‘Pullyshyd and Fresshe is your Ornacy’: Madness and the Fall of Skelton's Magnyfycence

Peter Happé

in The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Drama

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199566471
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

‘Pullyshyd and Fresshe is your Ornacy’: Madness and the Fall of Skelton's Magnyfycence

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  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)



This article seeks to build upon the importance of John Skelton's Magnyfycence, the survival of which in itself may be seen as a piece of good fortune for those interested in the history of theatre as well as politics because it is one of the earliest extant interludes to carry a palpable political reference. It first discusses the structure of the play, paying particular attention to the portrayal of Magnyfycence's fall and recovery. It then considers the way in which Skelton has foregrounded language in the play. This is a pre-eminent feature, to the extent that language is very much a part of the action of the play and that it is treated meta-theatrically, bringing out its special function here. Finally, the article looks at some features of the theatrical techniques Skelton uses. In these he shows a remarkable inventiveness and a skilled ability to manage stage effects. Attention to these aspects leads to a closer perception of how Skelton became concerned with Magnyfycence's psychological predicament and they are an approach to madness.

Keywords: John Skelton; Tudor theatre; plays; language; theatrical techniques; stage effects

Article.  9171 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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