The progression of passion: The rhetoric of defense from John Bale to William Shakespeare
Barrett, Nichole Marie
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The Progression of Passion will examine the playwrights and poets of Renaissance England who, faced with opposition from the Protestant anti-theatricalists, sought to defend their artistic worth, utilizing the extraordinary craft being attacked. While men such as Stephen Gosson openly criticized the theatre and its creators, arguing responsibility for the corruption and fall of man, the playwrights contended that their theatrical works contained pedagogical value. Determined to demonstrate the enriching value of poetry and theatre, Philip Sidney, Christopher Marlowe, and William Shakespeare were among those who created works, in response to Stephen Gosson and the anti-theatricalists, that sought to illuminate the value of edification by delight. By examining works such as, An Apologie for Poetry, The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, and The Tempest , I illuminate the ways in which these men were moved by anti-theatrical tracts such as The School of Abuse and Playes confuted in five actions . Irrefutably inspired by the structure and rhetoric used by John Bale during the Reformation, I assert that the playwrights and anti-theatricalists of the Renaissance utilized their respective works in order to corroborate and defend their passions.