The Drama of Love and Power
While often overshadowed by their more famous contemporary, Shakespeare's fellow dramatists were a remarkable group. Like Shakespeare, they wrote plays that boldly challenged both the social and political received wisdom of their time. This course will look at two themes, love and power, through the lens provided by dramatists who refused to bow to convention in either the political or the domestic sphere. Many, if not most of the plays we will be reading combine both themes. These works explore the disruption caused by such characters as: the romantic rebellious queen, the sexually predatory tyrant, the deadly and ambitious aristocratic whore, the gay king and his favorite, et al. Among the dramatists we will be reading are Marlowe, Webster, Middleton, Jonson, and Ford.