A Spectator’s Role
The following two discussions illustrate the dimensions of the critical formulations discussed in the current study, defining key concepts available for playwrights in Shakespeare’s time. On the one hand we find the Aristotelian conventions based on the Poetics, hardening into the principles of Neo-Classicism and the Doctrine of the Unities of Time, Place, and Action, as seen in Sidney’s solemn treatise, with its resistance to theatrical practice. On the other we find Lope de Vega playfully rejecting the relevance of academic theory to the commercial practices imposed on popular playwrights by their spectators’ expectations. It seems regrettable in terms of appreciating the forces governing Shakespeare’s scripts that the amateur Sidney’s views still occupy an authoritative position in Renaissance drama studies, while those of the professional Lope de Vega are barely recognized.
A.Sir Philip Sidney: From An Apologie for Poetrie (1595)
Our tragedies and comedies, not without cause, are cried out against, observing rules neither of honest civility nor skilful poetry. Excepting Gorboduc (again I say of those that I have seen), which notwithstanding, as it is full of stately speeches, and well- sounding phrases, climbing to the height of Seneca his style, and as full of notable morality, which it does most delightfully teach, and so obtain the very ← 179 | 180 → end of poesy; yet, in truth, it is very defectuous in the circumstances, which grieves me, because it might not remain as an exact model of all tragedies. For it is faulty both...
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