Examples Of Renaissance Theatre

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To what extent can Renaissance drama be said to subvert ideas of social AND/OR moral order?
During the Renaissance, plays and drama were extremely popular. Plays were at once available to an audience of all social classes simultaneously and provided a public platform for the spread of commentary on aspects of social, political and religious life in Elizabethan England. Playwrights would frequently use the stage to comment upon the world around them. Without a doubt, the most well-known playwright of the period is William Shakespeare, whose plays were popular in their day and are still popular with scholars and audiences in the present. This makes him an obvious choice for a case study into the way into the way Renaissance drama could be said
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The entire premise of the play revolves to an extent upon the subversion of the audiences’ perception of the expected social order. The play’s central character, Viola, is a young woman pretends to be a manservant and ends up entangled in a love triangle. Thus, the most the obvious example of Shakespeare’s playing with the social order is the cross-dressing aspect of the play. It is the most prevalent, but not the sole example that could be suggested as a subversion of ideas of social and moral order. Other situations which arise throughout the play do feature the character of Viola, who is the central character of the play. Arguably one of the most obvious subversions of the expected moral order is that the noblewoman Olivia has fallen in love with another female character—arguably unknowingly—which would be a strange concept from within the Renaissance theatre. It is worth mentioning as well that Twelfth Night subverts a Shakespearean trope as the main characters of his comedies (examples of comedies featuring lesser nobles) are not usually elite nobility. In comparison to this norm, the characters in Twelfth Night are indeed from within the ruling elite; however they are on holiday and not seen in their official capacities. Instead the noble characters are prone to making inane decisions and suffering dramatic reactions to the situations they find themselves in. One …show more content…
Twelfth night, as a holiday in Renaissance England fell during the Christmas festive period. This was a holiday in which the regular social order was dismissed and moral order ignored as disorder ruled and taboos on sex and violence were suspended. Twelfth Night came to be performed upon the sixth of January (hence the name) and the significance of the holiday in the play is clear when considering the way in which the play capitalises on the acceptable idea of misrule. Examples of misrule in the play include the mistreatment of Malvolio, and the fool, Feste, being one of the most intelligent characters present. By capitalising on the ideas of twelfth night, the play can easily embrace the idea of misrule and the suspension of the expected social

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