Chapter

Poetic Nobility

Ter Ellingson

in The Myth of the Noble Savage

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2001 | ISBN: 9780520222687
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520925922 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520222687.003.0004
Poetic Nobility

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Tracing the fate of the Noble Savage after Lescarbot leads in complex and ambiguous directions. This chapter examines Dryden's reference to the Noble Savage, apparently derived from Lescarbot's work. Nobility, in the end, comes from hereditary descent; and things such as freedom and bravery follow from it, rather than the other way around. Dryden is a royalist defending royalty in the restoration of monarchy after the failure of Cromwell's Commonwealth in England, and he defends it eloquently. To please his “Noble Audience,” themes of nobility and exaltation play a strategic role. In addressing himself to real members of the English noble classes, Dryden shows no restraint in the dramatic intensity by which he exalts their virtues.

Keywords: Dryden's plays; Lescarbot; Noble Savage; hereditary descent; nobility; England

Chapter.  2599 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural Anthropology

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