An Essay of Dramatic Poesy by John Dryden: An Overview

an essay on dramatic poesy questions and answers

Dryden wrote this essay as a dramatic dialogue with four characters Eugenius , Crites , Lisideius and Neander representing four critical positions. These four critical positions deal with five issues. Eugenius (whose name may mean "well born") favors the moderns over the ancients, arguing that the moderns exceed the ancients because of having learned and profited from their example. Crites argues in favor of the ancients: they established the unities; dramatic rules were spelled out by Aristotle which the current-and esteemed-French playwrights follow; and Ben Jonson-the greatest English playwright, according to Crites-followed the ancients' example by adhering to the unities. Lisideius argues that French drama is superior to English drama , basing this opinion of the French writer's close adherence to the classical separation of comedy and tragedy. For Lisideius "no theater in the world has anything so absurd as the English tragicomedy; in two hours and a half, we run through all the fits of Bedlam." Neander favors the moderns, but does not disparage the ancients. He also favors English drama-and has some critical -things to say of French drama: "those beauties of the French poesy are such as will raise perfection higher where it is, but are not sufficient to give it where it is not: they are indeed the beauties of a statue, but not of a man." Neander goes on to defend tragicomedy: "contraries, when placed near, set off each other. A continued gravity keeps the spirit too much bent; we must refresh it sometimes." Tragicomedy increases the effectiveness of both tragic and comic elements by 'way of contrast. Neander asserts that "we have invented, increased, -and perfected a more pleasant way of writing for the stage . . . tragicomedy."

Neander criticizes French drama essentially for its smallness: its pursuit of only one plot without subplots; its tendency to show too little action; its "servile observations of the unities…dearth of plot, and narrowness of imagination" are all qualities which render it inferior to English drama. Neander extends his criticism of French drama - into his reasoning for his preference for Shakespeare over Ben Jonson. Shakespeare "had the largest and most comprehensive soul," while Jonson was "the most learned and judicious writer which any theater ever had." Ultimately, Neander prefers Shakespeare for his greater scope, his greater faithfulness to life, as compared to Jonson's relatively small scope and Freneh/Classical tendency to deal in "the beauties of a statue, but not of a Man."

Crites objects to rhyme in plays: "since no man without premeditation speaks in rhyme, neither ought he to do it on the stage." He cites Aristotle as saying that it is, "best to write tragedy in that kind of verse . . . which is nearest prose" as a justification for banishing rhyme, from drama in favor of blank verse (unrhymed iambic pentameter). Even though blank verse lines are no more spontaneous than are rhymed lines, they are still to be preferred because they are "nearest nature": "Rhyme is incapable of expressing the greatest thought naturally, and the lowest it cannot with any grace: for what is more unbefitting the majesty of verse, than to call a servant, or bid a door be shut in rhyme?"

Neander respond to the objections against rhyme by admitting that "verse so tedious" is inappropriate to drama (and to anything else). "Natural" rhymed verse is, however, just as appropriate to dramatic as to non-dramatic poetry: the test of the "naturalness" of rhyme is how well-chosen the rhymes are. Is the sense of the verses tied down to, and limited by, the rhymes, or are the rhymes in service to, and an enhancement of, the sense of the verses?

The main point of Dryden's essay seems to be a valuation of becoming (the striving, nature-imitating, large scope of tragicomedy and Shakespeare) over being (the static perfection of the ideal-imitating Classical/French/Jonsonian drama).

Dryden prescriptive in nature, defines dramatic art as an imitation with the aim to delight and to teach, and is considered a just and lively image of human nature representing its passions and humors for the delight and instruction of mankind. Dryden emphasizes the idea of decorum in the work of art.

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Sharma, K.N. "An Essay of Dramatic Poesy by John Dryden: An Overview." BachelorandMaster, 25 Jan. 2014, bachelorandmaster.com/criticaltheories/essay-on-dramatic-poesy.html.

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The Defence of Poesy

By philip sidney, the defence of poesy essay questions.

Why does the narrator feel the need to stand for poetry?

The reason why the narrator decided to stand up for poetry is that in his time, many people disregarded poetry and the poets that wrote it; in particular, it was under attack by Puritans. Poetry was criticized and said to be not just good-for-nothing, but in fact the "mother of lies" and an inspiration to lustful sin. Sidney directly addresses the idea that poetry's fictions and inventions lead to all forms of lying and deceit, and he defends the art of poetry from the work of inferior poets. Sidney's personal background and upbringing play into this motivation: as a gentleman and former soldier who "slipped into the title of poet," he felt a need to defend his own vocation.

Why does Sidney compare the work of philosophers and historians to that of poets?

The philosopher is presented in a rather bleak manner, clothed in black, a sober man who is against anything that may bring joy. Likewise, the historian is presented as surrounded by dust and books. Sidney presents these thinkers this way in order to contrast their work with the joy and delight inspired by poetry. While Sidney admits that all three arts are focused on the improvement of man, he wishes to emphasize that poetry is best-suited to this task. While philosophy is dry, and historians can only tell you what did happen, rather than what should have happened, poetry can draw on the lessons of both to show man the truth of what should be and how one should act. Sidney believed that learning needed to be accompanied by a healthy dose of pleasure to make lessons more palatable. Thus, he presents philosophers and historians as out-of-touch and humorless.

What is the connection between poetry and nationhood in the essay?

Section VI of the essay, the "conclusion" section in a classical essay structure, focuses not on reiterating Sidney's arguments thus far but on making an argument that focuses in particular on the suitability of the English language for making poetry. Throughout the essay, Sidney draws extensively on Greek and Roman examples to demonstrate that poetry is the best means for praising a culture's religion, for celebrating its heroes, and for teaching its citizens its values. In rejecting poetry, Sidney argues, England misses an opportunity to form a national literary identity that can, moreover, improve the character of its citizens. Because the English language is particularly apt for writing metered and rhymed verse, this is a missed opportunity. Sidney's essay thus seeks to do no less than inspire his countrymen to begin writing verse in order to improve the nation itself.

Why does Sidney criticize the dramas of his time?

Sidney spends a significant amount of time criticizing plays, including comedic plays that make one laugh without delighting (Section III), as well as tragicomic plays (Section IV). This is in part related to Sidney's goal of defending poetry's "works" as well as its "parts." Because his definition of poetry encompasses all verbal arts, drama is a subset of poetry, and in order to defend the whole, Sidney must defend each of the parts. Because Sidney is defending poetry in particular against his contemporary Stephen Gosson's critiques, he must address drama, which Gosson believed was creating unfavorable social changes. However, his two critiques of drama seem to serve the purpose of urging contemporary playwrights to write works that fulfill the "work" of poetry. In particular, he notes that comedic plays should i nstruct : we should laugh at man's faults, and though this laughter, become better. At the same time, he attacks the formal qualities of contemporary plays, especially their lengthy time frames and multiple changes in location/setting.

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The Defence of Poesy Questions and Answers

The Question and Answer section for The Defence of Poesy is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.

Which is the quality of dryden's poetry

Dryden was pretty versatile . His poetry, like his plays had songs, melodies to the narrative, and his own style of expression. Dryden was especially skilled in satire and character. His heroic couplets are especially famous.

What is your question here?

Apology for Poetry

Sidney argues that poetry is noble and does not contribute to moral corruption. He adds that poetry's purpose is to inspire and elevate souls. He also notes that it is the abuse of poetry..... not that poetry itself that leads to sin. He argues...

Study Guide for The Defence of Poesy

The Defence of Poesy study guide contains a biography of Philip Sidney, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

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Essays for The Defence of Poesy

The Defence of Poesy literature essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Defence of Poesy.

  • Discuss the relationship of teaching (docere), delighting (delectare) and moving (movere) in 'The Defence of Poesy'.
  • The Puritan movement and its Relation to “A Defense of Poesy”
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an essay on dramatic poesy questions and answers

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Essay on Dramatic Poesy 1000+ Words

Dramatic poesy is a captivating form of literary expression that weaves stories, emotions, and characters through the power of words. In this essay, we will explore the world of dramatic poesy, highlighting its unique characteristics, its impact on literature, and why it continues to be cherished by writers and readers alike.

Defining Dramatic Poesy

Dramatic poesy is a form of poetry that adopts a dramatic structure, often featuring dialogues, characters, and vivid storytelling. Unlike traditional poetry, it immerses readers in the unfolding drama, making them active participants in the narrative.

A Rich History

Dramatic poesy has a rich history dating back to ancient Greece. Playwrights like Sophocles and Euripides used poetic dialogues to convey powerful stories, a tradition that laid the foundation for dramatic poetry’s development.

Shakespearean Influence

William Shakespeare, a master of dramatic poesy, crafted timeless plays in verse. His works, such as “Romeo and Juliet” and “Hamlet,” showcase the beauty and versatility of dramatic poetry. Shakespeare’s ability to infuse emotions, wit, and vivid characters into his verses is celebrated to this day.

The Role of Emotion

One of the defining features of dramatic poesy is its ability to evoke strong emotions in readers. By using poetic language, vivid imagery, and engaging dialogues, poets can transport readers to different times and places, stirring their hearts and minds.

Versatility of Themes

Dramatic poesy is versatile in its exploration of themes. It can delve into love, tragedy, heroism, or any aspect of the human experience. This flexibility allows poets to address a wide range of topics and connect with diverse audiences.

Shakespeare’s Sonnets

Shakespeare’s sonnets, a collection of 154 poems, exemplify the beauty of dramatic poesy on a smaller scale. Each sonnet tells a unique story, explores various themes, and showcases the power of poetic language to convey emotions.

Influence on Modern Literature

Dramatic poesy’s impact extends beyond its historical roots. Modern playwrights, poets, and novelists continue to draw inspiration from this form. Works like T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” and Langston Hughes’ dramatic poems reflect its enduring influence.

Contemporary Dramatic Poets

Contemporary poets, too, embrace dramatic poesy. The use of vivid narratives and dialogues in their poems allows them to engage readers in unique and thought-provoking ways. Poets like Maya Angelou and Derek Walcott employ this technique to create powerful and evocative poetry.

Literary Appreciation

Dramatic poesy is celebrated for its ability to make literature come alive. It captivates readers by immersing them in stories, making them feel as though they are part of the drama unfolding on the page. This engagement enhances the overall reading experience.

A Timeless Craft

In a world where storytelling evolves with technology, dramatic poesy stands as a testament to the enduring power of words. It reminds us that the art of storytelling through poetry remains a cherished and timeless craft.

Conclusion of Essay on Dramatic Poesy

In conclusion, dramatic poesy is a literary masterpiece that weaves the magic of storytelling with the beauty of poetic language. It has a rich history, dating back to ancient Greece, and continues to influence modern literature. Through its vivid characters, emotional depth, and versatile themes, dramatic poesy allows us to explore the human experience in profound ways.

As readers, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the world of dramatic poesy, where stories come to life and emotions are palpable. It reminds us that the power of words extends beyond the page, reaching into our hearts and minds.

Dramatic poesy invites us to be active participants in the stories it tells, igniting our imaginations and stirring our emotions. It is a testament to the enduring impact of literature, where the written word has the power to transcend time and connect us with the essence of humanity itself. So, let us continue to celebrate and cherish the artistry of dramatic poesy, for it is a treasure that enriches our lives and deepens our understanding of the human spirit.

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An Essay of Dramatic Poesy

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“It was that memorable day, in the first summer of the late war, when our navy engaged the Dutch; a day wherein the two most mighty and best appointed fleets which any age had ever seen disputed the command of the greater half of the globe, the commerce of nations, and the riches of the universe.”

The opening sentence of the essay gives some indication of the gravity of the exchange to follow: The discussion about the merits of modern English writers and the state of the English theater is taking place while a battle for naval superiority is waged. England’s wars with the Dutch concerned trade routes and commercial enterprises; the success of England in these endeavors paved the way for an empire spanning most of the globe. Dryden, as Neander, is the “new man” overseeing and undergirding this expansion of power; aesthetic prominence and political dominance are symbolically conjoined.

“But my comfort is if we are overcome it will be only by our own countrymen; and if we yield to them [the ancients] in this one part of poesy, we more surpass them in all the other.”

In a continuation of the above, the discussion is one in which national reputation is at stake. After the humiliations of civil war and the repressions of Puritan rule, the English must reassert their literary superiority. Eugenius argues that, with regard to poetry, the English can only be surpassed by the English. He goes on to assert that “the drama is wholly ours” (154). Thus, from poesy to drama to dramatic poesy, the English have conquered.

“We have added nothing of our own, except we have the confidence to say our wit is better; of which none boast in this our age but such as understand not theirs.”

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  2. Of Dramatic Poesie Questions and Answers

    Start Free Trial Summary Questions & Answers Of Dramatic Poesie Questions and Answers How does Dryden compare English and French drama in "Of Dramatic Poesie"? Discuss the relationship...

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    John Dryden's Of Dramatic Poesie (also known as An Essay of Dramatic Poesy) is an exposition of several of the major critical positions of the time, set out in a semidramatic form that...

  4. An Essay of Dramatic Poesy

    A treatise staged as a dialogue among learned friends, "An Essay of Dramatic Poesy" defends the state of the 17th-century English theater, the use of rhyme ("poesy") in dramatic plays, and the work of English writers in general. Its author, John Dryden (1631-1700), was a giant among men of letters during the contentious 17th century.

  5. An Essay of Dramatic Poesy Discussion Questions

    33 pages • 1 hour read John Dryden An Essay of Dramatic Poesy Nonfiction | Essay / Speech | Adult | Published in 1668 A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. Download PDF Access Full Guide Study Guide Summary

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    33 pages • 1 hour read John Dryden An Essay of Dramatic Poesy Nonfiction | Essay / Speech | Adult | Published in 1668 A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. Download PDF Access Full Guide Study Guide Summary

  7. An Essay of Dramatic Poesy by John Dryden

    Introduction Though he died in 1700, John Dryden is usually considered a writer of the 18th rather than the 17th century. Incredibly prolific, Dryden made innovative advances in translation and aesthetic philosophy, and was the first poet to employ the neo-classical heroic couplet and quatrain in his own work.

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    22/25. In a nutshell, John Dryden in his essay, An Essay on Dramatic Poesy, gives an account of the Neo-classical. theory. He defends the classical drama saying that it is an imitation of life ...

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    An Essay of Dramatic Poesy gives an explicit account of neo-classical theory of art in general. Dryden is a neoclassic critic, and as such he deals in his criticism with issues of form and morality in drama. However, he is not a rule bound critic, tied down to the classical unities or to notions of what constitutes a "proper" character for the ...

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    In dramatic literature: Western theory …in English is John Dryden's Of Dramatick Poesie, an Essay (1668). Dryden approached the rules with a refreshing honesty and argued all sides of the question; thus he questioned the function of the unities and accepted Shakespeare's practice of mixing comedy and tragedy. Read More; view of. comedy

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  14. The Defence of Poesy Essay Questions

    This is in part related to Sidney's goal of defending poetry's "works" as well as its "parts." Because his definition of poetry encompasses all verbal arts, drama is a subset of poetry, and in order to defend the whole, Sidney must defend each of the parts. Because Sidney is defending poetry in particular against his contemporary Stephen Gosson ...

  15. Essay on Dramatic Poesy 1000+ Words

    Essay on Dramatic Poesy 1000+ Words. Dramatic poesy is a captivating form of literary expression that weaves stories, emotions, and characters through the power of words. In this essay, we will explore the world of dramatic poesy, highlighting its unique characteristics, its impact on literature, and why it continues to be cherished by writers ...

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    Dryden's Essay of Dramatic Poesie (1668) is written in. A) Poetic form. B) Dramatic form. C) Narrative form. D) Conversational form. Correct Answer: B) Dramatic form. Part of solved English Literature questions and answers : >> English Literature.

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    Important Quotes. "It was that memorable day, in the first summer of the late war, when our navy engaged the Dutch; a day wherein the two most mighty and best appointed fleets which any age had ever seen disputed the command of the greater half of the globe, the commerce of nations, and the riches of the universe.". (Page 147)