The depiction of a good life

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The depiction of a good life

In the sixteenth century the popularity of Seneca's tragedies was immense. To English dramatists, struggling to impose form and order on the shapeless, though vigorous, native drama, Seneca seemed to offer an admirable model.

His tragedies contained abundance of melodrama to suit the popular The depiction of a good life, whilst his sententious philosophy and moral maxims appealed to the more learned, and all was arranged in a clear-cut form, of which the principle of construction was easy to grasp.

The depiction of a good life great Greek tragedians were little studied by the Elizabethans. Greek was still unfamiliar to a large number of students; and it may be doubted whether in any case Aeschylus or Sophocles would have been appreciated by the Elizabethan public.

The Senecan drama, crude, and melodramatic as it seems to us, appealed far more strongly to the robust Englishmen of the sixteenth century, whose animal instincts were as yet only half subdued by civilization. The importance of the influence exercised by Senecan tragedy upon the development of the Elizabethan drama is now generally admitted.

The extent of this influence has been demonstrated by J. Fischer in Kunstentwicklung der englischen Tragodie. It affected both the substance and the form of the drama.

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The division into five acts, and the introduction of the Chorus, as in Gorboduc, The Misfortunes of Arthur, and Catiline, may be taken as examples of the influence of Seneca on the form of the Elizabethan drama, whilst in regard to matter and treatment Senecan influence was yet more important.

It was seen in the treatment of the supernatural, in the selection of horrible and sensational themes, in the tendency to insert long rhetorical and descriptive passages, in the use of stichomythia, in the introduction of moralising common-places, and in the spirit of philosophic fatalism.

Under these circumstances it was but natural that students who read Seneca's tragedies with delight, and had perhaps taken part in the performances which were frequently given in the colleges of their own University, Footnote 1 should wish to make him known to their less learned fellow countrymen, and to win fame for themselves by translating into the best English verse at their command an author who seemed to them so well fitted both to please and to instruct.

Thus one of the translators states that it was at the "ernest requeste" of "certaine familiar frendes" that he had "thus rashly attempted so great an enterprise," and continues: Footnote 2 During the reign of Elizabeth all the ten tragedies then ascribed to Seneca were translated into English verse.

Thomas Nuce, fellow of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, translated Octavia; and the remaining play, or rather fragments of two plays, Thebais, or as it is sometimes called Phoenissae, was rendered into English by Thomas Newton, who had been a student at both Oxford and Cambridge.

To Heywood belongs the credit of being the pioneer in this work. His Troas was published in an octavo edition inand his Thyestes, also in octavo, in His Hercules Furens appeared in octavo in Neville's Oedipus was written, so he tells us, in his sixteenth year, i.

Studley's Agamemnon appeared in octavo inand his Medea, also in octavo, later in the same year. No separate editions are extant of his Hercules Oetceus and Hippolytus, but two entries in the Stationers' Register for the year make it probable that these two translations appeared in quick succession to Agamemnon and Medea.

In Thomas Newton collected all these versions of separate plays, and published them, together with his own Thebais, added to make the edition complete in a quarto volume entitled "Seneca His Tenne Tragedies.

Some lines by a certain T. Footnote 4 When Heiwood did in perfect verse, and dolfull tune set out, And by hys smouth and fyled style declared had aboute, What roughe reproche the Troyans of the hardy Grekes receyued, When they of towne, of goods, and lyues togyther were depryued.

How wel did then hys freindes requite his trauayle and hys paine, When vnto hym they haue [? What greater prayse might Virgill get? Ascham in his attack on rime in the Scholemaster publishedbut written before includes the translators of "Ouide, Palingenius, and Seneca" together with "Chauser, Th.

Norton of Bristow, my L. Phaer" as examples of writers who "have gonne as farre to their great praise as the copie they followed could cary them," and considers that "if soch good wittes and forward diligence had bene directed to follow the best examples, and not haue bene caryed by tyme and custome to content themselues with that barbarous and rude Ryming, emonges their other worthy praises, which they haue iustly deserued, this had not bene the least, to be counted emonges men of learning and skill more like vnto the Grecians than vnto the Gothians in handling of their verse.

The sea exhaled by droppes will in continuance be drie, and Seneca let bloud line by line and page by page at length must needes die to our stage: This passage from Nash seems to indicate that these translations of Seneca proved of great use to the popular playwrights, and especially to Kyd, at whom the satire was probably aimed.

Footnote 6 The Spanish Tragedy contains paraphrases of passages from Seneca e. As with Kyd, so with the other Elizabethan dramatists it is almost impossible to distinguish how much of the debt which they undoubtedly owe to Seneca is due to the plays in the original, and how much to the translations.

As Cunliffe observes, the more learned dramatists would not need the help of translations, while the less learned who were glad of the aid afforded by Heywood and his fellow-translators, would prefer to disguise their obligations by not quoting verbatim.

Undoubtedly these translations must have done much to spread a general knowledge of Seneca, and to inspire interest in his treatment of the drama, and in all probability their influence was much greater than any examination merely of parallel passages in them and in Elizabethan plays would lead us to suspect.

Footnote 7 Though it is in this influence that their chief value lies, the plays have a certain interest of their own. Much of the verse is mere doggerel, but the style of the translators has a racy and vigorous character which often makes the reader forget its metrical imperfections.

In the sixth and seventh decades of the sixteenth century Englishmen had not yet found a fitting mode of expression for the new life surging within them. Yet the life was there, however grotesquely and clumsily it might show itself, and even its early manifestations are worthy of attention.

The depiction of a good life

Moreover these translations afford valuable testimony as to the grammar, metre, and vocabulary used by men of classical learning at the beginning of Elizabeth's reign.Trumbo is a American biographical drama film directed by Jay Roach and written by John film stars Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren, Louis C.K., Elle Fanning, John Goodman, and Michael film follows the life of Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, and is based on the biography Dalton Trumbo by Bruce Alexander Cook.

It was seen in the treatment of the supernatural, in the selection of horrible and sensational themes, in the tendency to insert long rhetorical and descriptive passages, in the use of stichomythia, in the introduction of moralising common-places, and in the spirit of philosophic fatalism.

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Good Life | Definition of Good Life by Merriam-Webster