Domestic tragedy
Yarington(?)’s Two Lamentable Tragedies
in The genres of Renaissance tragedy
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Domestic tragedy, on the face of it the simplest and most unpretentious of tragic forms, is in fact potentially one of the most ambiguous. Domestic is set at home, both in the sense of taking place in England rather than being set abroad and also in that it is located in one or more private houses rather than in the public space of the court. At the same time as the genre foregrounds the private house, though, it calls into question how private it truly is: the plays constantly remind us how many aspects of Elizabethan and Jacobean culture construed the domestic situation as a mirroring in miniature of the hierarchical ordering of the state as a whole. Moreover many domestic tragedies have two plots, whose respective endings are often of very different tonalities. In Yarington’s(?) Two Lamentable Tragedies one plot is set in Italy and the other in England, but they mirror each other in so many ways that we are in effect asked not only what difference there is between the two countries, but to what extent Italy may generally serve in Renaissance drama as a transparent proxy for England.


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