It often seems more than difficult to assess the tenor of Marston’s plays and this is particularly true of the lesser-known works. The text, as stated earlier, is only a component of the ‘play’, and despite all the vast scholarship the intentions behind the original production necessarily appear cloudy and ill defined. Too frequently when arguing the case for the satiric nature of a drama, in the context particularly of the war of the theatres, we find ourselves in the end confessing that we can prove little. We are working on instinct, intuition and hypothesis, and, although fragments of evidence reinforce our speculation, in conclusion we can only suggest. This is particularly true of plays such as The Insatiate Countess or Jack Drum’s Entertainment. M. C. Andrews, for example, has seen certain evidence of a satiric relationship between the latter and a ‘roughly contemporaneous’ play, The Trial of Chivalry; but, since we do not know which of these plays was performed first, Mr Andrews can in the end only speculate that Jack Drum was written after The Trial and that Marston knew the earlier work: ‘That The Trial is the earlier play seems certain. Marston could have converted romance into burlesque (as he does with Arcadia); it appears highly unlikely that the author of The Trial reversed the process, and converted burlesque into romance.’1
KeywordsComic Artistry Romance Convention True Lover Comic Authority Feigned Death
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- 10.L. C. Knights, Drama and Society in the Age of Jonson (London, 1937 ).Google Scholar
- 16.See, for example, A. Harbage, Shakespeare and the Rival Traditions ( Bloomington, Ind., and London, 1970 ) p. 162.Google Scholar
- 19.Joel Kaplan, ‘John Marston’s Fawn: A Saturnalian Satire’, SEL, ix (1969) p. 343.Google Scholar
- 21.E. H. Kantorowicz, The King’s Two Bodies, A Study in Mediaeval Political Theology (Princeton, 1957).Google Scholar