur L. Poetry of Contemplation: John Donne, George Herbert, Henry Vaughan and the Modern Period. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1990. Edwards, David L. John Donne: Man of Flesh and Spirit.

Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 2002. Gardner, Helen, ed. John Donne: The Divine Poems. Oxford:

Clarendon Press, 1969. Johnson, Jeffrey. The Theology of John Donne. Cambridge: D.

S. Brewer, 2001. Marotti, Arthur F. "John Donne's Conflicted Anti-Catholicism." The Journal of English and Germanic Philology 101, no. 3 (July 2002): 358-378.

Mintz, Susannah B. "'Forget the Hee and Shee': Gender and Play in John Donne." Modern Philology 98, no. 4 (May 2001): 577.

Parfitt, George A. E. John Donne: A Literary Life. Basingstoke, England: Macmillan, 1989.

DRAMA AND POETRY Poetry was abundant in 16th- and 17th-century English drama, such as that written by William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, and others. Most playwrights were also poets, so the incorporation of one genre into another came naturally. Renaissance writers shared concerns for art's form with those of their era. The improvement of nature, an idea that would become foreign to literature of later centuries, extended to all aspects of life in Elizabethan England. Just as the culture appreciated a formally designed garden in which humans executed control over plants by forcing them into various elaborate and intricate shapes and designs, they appreciated the form that poetry represented.

While later realistic writers shaped dialogue to reproduce the spoken word perfectly, early dramatists used the poetic meter of iambic pentameter to format dialogue, adopting the every-other-syllable stress that most closely matched the rhythm of speech. Poetry also allowed control over logistical concerns, such as an actor's delivery, as well as concerns of a more artistic nature, such as his portrayal of emotions. At a time when the English language continued to develop and exhibited various spellings of the same words (Shakespeare spelled his name at least three different ways), dramatists experimented in poetry with new words, contriving pleasing phonetic effects at times.

The concern with models also affected the adaptation of poetry into drama. Elizabethan aesthetics dictated that dramatists look to the classics, adopting Plautus and Terence for comedy, and Seneca for tragedy. Sir Philip Sidney would draw from Aristotle's opinion when he wrote in his The Defence of Poesy (1595) that the poet does not faithfully imitate true "fallen nature," but rather an ideal, a "golden" nature. Sidney wrote his defense in reaction to Puritan attacks against poetry as having low social and moral values. using classical conventions as springboards, dramatists expressed their originality with a combining of forms, as noted in the comic lines from Shakespeare's Hamlet (1600-1601) when Polonius describes the visiting actors as "either for tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-historical-comical-pastoral" (2.2.392-97).

Literary decorum demanded that drama adapt the ideal genre of poetry for communication with its audience. Not all verses rhymed; those that did generally indicated a shift to a serious and formal subject by the dramatist. Because the early plays were staged outside, often victim to changing weather conditions, they moved rapidly, lacking the breaks at scene and act changes to which modern audiences are accustomed. The use of poetry in dialogue aided in audience understanding of rapidly spoken speeches. Many plays also incorporated songs, naturally structured as poetry. In the Elizabethan court, as well as that of the two Stuarts to follow, James I and Charles I, the contents of drama were dictated by courtly concerns, which also affected their form. Aristocrats patronized dramatic presentations and helped support the poets who wrote them. Courtly romances generally proved long-winded affairs, elegant but artificial, with a high-toned poetry supporting formal conventions. In part, the poetry met political demands, imitating the order and hierarchy that the court represented. Because honor proved the most desirable courtly human attribute, and because of its connotation of a highly developed sensibility, poetry proved the best manner for its use as a theme. Discipline was highly valued and the universal truth that the higher power ruled the lower could be easily adapted to poetry. Because most tragedies at the end of the 16th century and many in the early 17th century focused on noble characters, dialogue in verse proved appropriate to their high stations. Comedies were considered a lower art form and produced a mix of prose and verse, with middle- and lower-class characters speaking in prose.

Tragedy, such as John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi (1614), incorporated the rhyming couplet throughout to conclude serious speeches, as in the two lines that conclude the third scene of the second act: " 'though lust do mask in nev'r so strange disguise, / She's oft found witty but is never wise.'" Jonson employed poetry to open his dark comedy Volpone; or, The Fox

(1616), creating wordplay by using the letters of the character name Volpone to begin each of the first seven lines:

V olpone, childless, rich, feigns sick, despairs, O ffers his state to hopes of several heirs, L ies languishing; his Parasite receives P resents of all, assures, deludes, then weaves O ther cross plots, which ope' themselves, are told.

N ew tricks for safety are sought; they thrive, when, bold, E ach tempts th'other again, and all are sold.

Thomas Middleton's satirical dramas used the rhyming couplet to create epigrams, or wise sayings that concluded mock-moralistic dialogue. Examples from A Chaste Maid in Cheapside (1630), which focused on the seven deadly sins, include "He has both the cost and torment; when the strings / Of his heart frets, I feed, laugh, or sing" (1.2.52-53) and "so say I; Though they strive more, / There comes as proud behind as goes before" (2.4.15-16). John Ford commonly incorporated songs into his tragedies, his wonderfully cynical The Broken Heart (ca. 1629) a good example, containing "Penthea's Dying Song" and "Calantha's Dirge."

However, as the century progressed, and civil wars and revolt proved that no universal truth existed, those individuals with social and political power promoted the idea that a universal truth proved unnecessary. Differing views could easily exist within the same culture, so drama began to focus more on questions than answers. Society showed an appreciation for difference, eschewing the old foundation of hierarchy and uniformity. But during the Interregnum, the years between the execution of Charles I in 1649 and 1660, the Commonwealth became England's government. Within the Commonwealth Oliver Cromwell served as lord protector from 1653 to 1659, and during those years the government was properly referred to as the Protectorate. His self-assigned mission to protect the masses included shielding them from the decadence of art. For 11 years, most drama and art was censored, mirroring the lack of free expression supported by Cromwell and his Protestant faction. While writers such as John Milton continued to produce polemical prose and some poetry, drama basically disappeared.

During the Restoration, the period 1660-1700, drama reappeared under the patronage of Charles II. An affable monarch who encouraged art, Charles chartered two acting companies in 1660, the King's Players and the Duke's Players. In 1662 he showed his intellectual bent by chartering the Royal Society of London for the Improving of Natural Knowledge, a display of the monarch's approval of the emerging scientific age. When Charles died in 1685 his brother, James II, succeeded to the throne, only to be chased from the country in 1688 during the Jacobite rebellion. James's daughter, Mary, and her husband, William, took the throne, demanding an oath of allegiance that many artists who supported James found impossible to sign as long as their monarch lived, even in exile.

While Milton wrote as the last Renaissance poet, with great state and formality, John Dryden ushered in a new era of elegance. All art reflected the conflict of values that characterized the latter half of the 17th century but most often represented the interests of the wealthy, who could afford to patronize it. The long revered religious orthodoxy was challenged by philosophic skepticism, which had its roots in ancient Greece, reflected in contemporary work by the French writer Michele Montaigne. He and others argued that because humans gain knowledge through their senses, that knowledge will always remain incomplete. That is because senses do not exactly duplicate through human experience what actually occurs in nature. Man should declare nothing as absolute truth and should rely on custom in politics and in ethical and intellectual matters. All of these ideas influenced themes of drama and its incorporation of poetry, but probably none more than science. It seemed to promise that one day all mystery would disappear, and everything about nature and God would stand revealed.

Dryden, a man who wrote in literally every important form, can be used as representative of literary thought from 1660 to 1700. His preference for a simple natural wit guided his choice of format in drama. He turned from the elaborate styles of Milton and John Donne's metaphysical conceits to embrace a blank verse that imitated urbane conversation. While figura tive language remained acceptable for poetry when emotions should be engaged, it was intolerable in the rational exchanges then imitated on the stage. Some exceptions existed in works by minor dramatists. They included Nathaniel Lee (ca. 1649-92), whose wildly violent plots featured characters enduring great emotional swings and using extravagant rhetoric, and the poet and playwright Thomas Otway (1652-85), who specialized in pathos.

In his An Essay of Dramatic Poesy (1668) Dry den explained ideas summarized in the 20th century by the critic Earl Miner. According to Miner, Dryden's essay noted that the first danger is represented by modern innovations, by English and especially Spanish variety or violence, and by heightening through rhyme. The second danger is exemplified by the example and "rules" of the ancients, by the "correct" practice of the French, and by a narrow idea of verisimilitude that will exclude rhymed verse from the stage.

Dryden's drama masterpiece in blank verse was his tragedy All for Love (1677). He also wrote masques, dramatic performances based on mythological tradition, incorporating poetry, music, and dance. In his The Secular Masque (1700), written for public performance, the character Momus provides light-hearted rhyming commentary in lines 13-20:

Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! Well hast thou done To lay down thy pack, And lighten thy back; The world was a fool, e'er since it begun, And neither Janus, nor Chronos, nor I Can hinder the crimes, or mend the bad times, 'Tis better to laugh than to cry.

Critics agree that the 18th century produced no high-quality tragedy. The best drama of the Restoration and the 18th century was comedy. With witty plots presenting a cynical view of human nature, characterized by sexual intrigue, most dramas of the period fall into the category "the comedy of manners." Such drama featured morality and social commentary, with the intent of making its audience laugh. William Con-greve's The Way of the World (1700), a prose drama with some inset lyrics, is still performed in the 21st century. It contains a traditional verse prologue, spoken by the character Mr. Betterton, to introduce the drama. The prologue reflects comically on those who write poetry, particularly the author of the drama itself, reading, in part of those few fools, who with ill stars are curst, Sure scribbling fools, called poets, fare the worst:

For they're a sort of fools which fortune makes, And, after she has made 'em fools, forsakes. With Nature's oafs 'tis quite a diff'rent case, For Fortune favours all her idiot race. In her own nest the cuckoo eggs we find, o'er which she broods to hatch the changeling kind:

No portion for her own she has to spare, So much she dotes on her adopted care.

The same approach may be found in William Wycher-ley's The Country Wife (1672-74), whose rhyming prologue spoken by the character Mr. Hart reads in part

Poets, like cudgelled bullies, never do At first or second blow submit to you; But will provoke you still, and ne'er have done, Till you are weary first with laying on. The late so baffled scribbler of this day, Though he stands trembling, bids me boldly say,

What we before most plays are used to do, For poets out of fear first draw on you; In a fierce prologue the still pit defy, And, ere you speak, like Castril give the lie.

In the 1690s certain members of society, including Anglicans and Noncomformists, demanded reforms in literature, particularly in the bawdy nature of the Restoration comedy. Dryden and Congreve both came under attack by an Anglican clergyman named Jeremy

Collier, who expressed his outrage over the "subversive" wits writing for the stage.

By the 17th century's end, society as a whole demanded more respectable dramatic presentations. Satire seeking social reform emerged as the most common poetry. The old comedies were replaced by highly sentimental presentations, which moved their audience to tears, rather than laughter at the characters' expense. This would change later in the 18th century, although sentiment remained popular, with enormous successes such as the poet John Gay's The Beggar's Opera (1728) and comedies by the novelist, poet, and playwright Oliver Goldsmith and by Richard Sheridan.

The Beggar's Opera introduced the ballad opera, which would give birth to Sheridan's style and proved important in the much later development of the musicals of Gilbert and Sullivan. Because of its songs, the ballad opera contained much rhyming verse. A comic farce, it promoted a serious theme. It sent a message to the authorities who encouraged some crime in order to collect a percentage of the receipts. The message was that that tenuous control could be lost at any moment, victim to the greed of those who believed themselves in charge. Gay's opera also satirized Italian opera through its parody of grand musical presentations to highlight London's low life. He featured characters representing the real-life criminals Jonathan Wild and Jack Sheppard and also caricatured the prime minister, Sir Robert Walpole. During the prosperous era of the Hanoverian rule (1714-60), in which the Kings George spent as much time outside England in Hanover as possible, Walpole assumed extreme power. Although Walpole conducted a competent and peaceful government, he increased corruption in Parliament through the use of flagrant bribes. He remained indifferent to art, offering little in the way of patronage, thus becoming a prime target for artists.

Gay presented three acts, rather than the traditional five, in 45 rapid scenes. Poetry helped strengthen the drama's momentum. As an example, the rascal Peacham early in the presentation ponders the inner workings of society:

Through all the Employments of Life

Each Neighbour abuses his Brother;

Whore and Rogue they call Husband and Wife:

All Professions be-rogue one another:

The Priest calls the Lawyer a Cheat,

The Lawyer be-knaves the Divine:

And the Statesman, because he's so great,

Thinks his Trade as honest as mine.

Richard Sheridan in his A School for Scandal (1777) uses a mixture of prose and poetry to introduce his drama and to ridicule his characters, as seen in an excerpt from his second act. The character Sir Ben attempts to impress his simple audience with his supposed artistic prowess:

Sir Ben. But, ladies, you should be acquainted with the circumstance. You must know, that one day last week, as Lady Betty Curricle was taking the dust in Hyde Park, in a sort of duodecimo phaeton, she desired me to write some verses on her ponies; upon which, I took out my pocket-book, and in one moment produced the following:—

Sure never were seen two such beautiful ponies; Other horses are clowns, but these macaronies; To give them this title, I'm sure can't be wrong, Their legs are so slim, and their tails are so long.

Crab. There, ladies, done in the smack of a whip, and on horseback too.

Jos. Surf. A very Phrebus, mounted—indeed, Sir Benjamin!

Oliver Goldsmith's plays, including She Stoops to Conquer (1773), were later characterized by critics as a refreshing contrast to the dull sentimental dramas of the period. She Stoops to Conquer worked against stereotypes of the day, such as that of country dwellers as dull bumpkins, not on intellectual par with city dwellers. The character Mr. Woodward introduces the drama with a rhyming prologue, a few lines from which are the following:

Pray, would you know the reason why I'm crying?

The Comic Muse, long sick, is now a-dying! And if she goes, my tears will never stop; For as a player, I can't squeeze out one drop: I am undone, that's all—shall lose my bread— I'd rather, but that's nothing—lose my head.

The play also contains verse songs, such as "The Three Pigeons," in addition to lines excerpted from other tunes, and rhymes are used to conclude dramatic asides delivered to the audience. While the use of poetry in 18th-century drama remained common, it had immensely changed from the formal application of the Renaissance to use in promoting farce almost two centuries later.

As the 18th century progressed into the 19th, public tastes shifted. Poetry began to disappear altogether from drama, influenced by one of the greatest threats to poetry: the development of the novel, a genre that quickly became a favorite form of entertainment for all classes.

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Responses

  • danny
    What are the figures of speech used in the play she stoops to conquer?
    12 months ago
  • davide
    What are the figurative languages used in the drama she stoops to conquer?
    9 months ago
  • settimo
    What are the figurative expressions used in she stoops to conquer?
    7 months ago
  • john
    What are the Figurative expression of she stoops to conquer by Oliver Goldsmith?
    7 months ago

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