Sarah Carpenter

in The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Drama

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature


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  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)



Respublica is a play rooted in the particularity of its own time. It is a poised, courtly entertainment that engages dynamically with contemporary theatrical traditions and with political circumstances, drawing in its audience with skill and demonstrating the active power of Tudor performance. Yet that very attentiveness to its own circumstances and theatrical strategies keep it more than usually tied to its own moment. The play is a revealing example of how creatively Tudor drama could respond to its immediate contexts. This article analyzes the play's political, literary, dramatic, and theatrical contexts. The play also offers a strong but subtle understanding of the uncertain situation at the beginning of Mary's reign. A closer exploration of key groups of characters and strands of action reveal not only a thoughtful critique of the issues confronting the original court audience, but also a manipulation of the play's theatrical resources to manage the reception of those issues.

Keywords: Tudor drama; plays; Queen Mary; political context; literary context; dramatic context; theatrical context

Article.  8617 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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