Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher

Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher

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Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Published:

1874

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Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher

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Book Excerpt

ded on principles of its own. Throughout we find the drama of Menander distinguishing itself from tragedy, but not as the genuine old comedy, contrasting with, and opposing it. Tragedy, indeed, carried the thoughts into the mythologic world, in order to raise the emotions, the fears, and the hopes, which convince the inmost heart that their final cause is not to be discovered in the limits of mere mortal life, and force us into a presentiment, however dim, of a state in which those struggles of inward free will with outward necessity, which form the true subject of the tragedian, shall be reconciled and solved;--the entertainment or new comedy, on the other hand, remained within the circle of experience. Instead of the tragic destiny, it introduced the power of chance; even in the few fragments of Menander and Philemon now remaining to us, we find many exclamations and reflections concerning chance and fortune, as in the tragic poets concerning destiny. In tragedy, the moral law, either as obeyed or violated,

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