Eugenius (meaning “well-born”) may be Charles Sackville, who was Lord Buckhurst, a patron of Dryden and a poet himself.Crites (Greek for “judge” or “critic”) perhaps represents Sir Robert Howard, Dryden’s brother-in-law.
This is an interesting and important argument which seems to have been subsequently overlooked by Alexander Pope, who in other respects followed Dryden’s prescriptions for following the rules of “nature.” In his , Pope had urged that to copy nature is to copy the ancient writers.
Dryden, through the mouth of his persona Eugenius, completely topples this complacent equation: Eugenius effectively turns against Crites the latter’s own observation that the arts and sciences have made huge advances since the time of Aristotle. it follows that poesy and other arts may, with the same pains, arrive still nearer to perfection” (44).
The first of these debates is that between ancients and moderns, a debate that had intermittently surfaced for centuries in literature and criticism, and which acquired a new and topical intensity in European letters after the Renaissance, in the late seventeenth century.
Traditionalists such as Jonathan Swift, in his controversial (1704), bemoaned the modern “corruption” of religion and learning, and saw in the ancients the archetypal standards of literature.
Lisideius refers to Sir Charles Sedley, and Neander (“new man”) is Dryden himself.
Summary Of An Essay Of Dramatic Poesy By Dryden Good Sociology Essay
The extends far beyond these two topics, effectively ranging over a number of crucial debates concerning the nature and composition of drama.
All of these elements underlie the nature of drama.
In addition, Dryden undertakes an influential assessment of the English dramatic tradition, comparing writers within this tradition itself as well as with their counterparts in French drama.
Like Torquato Tasso and Pierre Corneille, he attempted to strike a compromise between the claims of ancient authority and the exigencies of the modern writer.
In Dryden’s text, this compromise subsumes a number of debates: one of these concerns the classical “unities” of time, place, and action; another focuses on the rigid classical distinction between various genres, such as tragedy and comedy; there was also the issue of classical decorum and propriety, as well as the use of rhyme in drama.