An Essay on Dramatic Poesy: Some who would be thought Critics, say this humor of his is forced: Two types of “bad” English poets: As far as the unities of the time, place and action are concerned. Most of their new Plays are like some of ours, derived from the Spanish Novels. You would have him follow Nature, but he must follow her on foot:

He is one of those who having had some advantage of education and converse, knows better than the other what a Poet should be, but puts it into practice more unluckily than any man; his stile and matter are every where alike; he is the most calm, peaceable. As regards the unities, his views are as under: Corneille says judiciously, that the Poet is not obliged to expose to view all particular actions which conduce to the principal: They represent a story which will be one complete action, and everything which is unnecessary is carefully excluded. On the day that the English fleet encounters the Dutch at sea near the mouth of the Thames, the four friends take a barge downriver towards the noise from the battle. Writer you ever read:

But this cannot be brought to pas but by many other imperfect ones drakatic conduce to it, and hold the Audience in a delightful suspense of what will be.

In a form of tragedy they used Rhyme.

Dryden Dramatic Poesy – WikiEducator

He mentions Shakespeare and Fletcher as offering “excellent scenes of passion. Jonson was a judge dryde, therefore, as one can observe in his Dramas that he wrote plays, which contain Homour and Wit also.

They have perfected the division of plays and divided their plays not into acts but into various scenes.

john dryden essay on dramatic poesy sparknotes

Even Neander’s final argument with Crites over whether rhyme is suitable in drama depends on Aristotle’s Poetics: See Dryden’s eszay of An Essay of Dramatic Poesy”where Dryden tries to persuade the rather literal-minded Howard that audiences expect a play to be an imitation of nature, not a surrogate for nature itself.


In their plays the hero is most important, and rest of the characters are marginalized to him.

An Essay of Dramatic Poesy by John Dryden: An Overview

Claudius, Macbeth, Elizabeth, Iago b. The debate goes on about the comparison between ancient writers and modern writers.

They do not adhere to rules as well. Thus, like a skilful Chess-player, by little and little he draws out his men, and makes his pawns of use to his greater persons. So, at last, Neander possy a comment and it indicates that he favors Rhyme.

An Essay of Dramatic Poesy

Each taking up the defense of dramatic Literature of one country or one age. You see there the united design of many persons to make up one Figure: From hence likewise it arises that the one half of our Actors are not known to the other. One fault he finds in their plots is that the regularity also makes the drysen too much alike. If Ben Jonson is a genius for correctness, Shakespeare excels him in wit. The French do not burden the play with a fat plot.

John Dryden: An Essay of Dramatic Poesy

He even says that the newer French writers are imitating the English playwrights. Dryden developed a very ingenious plan of writing his essay. And this, in short, Eugenius, is the reason, why you have now so few good Poets; and so many severe Judges: Secondly, The Epitasis, or working up of the Plot where the Play grows warmer: Neander says that Aristotle demands a verbally artful “lively” imitation of sparknotess, while Crites thinks that dramatic imitation ceases to be “just” when it departs from ordinary speech—i.

Unity of plot, language and speakers.

john dryden essay on dramatic poesy sparknotes

The Ancient observed the three dramatic unities faithfully, and The Romans, The French, and The English dramatists tried their best to observe them, though not always successfully. Subplots and tragicomedy lend uohn and contrast, dramatic essag is better suited to passion, and even violent action is justified by deference to popular appeal.


Therefore, Crites, you must either prove that words, though well chosen, and duly placed, yet render not Rhyme natural in it self; or, that however natural and easy the rhyme may be, yet it is not proper for a Play.

All the difference between them when they are both correct, sparknotez the sound in one, which the other wants; and if so, the sweetness of it, and all the advantage resulting from it, which are handled in the Preface to The Rival Ladieswill yet stand good. Neander favours the violation of the unities because it leads to the variety in the English plays.

However, none of them exceeds the compass of the same town.

john dryden essay on dramatic poesy sparknotes

Mixture of tragedy and comedy. He goes on to say also that while the Ancients portrayed many emotions and actions, they neglected love, “which is the most frequent of all passions” and known to everyone.

French poesy is beautiful; it is beautiful like a “statue”. For the Ancients, as was observed before, took for the foundation of their Plays some Poetical Fiction, such as under that consideration could move but little concernment in the Audience, because they already knew the event of it.