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8. Restoration Seneca
About this Lecture
In this final lecture, Helen talks about the influence of Seneca during the theatre of the Restoration period. Theatres in England had been closed for almost twenty years due to the English Civil War, but with the 'restoration' of Charles II, theatres were re-opened and the influence of Seneca continued to be seen. In particular, we look at the plays of Nathaniel Lee.
Shakespeare’s most famous – and infamous – tragedies draw on the Roman playwright Seneca for their dramatic form and theatrical style - including ‘Hamlet’, ‘King Lear’, and ‘Titus Andronicus’. Seneca also had a huge influence on Shakespeare’s contemporaries: Thomas Kyd’s ‘The Spanish Tragedy’ brought the Senecan themes of revenge and ultra-violence onto the English stage, while Tamburlaine’s thundering rhetoric and superhuman ambition in Christopher Marlowe’s play of the same name echo Seneca’s ‘Hercules’. But who was Seneca? What did he write? And why? This course introduces Seneca and explores his enormous influence on theatre in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Helen Slaney holds the Randall McIver Junior Research Fellowship at St Hilda's College, Oxford, where she is currently conducting practice-based research into Roman tragic pantomime. Helen's main field of interest is classical reception studies. In 2012 she completed a doctorate on the performance reception of Senecan tragedy. Her postdoctoral research will focus on embodied encounters with antiquity in the late eighteenth century.
Cite this Lecture
Slaney, H. (2018, August 15). Seneca and Early Modern Drama - Restoration Seneca [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/seneca-and-early-modern-drama/restoration-seneca
Slaney, Helen. "Seneca and Early Modern Drama – Restoration Seneca." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 31 Jan 2019, https://www.massolit.io/courses/seneca-and-early-modern-drama/restoration-seneca