David M. Bergeron
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‘Death be not proud’
Drama’s solace
in Shakespeare’s London 1613
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Drama at the Jacobean court stood between Prince Henry's funeral and Princess Elizabeth's impending wedding; it constructed a bridge, a translation, a confrontation with raw feelings. Clearly solace must have been one of the primary effects of the drama presented at court in 1612-1613. As another avenue to the court's transition and transformation from funeral to wedding, William Shakespeare offered the court several plays, performed by his company. These plays, of various genres, intersect and illustrate the words of the Prologue in Merry Devil: 'Sit with a pleased eye, until you know / The comic end of our sad tragic show.' Closer to the site of the court performances, Ben Jonson's The Alchemist takes place in the Blackfriars section of the City of London, well known to Duke of Lennox, Shakespeare, and Jonson. They moved away from the countryside setting of Hertfordshire of The Merry Devil.

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