heroic Drama

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A kind of tragedy or tragicomedy that came into vogue with the Restoration of the English monarchy in 1660. Influenced by French classical tragedy and its dramatic unities, it aimed at epic (thus ‘heroic’) grandeur, usually by means of bombast, exotic settings, and lavish scenery. The noble hero would typically be caught in a conflict between love and patriotic duty, leading to emotional scenes presented in a manner close to opera. The leading English exponent of heroic drama was John Dryden: his The Conquest of Granada (1670–71) and Aureng-Zebe (1675) were both written in heroic couplets. For a fuller account, consult Derek Hughes, English Drama, 1660–1700 (1996).

Subjects: Literature.

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