Monday, April 20, 2009

1600 to 1699: Jonson, Alchemist to Shakespeare, Winter's Tale

Ben Jonson. British. 1610. Play. The Alchemist. Subtle, clever quack and his whorish colleague Doll Common set up in the house of Lovewit with the servant, Jeremy Face. They trick a series of gullible scoundrel. Lovewit returns and routs the quacks. He takes their gains.

Shakespeare. British. 1611. Play. The Tempest. Prospero, a magician and philosopher, reigns over an enchanted island with his daughter. A magic-induced storm capsizes a boat and brings his former enemies to the island. The son of Alonso, an enemy, thought to be drowned, is on the other side of the island where he meets and falls in love with Prospero’s daughter. Led by Ariel’s music, Alonso searches for his son, finds him and blesses the union with Prospero’s daughter. Prospero frees Ariel from his spell and renounces magic. He is restored to his dukedom.

John Donne. British. 1611. Poetry. The Anniversaries: An Anatomy of the World. Concerned with the themes of intellectual disorder and temporal decay.

Beaumont and Fletcher. British. 1611. Play. The Maid’s Tragedy. A soap opera plot begun by the order of the king that Amintor is to marry Evadne who is mistress of the king.

Shakespeare. British. 1611. Play. The Winter’s Tale. The king, jealous of a friend who apparently is attractive to his queen, orders him killed. He escapes. The king throws his wife into prison. She reportedly dies. His daughter is put on a deserted shore where she is saved by a shepherd. When she grows up she falls in love with the son of the guest who the king thought was attractive to his wife. The king now mourns the loss of his queen. Shown a perfect statue of the queen, it turns out to be the queen, not dead but hiding.

1600 to 1699: Jonosn, The

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