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Ancient Literature

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(523 – 456 BC)
 Aeschylus was an ancient Greek Tragedian.
 He is also the first whose plays still survive; the others such are Sophocles and Euripides.
 He is often described as “The Father of Tragedy”.
 According to Aristotle, he expanded the number of characters in the plays to allow conflict among them,
whereas characters previously had interacted along with the chorus.
 Only seven of his estimated 70-90 plays survived and there is a longstanding debate regarding one of his
plays “Prometheus Bound”, which some believe to be written by his son Euphorion.
 He was probably the first dramatist to present plays as a trilogy. His Oresteia is the only ancient example
of this form that survives.
 The Persians is the only surviving classical Greek tragedy concerned with contemporary events and useful
source of information about its period.
 Oresteia is acclaimed by today’s literary academics.
 The inscription on his graveyard signifies the primary importance of “Belonging to the City”
 His only seven tragedies are survived intact are: “The Persians” (472 BC), “Seven Against Thebes” (407
BC), “The Suppliants” (463 BC), “Oresteia” trilogy and “Prometheus Bound” (authorship is disputed).
 Oresteia trilogy consists of three tragedies: “Agamemnon”, “The Libation Bearers” and “The
Eumenides”, this trilogy tells the bloody story of the family of Agamemnon, King of Argos.
 Aristotle claimed that Aeschylus added the Second actor (deuteragonist) to the Greek stage.


(497 – 406 BC)
 Sophocles is one of the ancient Greek Tragedians whose plays are survived.
 Sophocles wrote 123 plays during the course of his life but only seven have survived in complete form,
They are:
1. Ajax
2. Antigone
3. The Women of Trachis
4. Oedipus the King
5. Electra
6. Philoctetes and
7. Oedipus at Colonus
 The most famous tragedies of Sophocles feature Oedipus (means- swollen foot) and also “Antigone”.
They are generally known as the “Theban Plays”. Although each play was actually a part of a different
tetralogy, the other members of which are now lost.
 He also developed his characters to a greater extent than earlier playwrights such as Aeschylus.
 Only two of seven surviving plays can be dated securely i.e. “Philoctetes” (409 BC) and “Oedipus at
Colonus” (401 BC).

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 Theban Plays:
It consists of three plays: “Oedipus the King (also called Oedipus Tyrannus or by its Latin title Oedipus
Rex), “Oedipus at Colonus” and “Antigone”. All the three plays concern the fate of Thebes during and
after the reign of King Oedipus.
 According to Aristotle, Sophocles is responsible for introducing the “Third Actor to Greek Stage”


(480 – 406 BC)
 Euripides was a tragedian of classical Athens.
 According to Suda, out of 92 plays by him, 18 or 19 have survived more or less complete.
 In the Hellenistic Age, he became Cornerstone of Ancient Literary education along with Homer,
Demosthenes and Menander.
 He also became “The most tragic of poets”.
Notable Works
1- Alcestis (438 BC)
2- Medea (431 BC)
3- Heracleidae (430 BC)
4- The Bacchae (405 BC)
5- The Trojan Women (415 BC)
6- Hippolytus (428 BC)
7- Helen (412 BC)
8- Andromache (525 BC)
9- Hecuba (424 BC)
10- The Suppliants (423 BC)
11- Electra (420 BC)
12- Heracles (416 BC)
13- Phoenician Women (410 BC)
14- Orestes (408 BC)
15- Iphigenia at Aulis (405 BC)


(470 – 399 BC)
 Socrates was a classical Greek Philosopher credited as one of the founders of Western Philosophy.
 He is an enigmatic figure chiefly known through the accounts of classical writers especially the writings of
his students Plato and Xenophon and the plays of his contemporary Aristophanes.
 Socrates has become renowned for his contribution to the field of Ethics and it is this Platonic Socrates
who lends his name to the concept of Socratic Irony and the Socratic Method.

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 Socrates also made important and lasting contributions to the field of Epistemology.
 Socrates never individually wrote anything that remains extant. As a result, all first-hand information about
him and his philosophies depend upon secondary sources. This issue is known as Socratic Problem or
Socratic Question.
 To understand Socrates one must turn primarily to the works of Plato, whose dialogues are thought the
most informative source about Socrates’ life and philosophy and also Xenophon. These writings are the
Socratikoilogoi or Socratic Dialogue which consists of reports of conversations apparently involving
 He was prominently lampooned in Aristophanes’ comedy “The Clouds”.
 In comedy entitled “The Clouds” ancient Greek author Aristophanes pokes fun at Socrates.


(43 BC – AD 17)
 He wrote witty and sophisticated love poems.
 His full name was Publius Ovidius Naso known as Ovid in English speaking world.
 He was a Roman Poet who lived during the reign of Augustus.
 He was a contemporary of Virgil and Horace.
 He is best known for Metamorphoses (AD 8), a 15 book continuous Mythological narrative written in the
meter of Epic and for collections of love poetry in Elegiac Couplets, especially the Amores (Love Affairs)
and Ars Amatoria (The Art of Love).
 The Metamorphoses remains one of the most important sources of classical mythology.
 He was the first major Roman poet to begin his career during the reign of Augustus.
 The Fasti (Books of Days) is a six book Latin poem remained incomplete with Calendar structure.
“Tristia” and “Epistulae Ci Ponto” are two collection of elegies in the form of complaining letters from his
 His shorter works include Remedia Amoris (Cure for Love), the Curse poem Ibis and an advice poem On
Women’s Cosmetics.
 He wrote a lost tragedy Medea.
 The Heroides (Heroine) or Epistulae Heroidum is a collection of 21 poems in elegiac couplets.
 Tristia (Sorrow) consists of five books written during Ovid’s exile in Tomis.
 Epistulae ex Ponto (Letters from the Black Sea) is a collection of four books.
 Augustus Caesar banished Ovid to an isolated island and he died in exile.
 It is a narrative poem beginning with the creation of the world and ends in Ovid’s time.
 It consists of adventures of love affairs of deities and heroes.
 More than 200 tales are taken from Greek and Roman Mythology, and these were the greatest source
of Mythology for Renaissance writers.

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(522 – 443 BC)
 Pindar was an ancient Greek lyric poet from Thebes.
 He was the first Greek poet to reflect on the nature of poetry and on the poet’s role.
 His poetry illustrates the beliefs and values of Archaic Greece at the dawn of classical period.
 About ten days before he died, the goddess Persephone appeared to him and complained that she was the
only divinity to whom he never composed a rhyme.
 He died around 440 BC while attending a festival at Argos.
 Scholars at the Library of Alexandria collected his compositions in 17 books organized according to genre.
 One book of humnoi “Hymns”, one book of Paines “Paeans” , two books of dithuramboi “Dithyrambs”,
2 books of Prosadia “Processionals”, 3 books of parthenia “Song for Light Dance” , 1 book of threnoi
“Laments”, 4 books of epinikia “Victory odes” – above all Epinikia Odes written to commemorate athletic
victories, survive in complete form.
 His victory Odes are grouped in 4 books: Olympion, Pythian, Isthmian and Nemean Games.
 Longinus likens to a vast fire and Athenaeus refers to him as a Great Voked Pindar.
 Pindaric Ode – There are 3 types of stanza in each ode based on choral positions. Strophe (right to left),
anti-strophe (left to right) and Epode (in a circle).
 A variation of Pindaric ode called Irregular Ode was developed by Abraham Cowley (17th century).


(70 – 19 BC)
 Publius Vergilius Maro usually called Virgil or Vergil in English, was an ancient Roman Poet of the
Augustan period.
 He is known for three major works of Latin Literature, The Eclogues, The Georges and the epic Aeneid.
 A minor number of poems are collected in the Appendix Virgiliana, are sometimes attributed to him.
 His “Aeneid” has been considered the national epic of Ancient Rome from the time of its composition to
the present day.
 It is modeled after Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey.
 Virgil’s work has had wide and deep influence on western literature most notably on Dante’s “Divine
Comedy”, in which Virgil appears as Dante’s guide through hell and purgatory.
 After considering briefly, a career in Rhetoric and Law, the young Virgil turned his talents to poetry.
 He was nicknamed “Parlhenias” or “Maiden” because of his social aloofness.
 The Augustan poet Ovid parodies the opening lines of “Aeneid in Amores” and his summary of The
Aeneid story in book 14 of the Metamorphosis the so-called Mini – Aeneid.
 Lucan’s epic The Bellum Olive has been considered an anti-Virgilian epic.
 “The Aeneid” an epic poem written between 29 and 19 BC tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan
who travelled to Italy where he became the ancestor of Romans. It comprises 9,896 lines in dactylic

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(Probably between 12th and 8th centuries BC)
 Homer is best known as the author of Iliad and Odyssey.
 He was believed by the ancient Greek to have been the first and greatest of all the epic poets.
 Author of the first known literature of Europe, he is central to the Western Canon.
 The importance of Homer to the ancient Greeks is described in Plato’s Republic which portrays him as
“first teacher” of tragedies and “Leader of Greek culture”.
 The satirist Lucian in his “True History” describes him as Babylonian called Tigranos, who assumed the
name Homer when taken “Hostage”.
Notable works of Homer
 The poem mainly focuses on the Greek hero Odysseus (known as Ulysses in Roman myths), king
of Ithaca, and his journey home after the fall of Troy. It takes Odysseus ten years to reach Ithaca after
the ten-year Trojan War. In his absence, it is assumed Odysseus has died, and his wife Penelope and
son Telemachus must deal with a group of unruly suitors, the Mnesteres who compete for Penelope's
hand in marriage.
 George Chapman (1616) translated it to English.
 It is written in dactylic hexameter.
 It is sequel to the Iliad.
 Referred as the Song of Ilion or Song of Ilium.
 It is an ancient Greek epic poem in dactylic hexameter, set during Trojan War between King
Agamemnon and the Warrior Achilles (15,693 lines).
3-Homeric Hymn: A collection of 33 anonymous ancient Greek Hymns celebrating individual god in dactylic
4-Epic Cycle: A collection of ancient Greek epic poems that related the story of Trojan War which includes
the Cypria, the Aethiopes, the so called Little Iliad, Ilupersis, the Nostoi and the Telegoni in dactylic

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British Literature

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Geoffrey Chaucer
 He was born between 1340-1345 probably in London. His father was a prosperous wine merchant.
 In 1357 he was a page in the household of Elizabeth de Burgh, Countess of Ulster (wife of Prince Lionel).
 He was captured by the French during the Brittany Expedition of 1359 but was ransomed by the King.
 Edward III later sent him to France on a diplomatic mission. He also travelled to Genoa and Florence.
 Around 1366, Chaucer married Philippa Roet, a lady in waiting in the Queen’s household.
 Phillippa’s sister, Katherine Swynford later became the third wife of John of Gaunt (King’s fourth son and
Chaucer’s patron).
 In 1374 Chaucer was appointed Comptroller of the Lucrative London customs.
 In 1386 he was elected Member of Parliament for Kent and also served as a justice of peace. In 1389, he
was made clerk of the King’s works, overseeing loyal building projects.
 He held a number of royal posts serving both Edward III and his successor Richard II.
 Chaucer lived during
Edward III – 1327-1377
Richard II – 1377 -1399
Henry IV – 1399 -1413
 He was the first poet to be buried in Westminster Abbey now known as “The Poets Corner.”
 Arnold called him father of English poetry.
 In the “Legends of Good Women”, the 9 legends are - Cleopatra, Thisbe, Dido, Hypsipyle, Medea,
Lucrece, Ariadne, Philomela, Phyllis and Hypermnestra.
 Dryden re-wrote Canterbury Tales in Modern English.
 He was the first national poet of England.
 Dryden said about him – “Here is God’s plenty” and “A Rough diamond and must first be polished ere
he shines”.
 Boccacio exercised a deep influence on Chaucer. On diplomatic mission he was sent to Italy where he
met Petrarch and Boccacio. He makes a clear reference of Petrarch in his Clerk’s tale.
 He is called father of English poetry and Grandfather of English Novel.
 He is called morning star of song, and morning star of Renaissance.
 Arnold says about him – “Chaucer lacks not only the accent of Dante but also the high seriousness.”
 He is the first one to use Ottava Rima in The Book of The Duchess. (Ottava Rima is the eight syllable line
in couplet rhyming)
 He first used heroic couplet in The Legends of Good Women. (Heroic couplet is ten syllable line
rhyming in Couplets i.e. Decasyllabic Couplet)
 He first used Rhyme Royal in Troilus and Cressida. Rhyme Royal is ten syllable line arranged in Seven
line stanza (ABAB BCC)
 Chaucer’s Troilus and Cressida is called novel in verse.
 In The House of Fame, Chaucer resemblance closes to Dante’s Divine Comedy.
 W. J. Long called the prologue to the Canterbury tales as “the prologue to modern fiction” because of its
 The general prologue of The Canterbury Tales contains 858 lines.

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 The general plan of Canterbury tales is taken from Boccacio’s Decameron. In Canterbury the pilgrims
could be seen going to Thomas a Beckett in the month of April. He gave pen picture of 21 pilgrims in this
 “Had Chaucer written in prose it is possible his Troilus and Cressida and not Richardson’s “Pamela”
would be celebrated as 1st English Novel” - by S. D. Neil.
 Edmund Spenser in his “Faerie Queene” called – “Chaucer, well of English undefiled.”
 Nevill Coghill interpreted Canterbury Tales in 20th Century English.
 ‘Albert’ called Chaucer “The earliest of the great moderns.” and “the morning star of Renaissance.”
 Dryden called Chaucer “The father of English poetry.”
 “Chaucer found his native tongue a dialect and left it a language” - By Lowes
 “Chaucer is the earliest of the great moderns”: By Mathew Arnold
 “If Chaucer is the father of English poetry, he is the grandfather of English novel.” -By G.K. Chesterton.
 “Here is God’s plenty.” By Dryden
 Occleve wrote a famous poem “The Regiment of Princess” on the death of Chaucer.
 Chaucer and Langland died in the same year (1400).
 Chaucer has been criticised for presenting about courts and cultivated classes and neglect the suffering of
the poor.
 Although in Canterbury Tales 120 stories were planned but only 24 were completed.
 Chaucer introduced ‘Felicity’ in English.
 Longest tale of Canterbury Tales is Knight’s Tale.
 Chaucer has been called the “Prince of Plagiarists.”
 “Chaucer was not in any sense a poet of the people” – by Hudson
 The works of his life can be divided into three periods

French Period (1359-1372)

 During this time, Chaucer translated the "Roman de la Rose," a French poem written during the 1200s.
 He also wrote his "Book of the Duchess," an elegiac poem that shared much with contemporary French
poetry of the time but also departed from that poetry in important ways.
 Chaucer's extensive reading of Latin poets such as Boethius also influenced his own work.
 He was influenced by French masters as Guillaume de Machaut, Jean de Meun and Guillaume de Lorris.
The Romaunt of the Rose (1360)
 This book was almost a translated version of French work “le Roman de la Rose” Jean de Meun and
Guillaume de Lorris.
 The story begins with an allegorical dream, in which the narrator receives advice from the god of love on
gaining his lady's favour. Her love being symbolized by a rose, he is unable to get to the rose.
 The second fragment is a satire on the mores of the time, with respect to courting, religious order, and
religious hypocrisy. In the second fragment, the narrator is able to kiss the rose, but then the allegorical
character Jealousy builds a fortress encircling it so that the narrator does not have access to it.
 The third fragment of the translation takes up the poem 5,000 lines after the second fragment ends. At its
beginning, the god of love is planning to attack the fortress of Jealousy with his barons. The rest of the
fragment is a confession given by Fals-Semblant, or false-seeming, which is a treatise on the ways in which
men are false to one another, especially the clergy to their parishioners.
 The third fragment ends with Fals-Semblant going to the fortress of Jealousy in the disguise of a religious
pilgrim. He speaks with Wikked-Tunge that is holding one of the gates of the fortress and convinces him
to repent his sins. The poem ends with Fals-Semblant absolving Wikked-Tunge of his sins.

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The Book of the Duchess (1369)
 This book was written on the death of the Dutchess Blenche, who was the wife of John of Gaunt ( Patron
of Chaucer). She belongs to Lancester. This book is an elegy and allegory in nature. It comprises 1300
lines. In this book Chaucer used Ottava Rima for the first time.
 'The Book of the Duchess' begins with a man who cannot sleep. His heavy thoughts and fantasies are so
disturbing that he hasn't slept for eight years. He fears he will die of his insomnia, so he asks a servant to
bring him a book to read, which he calls a romance, a medieval European genre of literature often about
knights and their adventures and romances. He says that it's better to read than to play chess to try to fall
 He reads about a fictional king, Ceyx, who sets sail for an adventure at sea and is drowned in a storm. The
queen, Alcyone, waits for him to return and when he doesn't, she grieves inconsolably. She begs the
goddess Juno to let her see what happened to her husband, if only in a dream. She vows to give her total
devotion to the goddess if she grants her wish.
 The goddess causes Alcyone to fall into a deep sleep and summons Morpheus, the god of sleep, to go find
the king on the ocean floor, inhabit his body, and make him appear to Alcyone in a dream so that she sees
that he has drowned. He does so, and Alcyone dies of grief three days later.
 The narrator, or the speaker of the poem, figures that if a god helps Alcyone fall asleep and dream, maybe
a god would do the same for him. He sends a plea up to the gods that he will reward them with the most
luxurious gold-painted bedchamber, with a bed of the finest down, with covers embroidered with the finest
threads of pure gold, if they will help him sleep. He immediately falls asleep and has a vivid dream.
 First, the narrator hears the birds singing the sweetest symphony he's ever heard. He is lying in a room
whose walls have pictures of all the characters of the great European epic poems.
 'For the entire story of Troy was wrought in the glasswork thus: of Hector and of King Priam, of Achilles
and of King Lamedon, and also of Medea and of Jason, of Paris, Helen, and of Lavinia. And on all the
walls were painted with fine colours the entire Romance of the Rose, both text and gloss.'

 Some of the other works of this period are:-

 The ABC- It is written in eight line stanza.
 The Complaint into Pity :- Chaucer has used first time a seven line stanza known as 'Rhyme Royal
in this work.
 The Complaint of Mars.
 Queen Anelida.

Italian Period (1372-85)

 In 1372 Chaucer has been to Italy & came in personal contact with Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio. The
important works of this period are : Troilus and Criseyde, The Parlement of Foules, The House of Fame
and The Legend of Good Women.

Troilus and Criseyde

 It is a tragic verse romance by Geoffrey Chaucer, composed in the 1380s and considered by some critics
to be his finest work. The plot of this 8,239-line poem was taken largely from Giovanni Boccaccio’s Il
filostrato .
 It recounts the love story of Troilus, son of the Trojan king Priam, and Criseyde, widowed daughter of the
deserter priest Calchas.
 The poem moves in leisurely fashion, with introspection and much of what would now be called
psychological insight dominating many sections. Aided by Criseyde’s uncle Pandarus, Troilus and

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Criseyde are united in love about halfway through the poem, but then she is sent to join her father in the
Greek camp outside Troy.
 Despite her promise to return, she is loved by the Greek warrior Diomedes and comes to love him.
Troilus, left in despair, is killed in the Trojan War.
 These events are interspersed with Boethian discussion of free will and determinism and the direct
comments of the narrator.
 At the end of the poem, when Troilus’s soul rises into the heavens, the folly of complete immersion in
sexual love is contrasted with the eternal love of God.

The Parliament of Foules (1382)

 It is a 699-line poem in rhyme royal by Geoffrey Chaucer, written in 1380–90. Composed in the tradition
of French romances.
 This poem has been called one of the best occasional verses in the English language. Often thought
to commemorate the marriage of Richard II to Anne of Bohemia in 1382, it describes a conference of
birds that meet to choose their mates on St. Valentine’s Day.
 The narrator falls asleep and dreams of a beautiful garden in which Nature presides over a debate between
three high-ranking eagles, all vying for the attentions of a beautiful female.
 The other birds, each of which represents a different aspect of English society, are given a chance to
express their opinions; Chaucer uses this device to gently satirize the tradition of courtly love. He handles
the debate with humour and deftly characterizes the various birds.
 Although the debate on love and marriage is never resolved, the poem is complete in itself and ends on a
note of joy and satisfaction.

The House of Fame (1380)

 It was written after the influence of Dante. It has the resemblance to Dante’s Divine Comedy.
 It is an unfinished dream‐ poem by Chaucer. There are three books, in 2,158 lines of Octosyllabics.
 After the prologue on dreams and the invocation to the god of sleep, Book I says the poet fell asleep and
dreamt that he was in a Temple of Glass where he saw depicted Aeneas and Dido; the dream moves on to
deal more briefly with other parts of the Aeneid.
 The poet sees an eagle that alights by him and is his guide through the House of Fame. The eagle
explains, philosophically and at length, how Fame works in its arbitrary ways.
 The eagle departs and Chaucer enters the Palace of Fame (Rumour) where he sees the famous of both
classical and biblical lore. Eolus blows a trumpet to summon up the various celebrities who introduce
themselves in categories reminiscent of the souls in Dante's Divina Commedia.
 Towards the end of the poem comes a vision of bearers of false tidings: shipmen, pilgrims, pardoners, and
messengers, whose confusion seems to be about to be resolved by the appearance of ‘A man of gret
auctorite…’; but there the poem ends.

The Legend of Good Women (1385)

 It is written on Queen Bohemia’s bidding who asked him to write of good women. Much of this poem is
devoted to the first use of the heroic couplet by Chaucer to retell in lyrical form the tragic love stories of
Cleopatra, Thisbe, Dido, Hypsipyle, Medea, Lucrece, Ariadne, Philomela, Phyllis and Hypermnestra.
 It is a dream-vision by Geoffrey Chaucer. The fourth and final work of the genre that Chaucer composed,
it presents a “Prologue” (existing in two versions) and nine stories.

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 In the “Prologue” the god of love is angry at Chaucer for writing about so many women who betray men.
As penance, Chaucer is instructed to write about good women.
 The “Prologue” is noteworthy for the delightful humour of the narrator’s self-mockery and for the
passages in praise of books and of the spring.
 The stories—concerning such women of antiquity as Cleopatra, Dido, and Lucrece—are brief and rather
mechanical, with the betrayal of women by wicked men as a regular theme. As a result, the whole becomes
more a legend of bad men than of good women.

English Period (1386-1400)

 The famous work of this period is Canterbury Tales which was written after influence of Boccaccio’s
‘The Decameron’.

The Canterbury Tales (contains 17000Lines)

 In The Canterbury Tales, 32 characters make the trip to the shrine of the martyr Saint Thomas Becket in
 Although 29 characters are mentioned in line 24 of the “General Prologue.” The narrator joins this group
(making 30). The host, Harry Bailey, makes 31. The Canon’s yeoman, who joins the group later, makes
 The narrator gives a description of 27 Pilgrims. (Except second Nun or Nun’s Priest).
 This work remained unfinished at Chaucer’s death.
 In Prologue to Canterbury Tales Chaucer employed the Heroic couplet.
 There are four characters that are not criticised or satirised by Chaucer in The Canterbury Tales –
i) Knight
ii) Parson
iii) Clerk
iv) Plowman
 Clergymen in the Canterbury Tales are:
1. Prioress (Madam Eglantine)
2. Parson
3. Friar and
4. Monk
 Canterbury Tales have the characters from three social groups or estates Viz. Nobility, Church and

Opinion of Chaucer about different Characters of Canterbury Tales in The Prologue

 Plowman: He would help the poor for the love of Christ and never take a penny. About Plowman
Chaucer says – “He would pay his taxes regularly.
 Host: Bold in his speech, yet wise and full of tact no manly attribute he lacked, merry- hearted man.
 Doctor (Physician): He was rather close to expenses and kept the gold he won in pestilence. Gold
stimulated the heart or so we are told, had a special love for gold.
 Reeve: He was under contract to present the accounts, right from his masters earliest years; no one ever
caught him in arrears.
 Miller: A wrangler and buffoon who had a store of tavern stories, filthy in the main, was a master-hand at
stealing grain.
 Summoner: Loved Garlic, Onion, leeks and drinking strong wine till he was hazy. Then he would shout
and jabber as if crazy and wouldn’t speak a word except in Latin when he was drunk.

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 Franklin: His house was never short of bake-meat pies of fish and flesh, and these in such supplies it
positively snowed with meat and drink and all the dainties that a man could think.
 Clerk of Oxford: His horse was thinner than a rake and he was not too fat, but had a hollow look, a sober
stare; the thread upon his overcoat was bare.
 Friar: Knew the taverns well in every town and every innkeeper and barmaid too; better than leapers,
beggars, and the crew, kept his tippet stuffed with pins for curls and pocket-knives to give to pretty girls.
 Merchant: Had set his wits to work, none knew he was in debt, was so stately in negotiation, loan, bargain
and commercial obligation.
 Wife of Bath: Liked to laugh and chat and knew the remedies of love’s mischances, an art in which she
knew the oldest dances.
 Cook: Had an ulcer on his knee, as for blancmange he made it with the best.

Characters of The Canterbury Tales

1. The Knight

 The Knight, a courtly medieval fighting man who has served king and religion all over the known
world. Modest in dress and speech, though the highest in rank of the pilgrims to Canterbury, he
rides with only his son and a yeoman in attendance.

2. The Squire

 He is the Knight’s son. A young man of twenty years, he has fought in several battles. Like his
father, he is full of knightly courtesy, but he also enjoys a good time.

3. The Yeoman

 He is the Knight’s attendant, a forester who takes excellent care of his gear. He wears a St.
Christopher medal on his breast. He does not tell a story.

4. The Prioress

 The Prioress is Madame Eglentyn, who travels with another nun and three priests as her attendants
to the shrine of St. Thomas Becket at Canterbury. A woman of conscience and sympathy, she
wears a curious brooch on which appears the ambiguous statement, in Latin, “Love conquers all.”

5. The Second Nun

 She accompanies the Prioress.

6. The Nun’s Priest

 His name is John.

7. The Monk

 He is a fat hedonist who prefers to be out of his cloister. No lover of books and learning, he
prefers to hunt and eat.

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8. The Friar

 The Friar’s name is Huberd. He is a merry chap who knows barmaids better than the sick. Having
the reputation of being the best beggar in his house, he appears to be a venal, worldly man.

9. The Merchant

 The Merchant is a tight-lipped man of business. Unhappily married, he tells a story of the evils of
marriage between old men and young women.

10. The Clerk of Oxford

 The Clerk of Oxford is a serious young scholar who heeds philosophy and prefers books to
worldly pleasures.

11. The Sergeant of Law

 The Sergeant of Law is a busy man who seems busier than he really is. He makes a great show of
his learning; citing cases all the way back to William the Conqueror.

12. The Franklin

 The Franklin is a rich landlord who loves to eat and keeps a ready table of dainties. He has been
sheriff of his county.

13. The Haberdasher

14. The Carpenter
15. The Weaver
16. The Dyer
17. The Tapestry Maker

18. The Cook

 The Cook is named Roger, who was hired by the master workmen to serve them during their
journey. He is a rollicking fellow. Pleased by the bawdy tales of the Miller and the Reeve, he insists
on telling a bawdy story of his own, one left unfinished.

19. The Shipman

 The Shipman is the captain of the Maudelayne, of Dartmouth. He is a good skipper and a

20. The Doctor of Physick

 The Doctor of Physick is a materialistic man greatly interested in money. He knows all the great
medical authorities, as well as his astrology, though he seldom reads the Bible.

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21. The Wife of Bath

 The Wife of Bath is named Alice, a cloth maker and five times a widow. Apparently wealthy from
her marriages, she has travelled a great deal, including three trips to Jerusalem. She is well versed
in marriage and lovemaking. Her theory is that the woman must dominate in marriage. To make
her point, she tells a tale of a loathsome lady who, when her husband is obedient, becomes fair.

22. The Parson

 The Parson is a poor but loyal churchman who teaches his parishioners by his good example.
Refusing to tell an idle tale to his fellow pilgrims, he tells what he terms a merry tale about the
Seven Deadly Sins.

23. The Plowman

 He is an honest man, the Parson’s brother. He tells no tale.

24. The Miller

 The Miller is a jolly, drunken reveler who leads the company playing on his bagpipes.

25. The Reeve

 The Reeve is a slender, choleric man named Oswald.

26. The Manciple

 The Manciple is an uneducated man who is shrewd enough to steal a great deal from the learned
lawyers who hire him to look after their establishments.

27. The Summoner

 The Summoner is a lecherous, drunken fellow who loves food and strong drink.

28. The Pardoner

 The Pardoner is a womanish man with long, blond hair.

29. Harry Bailey

 Harry Bailey is the host at the Tabard Inn in Southwark. He organizes the storytelling among the
pilgrims, with the winner to have a meal at his fellows’ cost upon the company’s return. He is a
natural leader, as his words and actions shows.

30. Geoffrey Chaucer

 Geoffrey Chaucer is the author, who put himself into his poem as a retiring, mild-mannered

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31. The Canon

 The Canon is a traveller who joins the pilgrims briefly on the road to Canterbury. He leaves when
it is hinted that he is a cheating alchemist.

32. The Canon’s Yeoman

 The Canon’s Yeoman, remains with the pilgrim company and tells an anecdote about an
alchemist, a canon like his master, who swindles a priest.


1. The Knight’s Tale

 It is based on Boccacio’s Teseida.

 The story begins by “Theseus (duke of Athens) who just has conquered Amazon and married Hyppolyta
and returning to Athens.
 While returning he is encountered by grieving widows of Thebes whose husbands were killed in the war of
Thebes by King Creon (King of Thebes)
 King Creon refused to give them the dead bodies, so Theseus was touched by pathos and Kills Creon and
destroys Thebes and restored the pile of bodies to the widows.
 Two of them in the pile of bodies were alive. They were seriously injured but not dead. One is Palamon
and another is Arcite, they are cousin brothers.
 Duke Theseus orders to put them in prison. While in prison Palamon sees Emily, a charming, beautiful
and attractive sister of Hyppolyta through back window and falls in love. Soon Arcite also got up and sees
Emily and he also fell in love with her.
 Arcite was ransomed by his friend and rescued. But Duke Theseus banished him from Athens, but he
disguises as a page boy of Emily and walked in Emily’s chamber secretly.
 Poor Palamon escapes from prison and they both (Palamon and Arcite) met in a forest. Duke Theseus
caught them while going for hunting and commanded them to be killed, but kind Hyppolyta requests
Duke not to do so.
 A deal is made by Theseus - both the convict should collect 100 soldiers and fight. The winner will get
Emily as wife.
 Palamon prays to Venus (goddess of Love) and Arcite prays to Mars (god of war) while Emily prays to
Diana (goddess of chastity and maidness).
 The war begins and Mars gives victory to Arcite as he earlier whispered “victory”.
 Goddess Venus cries to his father Saturn as she got defeated.
 So Saturn ordered earth to shake the horse on which Arcite was riding and threw him away and Arcite
 Now Venus won and Palamon got Emily’s hand as Arcite finally wished them to marry and they lived
happily forever.
 The knight is socially the most prominent person on the pilgrimage epitomizing chivalry, truth and
honour. He stands apart from the other pilgrims because of his dignity and honour.

2. Miller’s Tale
 The host asks Monk to tell the next tale but drunken Miller interrupts and insists that his tale should be
the next.
 Tale begins – There was a foolish carpenter named John who had a beautiful wife named Alison.

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 Nicholas is a young scholar of Astrology. He is rusty and covets lovely Alison.
 One day when John was not at home Nicholas seduced Alison, first she resisted but finally agreed. She
worried that if her husband finds this out, he will kill her.
 Nicholas made a plan for it. Nicholas lied John, that there will be great floods tomorrow (like Noah’s
flood). So he ordered John to tie the three tubs to the beam of ceiling with rope and fill the tub with food
so that they can escape when flood comes.
 Foolish John did so, at night he climbs into the tub and falls dead asleep.
 The two, Alison and Nicholas get out of the tub and spent the whole night together.
 Absalom, a perish clerk also had been wooing Alison. While Nicholas and Alison were enjoying Absalom
saw this and asks Alison to kiss him but she insulted him but when 2nd time he asked for a kiss Nicholas
showed his back and Absalom got pissed and applied hot poker on Nicholas’s back and Nicholas shouted
water, water.
 Hearing of water, John got up and cut the rope of the tub and fell down and broke his legs.

3. The Reeve’s Tale

 As Miller told the tale about a carpenter and as Reeve was also doing carpentry, so he takes Miller’s tale as
offense and counters with his own tale of a dishonest Miller.
 Reeve tells the story of two students John and Alayn. They go to the Miller to watch him grinding their
corn, so that he can’t steal their corn with his golden thumb.
 Miller unties their horse and while they chase it, he steals some of the flour he had just grinded for them.
 By the time students catch the horse it becomes dusk and they spent the night in Millers house.
 That night Alayn seduces Miller’s daughter while John seduces Miller’s wife.
 When Miller woke up and found out what had happened. He tried to beat the students.
 His wife thinking that her husband is actually one of the students, hits Miller over the head with a staff.
 The students took back their corn and leaves.

4. The Cook’s Prologue and Tale

 Cook’s name is Roger.
 The cook enjoys the Reeve’s tale and offers to tell another funny tale.
 The tale is about an apprentice named Perkyn who drinks and dances so much that he is called ‘Perkyn’s
 Finally Perkyn’s master decides to leave the apprentice as he was corrupting other servants too.
 Perkyn decides to stay with a friend who loves drinking and gambling and he had a wife who was a
 The tale brakes off after fifty eight lines (This story is unfinished.)

5. The Prologue and the Tale of Man of Law

 The host Harry Baily reminds his fellow pilgrims to waste no time, because lost time cannot be regained.
He asks the Man of law to tell the next tale.
 The Man of Law apologises that he can’t tell any suitable tale that Chaucer had not already told. Chaucer
may be unskilled as a poet, says the Man of Law, but he has told more stories of lovers than Ovid and he
does not print tales of incest as John Gower does.
 In the prologue, the Man of Law laments the miseries of poverty and remarks how fortunate merchants
are and says that his tale is the one which is told to him by a merchant.
 In the tale, the Muslim Sultan of Syria converts his entire Sultanate to Christianity in order to persuade the
emperor of Rome to give him his daughter Custance in marriage.
 The Sultan’s mother and her attendants remain faithful to Islam.
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 The mother tells her son that she wishes to hold a banquet for him and all the Christians.
 At the banquet she murders her son and all the Christians except, Custance who she sets adrift in a
rudderless ship.
 After years of floating, Custance runs ashore in Northumberland, where a constable and his wife
Hermengyld offer her shelter. She converts them to Christianity.
 One night Satan makes a young knight to sneak into Hermengyld’s chamber and murders her, and places
the bloody knife next to Custance, who sleeps in the same chamber.
 When the constable returns home accompanied by Alla, the King of Northumberland, he finds his slain
 He tells Alla the story of how Custance was found and Alla begins to pity Custance. He decides to look
more deeply into the murder. Just as the Knight who murdered Hermengyld is swearing that Custance is
the true murderer but he is stuck down and his eyes burst out of his face proving his guilty to Alla and the
 The convict knight is executed; Alla and many others converted to Christianity, and Custance and Alla
 While Alla was away in Scotland, Custance gave birth to a baby boy named Mauricious.
 Alla’s mother Donegild intercepts a letter from Custance to Alla and substitutes a counterfeit one that
claims that the child is disfigured and bewitched.
 She then intercepts Alla’s reply, which claims that the child should be kept and loved no matter how
malformed. Donegild substitutes a letter saying that Custance and her son are banished and should be sent
away on same ship on which Custance arrived.
 Alla returns home and finds out what happened and kills his mother Donegild.
 After many adventures at sea, including an attempted rape, Custance ends up back in Rome where she
reunites with Alla who has made a pilgrimage there to atone for killing his mother. She also reunites with
her father, the emperor.
 Alla and Custance return to England but Alla dies after a year, so Custance returns to Rome once again.
Mauricious becomes next Roman emperor.

6. Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale

 The host asks the Parson to tell the next tale but Parson reproaches him for swearing and they fall to
 Wife of Bath is characterised as gap toothed, somewhat deaf and wearing bright scarlet red stockings. Her
last husband is half her age.
 The wife of bath, Alisoun gives a lengthy account of her feelings about marriage. Quoting from the bible,
the wife argues against those who believe that it is wrong to marry more than once, and she explains how
she dominated and controlled each of her five husbands. She married her fifth husband Jankyn, for love
instead of money.
 After the wife has rambled on for a while, the friar butts in, to complain that she is taking too long, and
Summoner retorts that friars are like flies always meddling.
 The Friar promises to tell a tale about Summoner and Summoner promises to tell a tale about Friar.
 The host cries to calm down and allow the wife to tell her tale.
 Tale begins – In the court of King Arthur, young knight rapes a maiden; to atone for his crime Arthur’s
queen sends him on a quest to discover what women want most.
 An ugly old woman promises the knight that she will tell him the secret if he promises to do whatever she
wants for saving his life. He agrees and she tells him that women want most “to control their husbands and
their own lives”.
 They go together to Queen Arthur and old woman’s answer turns out to be correct.
 The old woman then tells the knight that he must marry her.
 When the knight confesses later that he is repulsed by her appearance she give him a choice, she can
either be faithful and ugly or beautiful and unfaithful.
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 The knight tells her to make the choice herself and she rewards him for giving her control of the marriage
by rendering herself both beautiful and faithful.

7. Friar’s Prologue and Tale

 Huberd, the Friar is a sensual, licentious man who seduces young girls and then arranges their marriages.
He loves money and knows the taverns better than the poor houses.
 Friar’s scarf was stuffed full of knives and brooches to give to pretty women.
 The Friar speaks approvingly of the Wife of Bath’s tale and offers to lighten things up for the company by
telling a funny story about a lecherous Summoner.
 Summoner does not reject but promises to pay the Friar back in his own tale.
 The Friar tells of an archdeacon who carries out law without mercy, especially to lechers. The archdeacon
has a Summoner, who has a network of spies working for him, to let him know who has been lecherous.
 The Summoner extorts money from those he is sent to summon, charging them more money than he
should for penance.
 He tries to serve a summons on a Yeoman, who is actually a devil in disguise.
 After comparing notes on their treachery and extortion the devil vanishes, but when Summoner tries to
prosecute an old wealthy widow unfairly, she cries out that the Summoner should be taken to hell.
 The devil follows the women’s instruction and lays the Summoner to hell.

8. Summoner’s Prologue and Tale

 Summoner is an officer of the church who calls people for a church trial. He is as ugly as his profession,
he frightens children with his red complexion, pimples and boils and skin infected with scales.
 Summoner is furious at Friar’s tale and asks the company to let him tell the next tale.
 First he tells the company that there is little difference between Friars and friends.
 When an angel took a Friar down to hell to show him the torments there, the Friar asked why there were
no Friars in hell, the angel then pulled up Satan’s tail and 20,000 Friars came out of his ass.
 Tale begins: - A Friar begs for money from a dying man named Thomas and his wife who have recently
lost their child.
 The Friar shamelessly exploits the couple’s misfortunes to extract money from them, so Thomas tells
Friar that he is working on something that he will bequeath to the Friar.
 The Friar reaches for his bequest and Thomas lets out an enormous fart. The Friar complains to the lord
of Manor, whose squire is required to promise to divide the feast evenly among all the Friars.
Quote by Chaucer:- “Summoner would lend his concubine / lend his mistress to anyone for a quest of
wine he loved garlic in special”.

9. Clerk’s Prologue and Tale

 The host asks the Clerk to cheer up and tell a merry tale and Clerk agrees to tell a tale by the Italian Poet
 The Clerk is a sincere, devoted student at Oxford University who loves learning and is respected by all
pilgrims. He is poor because he spends all his money on books. He narrates the story of Griselde.
 Griselde is a hard working peasant who marries into the aristocracy. Her husband tests her fortitude in
several ways, including pretending to kill her children and divorcing her.
 He punishes her one final time by forcing her to prepare for his wedding to a new wife.
 She does all this dutifully. Her husband tells her that she has always been and will always be his wife and
they lived happily ever after.
 The true import of this tale is “that man must learn to endure adversity with courage and adversity”.

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10. Merchant’s Prologue and Tale

 The merchant is a shrewd and intelligent man and the member of rich rising middle class who knows how
to strike a good bargain.
 The merchant reflects on the great difference between the patient Griselde of the clerk’s tale and the
horrible shrew he has been married for the past two months.
 The host asks him to tell a story of the evils of marriage and he compiles.
 Story begins: - Against the advice of his friends, an old knight named January, married May, a beautiful
young woman. She is less impressed by his enthusiastic sexual efforts, and conspires to cheat on him with
his squire Damien.
 When blind January takes May into his garden to copulate with her, she tells him she wants to eat a pear
and he helps her up into the pear tree where she has sex with Damien.
 Pluto, the King of fairies restores January sight and May is caught in the act. She accuses him that he must
be still blind.
 The Host prays to god to keep him from marrying a wife, like that merchant had described.
 A Satire on unequal marriages is found in the Merchant’s tale of January and May.

11. Squire’s Prologue and Tale

 The host calls upon the squire to say something about his favourite subject love, and Squire willingly
 King Cambyuskan of Mongol Empire is visited by a knight on his birthday bearing gifts from the King of
Arabia and India.
 He gives Cambyuskan and his daughter Canacee, a magic brass horse, a magic mirror, a magic ring that
gives Canacee the ability to understand the language of birds, and a sword with the power to close any
wound it creates.
 She rescues a dying female falcon that narrates, how her consort abandoned her for the love of another.
 The Squire’s tale is either unfinished by Chaucer or is interrupted by Franklin who interjects that he
wishes his own son were as eloquent as the squire.
 The host expresses annoyance at Franklin’s interruption and asks him to tell the next tale.
 Squire is a vain, lusty young man and a candidate for knighthood. He can sing, write poetry and ride horse
very well, and considers himself a Lady’s man.
 Chaucer about Squire: ‘Squire was as fresh as month of May’.

12. Franklin’s Prologue and Tale

 The Franklin says that his tale is a familiar Breton lay, a fold ballad of ancient Brittany.
 Franklin is a large and wealthy landowner who enjoys fine living and good companionship.
Tale :
 The heroine awaits the return of her husband Arveragus, who has gone to England to win honour in feats
of arms.
 She worries that ship bringing her husband home will wreck itself on the coastal rocks and she promises
Aurelius, a young man who fell in love with her, that she will give her body to him if he clears the rocks
from the coast.
 Aurelius hires a student, learned in magic to create the illusion that the rocks have disappeared.
 Husband Arveragus returns home and tells his wife that she must keep her promise to Aurelius.
 Aurelius is so impressed by Arveragus’ honourable act that he generously absolves her of the promise and
the magician in turn generously absolves Aurelius of the money he owes.

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13. The Physician’s Prologue and Tale

 Appius, the judge lusts after Virginia, the beautiful daughter of Virginius.
 Appius persuades a churl named Claudius to declare her, his slave.
 Appius declares that Virginius must hand over his daughter to Claudius.
 Virginius tells his daughter that she must die rather than suffer dishonour and she virtually consents to her
father cutting her head off.
 Appius sentences Virginius to death but the Roman people aware of Appius’ hijinks throw him into prison
where he kills himself.
 Physician was heavily dependent upon astrology.
 About Physician Chaucer tells that -“For gold in Physique is cordial. Therefore, he loved gold is special.”

14. Pardoner’s Prologue and Tale

 The host is dismayed by the tragic injustice of the physician tale and asks the pardoner to tell a messy tale.
 The other pilgrims contradict the host demanding a moral tale after he eats and drinks.
 The pardoner tells the company how he cheats people out of their money preaching that money is the
root of all evils.
 His tale describes three righteous youth who go looking for death thinking they can kill him.
 An old man tells them that they will find death under a tree. Instead they find eight bushes of gold which
they plot to sneak into the town under the cover of darkness.
 The youngest one goes to town to fetch food and drinks but brings back poison hoping to have the gold all
to himself. His companions kill him to enrich their own shares. They drink the poison and die under the
 After pardoner completes his tale, he offers to sell the pilgrims pardons, and singles out the host to come
and kiss his relics. The Host infuriates the pardoner by accusing him of fraud but the Knight persuades
the two to kiss and bury their differences.

15. Shipman’s Tale

 Magdelan Rascal is the name of the ship on which the shipman was writing.
 This tale features a monk who tricks a merchant’s wife into sex with him by borrowing money from the
merchant, then giving it to the wife so she can pay her own debts to her husband, in exchange for sexual
 When the monk sees the merchant, next he tells him that he returned the merchant’s money to his wife.
 The wife realises that she has been duped, but she boldly tells her husband to forgive her debt. She will
repay it in bed.

16. The Prioress’ Prologue and Tale

 The host praises Shipman’s story and asks the Prioress to tell the next tale.
 Prioress call on the Virgin Mary to guide her tale.
 In an Asian City, A Christian School is located at the edge of a Jewish ghetto.
 An angelic seven year old boy, a widow’s son attends the school. He is a devoted Christian and loves to
sing Alma Redemptories (Gracious mother of the Redeemer).
 Singing the song on his way through the ghetto, some Jews hire a murderer and slit his throat and throw
him into a latrine.
 The Jews refuse to tell the Widow where her son is, but he miraculously begins to sing Alma
Redemptories so the Christian people recover his body.
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 The magistrate orders the murdering Jews to be drawn apart by wild horses and then hanged.
 She is called Madame Eaglentine who wears a brooch with an inscription (Amor Vincit Omnia, That
Means “Love conquers all”)
 Second nun is her secretary.

17. The Prologue and Tale of Chaucer

 The host after teasing Chaucer, the narrator about his appearance, asks him to tell a tale.
 Chaucer says that he only knows one tale than launches into a parody of bad poetry – The Tale of Sir
 Sir Thopas rides about looking for an elf queen to marry until he is confronted by a giant.
 The narrator’s doggerel continues in this vein until the host can bear no more and interrupts him.
 Chaucer asks him why he can’t tell his tale since it is the best he knows and the host explains that his
rhyme is not worth a turd.
 He encourages Chaucer to tell a prose tale.
 It is the smallest tale in Canterbury Tales.

18. The Tale of Melibee

 Chaucer’s second tale is the long, moral and prose story of Melibee.
 Melibee’s house is raided by his foe. They beat his wife, Prudence, and severely wounded his daughter
Sophie in her feet, hands, ears, nose and mouth.
 Prudence advises him not to rashly pursue vengeance on his enemies.
 He follows her advice by putting his foe’s punishment in her hands.
 She forgives them for the outrages done to her, in a model of Christian forbearance and forgiveness.

19. The Monk’s Prologue and Tale

 The host wishes that his own wife were as patient as Melibee and calls upon the Monk to tell the next tale.
 First he teases the Monk pointing out that the monk is clearly no poor cloistered.
 The Monk takes it all in stride and tells a series of tragic falls, in which Nobel figures are brought low e.g.
Lucifer, Adam, Sampson, Hercules, Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Zenobia, Pedro of Castile and down
through the ages.
 Altogether 17 noble falls were narrated by the monk.
 Chaucer satirizes the Monk because - “Monk spends too much time hunting and too little time on
religious duties”.

20. Nun’s Priest Tale and Prologue

 After seventeen Nobles falls narrated by the monk, the Knight interrupts, and the host calls upon the
Nun’s priest to deliver something more livelily.
 Priest tells of Chanticleer, the Rooster who is carried off by a flattering fox who tricks him into closing his
eyes and displaying his crowing abilities.
 Chanticleer turns the table on the fox by persuading him to open his mouth and brag to the barnyard
about his feet, upon which Chanticleer falls out of fox’s mouth and escapes.
 The host praises the Nun’s priest tale adding that if Nun’s priest were not in holy orders he would be as
sexually potent as Chanticleer.
 It has its origin in French ‘Roman de Renart.’
 Theme: “Never Trust Flatterer”.

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21. Second Nun’s Tale and Prologue

 In her prologue the second Nun explains that she will tell a saint’s life that of St. Cecilia, for this saint has
set an excellent example through her good works and wide teachings.
 She focuses particularly on the story of Saint Cecilia’s martyrdom.
 Before Cecilia’s new husband, Valerian, can take her virginity she sends him on a pilgrimage to Pope Urban, who
converts him to Christianity.
 An angel visits Valerian, who asks that his brother Tiburce be granted the grace of Christian conversion as
 All three; Cecilia, Valerian and Tiburce are put to death by Romans.

22. Canon’s Yeoman Tale

 When second Nun’s tale is finished, the company is overtaken by a black clad Canon and his Yeoman,
who has heard of the pilgrims and their tales, wishes to participate.
 The Yeoman brags to company about how he and the Canon create the illusion that they are alchemists
and canon departs in shame at having his secrets discovered.
 The Yeoman tells a tale of how a Canon defrauded a priest by creating an illusion of alchemy using sleight
of hand.

23. The Manciple’s Tale and Prologue

 The host pokes fun at the Cook, riding at the back of the company, blind and drunk.
 The cook is unable to honour the host’s request that he tells a tale and the Manciple criticizes him for his
 The Manciple relates the legend of a white crow, taken from the Roman poet Ovid’s Metamorphosis and one of
the tales in Arabian nights.
 In it Phoebus’s talking white crow informs him that his wife is cheating on him.
 Phoebus kills his wife, pulls out the crow’s white feathers and curses it with blackness.

24. Parson’s Tale

 As the company enters a village in the late afternoon the host calls upon the Parson to give them a fable.
 Refusing to tell a fictional story, because it would go against the rule set by St. Paul, the Parson tells a
lengthy treatise on the seven deadly sins in prose form.
 Quote – “If gold (represents monks) rusts what shall iron do?” – by Parson


William Langland
 He was born probably near Malvern in Worcestershire, the son of a poor free man.
 His date of death is unknown.
 He wrote only one famous work i.e. The Visions of Piers the Plowman.

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The Visions of Piers the Plowman

 Will searches for Piers, falling asleep on Malvern Hills.

 The poem is a dream allegory in nature and begins with the line– “The voice of him that crieth in the
wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord.”
 For centuries, literature had been busy in pleasing the upper class chiefly, but Langland comes as a great poet
who appealed directly to the common people in Piers Plowman.
 The poem first appeared in 1362 in 1800 lines but after final revision it reached its final form in 1500 lines in
 The poem is in two distinct parts. The first containing the vision of Piers (visio), and the second a series of
visions (vita) called “The Search of Dowel, Dobet, Dobest” (do well, do better, do best) –as allegorical
 In the first vision that of the “Field full of Folk” that poet lies down on the Malvern Hills on a morning and a
vision comes to him in sleep.
 The next vision are those of seven deadly sins that allegorically figured, seems like shadows in comparison.
These all came to Piers asking the way to truth; but Piers in ploughing his half acre land and refuses to leave
his work and lead them.
 The seven deadly sins are: Pride, Luxury, Envy, Wrath, Avarice, Gluttony, and Sloth.
 He sets them all to honest toil as the best possible remedy for their vices and preaches the gospel of work as a
preparation for salvation.
 Throughout the poem Piers resemble to John Baptist preaching to the crowd in wilderness.
 The poem grows dramatic in its intensity, rising to its highest power in Piers triumph over death. And then
poet wakes from his vision with the sound of Easter bells ringing in his ears.
 Finally Piers appears as Jesus.
 Piers the Plowman is the part of “Alliterative Revival” of the 15th century.
 It is divided into stanzas called “Passus”.
 Famous line from Passus V:
“In whose hand are iniquities whose right land is full of gifts.”


John Wycliffe
 John Wycliffe was an English scholastic philosopher, theologian, Biblical translator, reformer, priest, and a
seminary professor at the University of Oxford.
 Translation of the Bible in 1382 earned him the title “Father of English prose”.
 John Wycliffe is called “The Morning Star of Reformation”.
 In 1382 he completed a translation directly from the Vulgate into Middle English – a version now known
as Wycliffe's Bible. It is probable that he personally translated the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke,
and John; and it is possible he translated the entire New Testament, while his associates translated the Old
 In 1377, Wycliffe and Lollards began reformation in England.
 Lollard Movement
 The church which was seat of power and prestige was infected with corruption and moral decaying.
The ecclesiastics were corrupt and demoralized. They were rolled in wealth and luxury.

World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 42

 Poets like Langland and Gower freely revolted against the growing corruption in the church. They
did their best to revive the spiritual Christianity in England.
 John Wycliffe challenged the authority of Catholic Church. He sent throughout the country
disciples, who were called Lollards or poor priests, to spread his teachings.
 He encouraged them to seek their religion in Bible only and for this purpose he translated
portions of the New Testament of the Bible from Latin into English.


John Mandeville
 Sir John Mandeville is the supposed author of The Travels of Sir John Mandeville, a travel memoir which first
circulated between 1357 and 1371. The earliest surviving text is in French.
 In the prologue of the English version the author calls himself John Mandeville and gives an outline of his
wide travels during thirty years.
 French travels of Sir Mandeville were translated by Jean de Bourgogne into English in 1377.


Thomas Hoccleve or Occleve

 Apart from Lydgate, he is also one of the most significant poets of 15th century.
 He was a clerk in the office of Privy Seal and some of his poetry claims to describe the events of his own life as
in– La Male Regle de Thomas Hoccleve, the prologue to “The Regiment of Princess” (1411-1412) and in two
poems from the late sequence known as “Series” (1420), ‘The Complaint’ and ‘The Dialogue with a Friend’.
 He also praises Chaucer in “The Regiment of Princess”.
 Hoccleve poetry also included the translations from Christine de Pisan (French Poet).


John Lydgate
 John Lydgate of Bury was a monk and poet, born in Lidgate, near Haverhill, Suffolk, England.
 Lydgate's poetic output is prodigious, amounting, at a conservative count, to about 145,000 lines.
 His position is a man of letters rather than as a major poet.
 Perhaps his greatness fame lies ironically, in his praise of Chaucer.

World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 43

Important Works

i) The Complaint of the Black Knight: It is modeled on Chaucer’s ‘The Book of the Duchess’.
ii) The Temple of Glass: Indebted to ‘The House of Fame’.
iii) Reason and Sensuality: An allegory book.
iv) Troy Book: A major contribution to the rendering of classical myth into English. It is 30,000 lines
translation of Guido delle Colonne, commissioned by Prince Henry V.
v) The Story of Thebes (1420-1422)
vi) Fall of Prince (1438) – 30,000 lines on Monk’s Tale.


Features of 15th Century Literature

 For the whole of Europe it was a period of unrest.
 James I: King of Scotland was in 1406 captured by the English and detained for 18 years, returning to
Scotland in 1424. He ascended the throne of Scotland and once again began to avenge himself on the nobles
who have kept him in retention. In 1437 he was murdered by a band of conspirators.
 Martin Luther was the hero of Reformation in Europe.
 Constantinople: The seat of Greek and Latin learning fell under the attack of the Turks in 1453. The Greek-
Latin scholars fled the city carrying the learning of Greece and Rome with them. The event led to the revival
of learning in Europe which established a new era in Europe. Constantinople was the capital of Byzantine
 Hundred Years War of France and Britain took place between 1338-1453.
 The War of Roses: There was a distracting political conflict which culminated in the thirty years struggle for
power for 1455-1485. The conflict was between House of York and House of Lancaster. This struggle is
called the War of Roses, because the badge of Lancaster was Red Rose and the badge of York was White
Rose. This is also called Civil War.
 In this war many of the great models were killed and the old creator of feudalism came to an end.
In conclusion, it gave England the Tudor Dynasty from Henry VII in 1485 to Queen Elizabeth
 The Jack Cade’s Rebellion (1450): Jack Cade, an Irishman started a protest against maladministration in 1450.
He led an insurrection of 15,000 men against London. The insurrection was surpassed by an armed forces
and he was slain. He is like Wat Tyler, the leader of the Peasant’s Revolt in 1381.
 Everyman is a morality play by an anonymous writer appeared in 1510.
 Printing: William Caxton introduced printing in London in 1476. He translated, printed, and published a
large number of books in London dialect.
 Political Condition: At this time England had to bear foreign and civil wars as well.
 Henry V who succeeded Henry IV gained success against France at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 and
became a national hero. But he died soon at the age of 35, leaving behind a nine month old baby as
Henry VI, who was declared the King of England and France.
 Duke of Bedford became the reagent in France and Duke of Gloucester in England as Henry VI was a
baby and not able to rule.
 Bedford had to encounter the rising nationalism in France headed by French peasant girl Joan of Arc who
succeeded a triumph for French army.
 The English army however captured her and burned her as a witch at Rowen.
 The English rule came to an end in 1436 and French King took reigns to their country.

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 This period is also called Barren Period by W.H. Auden.

 Ballad was the most familiar writing genre in 15th century.

 James I of Scotland (1394 -1437) tells in his King’s Quair, his love for the lady Jane Beauport (The duke of
Somerset’s daughter).
 William Dunbar’s (1465 – 1530) graceful allegorical poem The Thistle and the Rose (1503) is composed to
commemorate the marriage of James IV of Scotland and Margaret, daughter of Henry VII of England. The
best known ballad of Dunbar is Dance of the Seven Deadly Sins.
 Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy (1621) and other “Cult of Melancholy” writers were writing books
on humeral physiology during this period.
 After fall of Constantinople in 1453, Renaissance in England started.
 During Renaissance period, poetry, drama, and sonnet were the important genre.
 Humanism & Reformation are the two important movements of 15th century.
 “The Castle of Perseverance” is the earliest morality play written in 15th century.

Percy Folio
 It is a manuscript in mid-17th century handwriting which belonged to Humphrey Pitt of Shifnal, the most
important source of our ballad literature and the basis of Francis Child’s (1825-1896) collection.
 It was the source of ballads included in Thomas Percy’s ‘Reliques’.
 It also contains the 14th century alliterative allegorical poem “Death and Life” (modeled on Piers the Plowman)
and Scottish Field.

Percy Society
 It was founded in 1840 by:
i) Thomas Crofton Croker
ii) Alexander Dyce
iii) James Halliwell Phillipps
iv) John Payne Collier
 The society was founded for the purpose of publishing old English lyrics and ballads.
 It was named in honour of Thomas Percy.


Thomas Malory
 Sir Thomas Malory was an English writer, the author or compiler of Le Morte d'Arthur (originally titled The
Whole Book of King Arthur and His Noble Knights of the Round Table).
 Since the late 19th century, he has generally been identified as Sir Thomas Malory of Newbold Revel in
 William Wycherly’s Plain Dealer is based on Le Morte d'Arthur.

Le Morte d'Arthur
 It is a compilation of traditional tales about the Legend King Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, and the Knights of
the Round Table.
World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 45
 First published in 1485 by William Caxton.
 Malory wrote about Arthur in 8 books but Caxton converted it into 21 books.
 The books are:
- Book 1 : "From the Marriage of King Uther unto King Arthur that Reigned after Him and did Many
- Book 2 : "The Noble Tale Between King Arthur and Lucius the Emperor of Rome"
- Book 3 : "The Noble Tale of Sir Launcelot du Lake"
- Book 4 : "The Tale of Sir Gareth of Orkney"
- Book 5 : "The Book of Sir Tristram de Lyones"
- Book 6 : "The Noble Tale of the Sangreal"
- Book 7 : "Sir Launcelot and Queen Guinevere"
- Book 8 : "The Death of Arthur".


William Caxton
 William Caxton was an English merchant, diplomat, and writer.
 He is thought to be the first person to introduce a printing press into England, in 1476, and as a printer was
the first English retailer of printed books.
 During 1471-1472 at Cologne, William Caxton learned the trade of printing.
 Caxton and Colard Mansion set up a printing press at Bruges.
 William Caxton printed a total of about 100 different works.
 He translated of about 24 books, all of them except one he printed.
 In 1438 he became an apprentice to a prominent London mercer Robert Large.
 In 1469 he entered the service of Margaret Duchess of Burgundy, the sister of King Edward IV.
 Margaret asked him to complete an English translation of Raoul Lefevre’s History of Troy. Thus the first
printed in English was Caxton’s translations of Lefevre called The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troy (from
French to English).
 Caxton printed Chaucer’s translation of Boethius in 1479.
 Malory Morte d’Arthur was issued from his press in 1485.
 Wynkyn de Worde became Caxton’s successor on his death in 1491.
 For Caxton, Chaucer was the Laureate Poet.
 The first English translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses was also the work of William Caxton.
 Caxton achieved the title of “Governor of the English Nation of Merchant Adventurers”.
 The name of Caxton printing press was “The Red Pale”.

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John Skelton
 He was the first Poet Laureate by the Universities of Oxford, Louvain, and Cambridge an academic
 He was a follower of Chaucer.
 He is also known as John Shelton.
 In Colyn Cloute Skelton attacked Wolsey in a general satire.
 ‘Speke, Parrot’ and ‘Why Come Ye nat to Courte?’ are his works.
 The Book of Phillip Sparrow is a 1400 lines poem inspired by Catullus.
 He became tutor of Prince Henry (later Henry VIII).
 He pioneered the verse form known as Skeltonic Verse, consisting of short lines grouped by end rhymes.
 His other famous works are:

 The Bowge of Court

The title refers to free board at the King’s table.
It is an allegorical poem in seven line stanza, satirizing court life (1480-1498; the court of Henry VII).
Printed by Wynkyn de Worde.
- The word “Bowge” is a corrupt form of “bouche” – means court relations from French.
 Wynkyn de Worde (1478-1535)
- Printed at Westminster and in London.
 A Garlande of Laurell
-It is an allegory about self-praise, describing the crowning of the author among the great poets of the
 Phyllyp Sparowe (The Book of Philip Sparrow)
- It is one of the most unusual elegies in English to a pet bird. It is almost comic in its grief.
- A lamentation put into the mouth of Jane Scrope, a young lady, whose sparrow has been killed by a cat
followed by a eulogy of her by Skelton and a defense of himself and the poem.
 Collyn Clout
- A complaint by a vagabond of the misdeeds of ecclesiastic which influenced Edmund Spenser.
 Speke, Parrot and Why Come Ye not to Courte?
- These are satires which attack on Cardinal Wolsey.
 Replycacion against certain yang scalers,
- dedicated to Wolsey
- Printed in 1528
- In it Skelton condemns the folly of Thomas Bilney and Thomas Arthur, two Cambridge scholars who
had abjured heresies.
 The Tunnying of Elynour Rummyng
- It is also a satirical poem which shows realism.
 Dirge on Edward IV
- It is a serious poem.
 Ballade of the Scottysshe Kynge
- It is a spirited celebration of the defeat of the seats at the battle of Flodden Field (1513).

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 Magnificence (published in 1519)
- It is a morality play.
- Magnificence, symbolizing a generous Prince is ruined by mistaken liberality and bad counselors,
but restored by good-hope, perseverance, and other similar figures.
- The play was edited by Paula Neuss (1980).


Desiderius Erasmus
(1466 – 1536)
 Erasmus was a great humanist.
 He has been called “The crowning glory of the Christian humanist.”
 He wrote - The Praise of Folly (1509)
 Narrator is Folly


Stephen Hawes
 Stephen Hawes was a popular English poet during the Tudor period who is now little known.
 His important works are:
i) Passetyme of Pleasure (1509)
- It was first published by Wynkyn de Worde.
ii) Example of Virtue
- An allegory of life spent in pursuit of purity was printed by Wynkyn de Worde in 1512.
iii) The Conversion of Swearness
iv) The Comfort of Lovers

Thomas More
 Sir Thomas More was venerated in the Catholic Church as Saint Thomas More.
 He was an English lawyer, social philosopher, author, statesman, and noted Renaissance humanist. He was
also a councillor to Henry VIII, and Lord High Chancellor of England from October 1529 to 16 May 1532.
 Thomas More wrote Utopia in 1516 in Latin which is an essay in two books. Utopia means– Nowhere land
(or an ideal land). Opposite of Utopia– Dystopia (not an ideal land).
 Utopia was translated into English by Ralph Robinson in 1551. Protagonist– Raphael Hythlodaeus.
 Utopia was influenced by travelogues such as that by Amerigo Vespucci.

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 More was a humanist and courtier & Lord Chancellor to King Henry VIII, and was beheaded in 1535 for
refusing to give up the authority of the Pope.


 It opens with historical event, a delegation to Bruges in 1515 in which Thomas More has taken part.
 Frist book describes the oppressive injustices of England.
 Second book contrasts England with Utopia described by the protagonist Raphael Hythlodaeus whom More
claims to have met at Antwerp.
 In Utopia there is a complete freedom of individual in social and religious spheres.
 In the islands of Utopia elected representatives were called Syphograntus and Traniborus, above whom is the
 No privacy or private ownership, goods are stored in warehouses, there are no lock and doors. Houses are
rotated between citizens every ten years.
 The favorite time pass of Utopia were music, conversations, and public lectures.


Alexander Barclay
 He was a poet, scholar, and preacher, possibly Scottish by birth.

Important Works

i) The Ship of Fools (1509)

He translated Brant’s ‘Narrenschiff’ into English verse as “The Ship of Fools”.
ii) Eclogues
Written in 1513-1514, it is interesting as the earliest English pastorals.
iii) Pastorals: A form of literature that celebrates in conventionally idealized terms, the innocent love and
musical pleasure of Shepherds.


William Tyndale
 He was the Captain of the Army of Reformers and was their spiritual leader.
 He holds the distinction of being the first to ever print the New Testament in English language.
 He was a true scholar and a genius, so fluent in eight languages that it was said one would think any one of
them to be his native tongue.
 He is frequently referred as “Architect of the English Language”, because he coined so many phrases that we
use today in our language.
World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 49
 He translated Bible into an early form of Modern English in 1526.
 He was the first person to make use of Gutenberg movable type of press.
 Tyndale translations were banned by the authorities and Tyndale himself was burned in 1536, at the
instigation of agents of Henry VIII and the Anglican Church.


Sir Thomas Wyatt

 He was a 16th century poet and English Ambassador in the reign of Henry VIII.
 He was born in Kent and his father Henry Wyatt was a counselor in the court of Henry VIII.
 He introduced Petrarchan Sonnet in English.
 None of the Wyatt’s poem was published during his lifetime.
 The first book Tottel’s Miscellany was published in 1557 i.e. 15 years after his death.
 In 1535 Wyatt was knighted and appointed High Sheriff of Kent and in 1541 was elected Knight of the Shire.
 In 1520 he married to Elizabeth Brooke.
 Tottel’s Miscellany was named after its printer Richard Tottel who included 97 poems attributed to Wyatt’s
among total 271 poems. Tottel’s Miscellany is also called Songs and Sonnets.
 He experimented stanza forms like rondeau, epigrams, terza rima, ottava rima, satires, monorime, quatrains,
and iambic tetrameter.
 C.S. Lewis called him the “father of the drab age”.
 In 1536 Wyatt was imprisoned in the tower of London for allegedly committing adultery with Anne Boleyn
the wife of Henry VIII.
 He started Wyatt Rebellion against the marriage of Mary I and Philip II.
 He was died of illness in 1542.
 The structure of Wyatt sonnet or Petrarchan sonnet is octave and sestet and a caesura in between.
 ‘They Flee from Me’ is a poem written by Thomas Wyatt referring Wyatt’s affair with high born woman of
court of Henry VIII (Anne Boleyn). Opening Line of the poem is:
“They flee from me, that sometime did me seek with naked foot stalking in my chamber.”


Earl of Surrey
 The real name of Surrey is Henry Howard. He was the disciple of Thomas Wyatt.
 He was a brave soldier who served in Henry VIII’s French war as Lieutenant General of the King on sea and
 He became Earl of Surrey in 1524 when his grandfather died and his father became Duke of Norfolk.
 In 1536 Surrey also served with his father against The Pilgrimage of Grace Rebellion protesting against the
dissolution of the Monasteries by King Henry VIII.

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 Surrey was the first English poet to publish in Blank Verse (unrhymed iambic pentameter) in his translation of
the second and fourth book of Virgil’s Aeneid.
 Together with Wyatt he translated Petrarchan sonnets and hence known as Fathers of English Sonnets.
 Rather Wyatt introduced sonnet into English, but it was Surrey who gave them the rhyming meter and the
division into quatrains that now characterizes the sonnet as Shakespearean sonnet or English sonnet or
Elizabethan sonnet.
 Henry VIII was suffering of Psychotic disorder (paranoia) and he realized that Surrey is planning to usurp the
crown from his son Edward VI. So he imprisoned Surrey and his father and sentenced to death.
 Surrey was beheaded on 13 January 1547 but his father survived.
 He was married to Frances de Vere.
 Surrey was portrayed by an actor David O’Hara in “The Tudors” a television series that ran from 2007-2010.
 Surrey’s sonnets were addressed to Geraladine.
 The structure of English sonnet which was founded by Surrey has three quatrains and a couplet having the
rhyme scheme abab cdcd efef gg. It is also called Shakespearean Sonnet.


Thomas Norton
Thomas Sackville
 They wrote the first tragedy in English literature “Gorboduc” also titled “Ferrex and Porrex”, in 1561.
 It was performed at the Christmas celebration given by the inner temple in 1561 and performed before
Queen Elizabeth I on 18 January 1562.
 It is written in 5 acts out of which first three acts are written by Thomas Norton and last two acts by Thomas
 It is a first verse drama in English to employ blank verse.
 The chief characters are:
- Gorboduc – King of Great Britain
- Videna – Queen and wife of Gorboduc
- Ferrex – Elder son of Gorboduc
- Porrex – Younger son
- Dordan – A counselor assigned by the King to his son Ferrex
- Philander – A counselor assigned by the King to his son Porrex


Roger Ascham
 He was an English scholar, didactic writer, and famous for his prose style.
 He acted as Princess Elizabeth’s tutor in Greek and Latin between 1548-1550.

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 He was the son of John Ascham who was steward to Baron Scrope of Bolton.
 In 1530 Ascham had an unspecified quarrel with the court which he ambiguously described as “a storm of
recent violence and injury”. In the same year he was appointed as secretary to Richard Morrison.

Important Works:

i) Toxophilus: This is first published work of Ascham that means “lover of the bow” in 1545 and it was
dedicated to Henry VIII.
 It was the first book on archery in English.
 The work is a platonic dialogue between Toxophilus and Philologus.
ii) The Schoolmaster: In 1563 Ascham began the work The Schoolmaster which was published
posthumously in 1570.
 The book concentrates on teaching of Latin and it was not intended for schools, but specially
intended for private bringing up of youth in gentleman and nobleman houses. The larger concern of
the book is psychology of learning, the education of the whole person and the ideal, moral, and
intellectual personality that education.


Beaumont and Fletcher

 Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher are usually thought of together because of their long collaboration.
 Beaumont was born in 1584 while Fletcher in 1579.
 Both the writers collaborated Shakespeare in King Henry VIII and The Two Noble Kinsmen.
 Shakespeare also collaborated Fletcher in writing “Cardenio”. Cardenio is regarded as Shakespeare work also.
 W.J. Long points that “Beaumont supplied the judgment and the solid work of the play while Fletcher
furnished the high colour sentiment and the lyric poetry”.
 Their masterpiece works are:
i) Faithful Shepherdess: A pastoral play full of charming passages and showing the lyrical talents of the poet.
ii) The Scornful Lady: An excellent domestic comedy.
iii) The Knight of the Burning Pestle: One of the most amusing and nimble paradise of the chivalrous
romance of Knight errantly, the craze for which was widespread in the London middle class at the time.
iv) The Maid’s Tragedy
v) A King and No King
 It is about King Charles I.
 It is a tragic comedy. The scene is led in a far of country.
 The play represents incestuous love and hovers on the brinks of tragedy. However the end is
happy for the lovers who are discovered to be no brother and sister and are happily married at
the end.

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Ben Jonson
 Benjamin Jonson was an English playwright and poet, whose artistry exerted a lasting impact upon English
poetry and stage comedy.
 He worked as a bricklayer like his stepfather.
 In 1616 Jonson received a yearly pension of 100 marks (about £60), leading some to identify him as England's
first Poet Laureate.
 He served as a soldier in Flanders Law countries.
 Became an actor and playwright with “Law Countries” in 1597.
 As an actor, Jonson was the protagonist “Hieronimo” (Geronimo) in the play The Spanish Tragedy ,
by Thomas Kyd, the first revenge tragedy in English literature.
 He was imprisoned for writing the satirical play “The Isle of Dogs” (1597).
 He killed a fellow actor Gabriel Spenser in duel, escaped the execution with his wit in 1602. In 1605 he was
imprisoned third time for his work with John Marston and George Chapman on Eastward Ho.
 He wrote masques for private performances in King James Court.
 ‘Epigram’ and ‘The Forest’ are the poetic collection by Ben.
 He quarreled bitterly with Inigo Jones, his stage designer and also quarreled with Marston and Dekker in
‘War of the Theatres’.
 Every Man in His Humour made him a celebrity.
 He was a literary dictator at the Mermaid Tavern.
 He was buried in Westminster Abbey with epitaph “O rare Ben Jonson”.
 The works of Jonson appeared in Folio format in 1616.
 Arnold on Ben Jonson
 Arnold wrote a poem on Jonson entitled “An Ode to Ben Jonson”. It starts with–
“Ah Ben! Say how or when shall we thy guests meet at those lyric feasts made at the Sun, the dog, the
triple tun?”
 Arnold also wrote a book The English Poets: Ben Jonson to Dryden.
 Alexander Pope said “Jonson brought critical learning into vogue”.
 By 1597, he was writing for Philip Henslowe’s theatrical company. In the same year Henslowe asked Ben to
finish Thomas Nashe’s The Isle of Dogs (now lost) and Jonson was jailed for it.
 Like Donne he revolted against the artistic conventions of the age.
 He employed the humanist ideal of close imitation of the classics.
 The third collection of poetry “Underwood” appeared posthumously in the 1640 edition of his ‘Workes’.
 Jonson in his Every Man out of His Humour (1599) described two kinds of humours– True Humour and
Adopted Humour.
 Dryden called the later plays of Jonson as “Dotages” as they were not well received.
 Dryden on Jonson: “If I would compare him with Shakespeare, I must acknowledge him the most correct
poet, but Shakespeare the greater wit. Shakespeare was the Homer, or father of our dramatic
poets; Jonson was the Virgil, the pattern of elaborate writing: I admire him, but I love Shakespeare.” – An
Essay of Dramatic Poesy.
 T.S. Elliot on Ben Jonson:
- “The Reputation of Jonson has been of the most deadly kind that can be compelled upon the
memory of a great poet.”
- “Jonson failed as a tragic dramatist.”

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- “Jonson is the legitimate heir of Marlow.”
- “Jonson’s work is ‘of the surface’ careful avoiding the word ‘superficial’”.
- “Jonson behaved as the great creative mind that he was; he created his own world, a world from
which his followers as well as the dramatists who were trying to do something wholly different are

Comedy of Humours

 It is a technique of characterization used by Ben Jonson. In this technique an individual is marked by one
characteristic distortions or eccentricity based on one of the 4 humors:
1. Blood or Sanguine (sociable and pleasure seeking)
2. Phlegm (relaxed and quiet)
3. Choler or Yellow Bile (ambitious and leader like)
4. Melancholy or Black Bite (introverted and thoughtful)

Important Works of Ben Jonson

1. Every Man in His Humour (1598)

2. Every Man out of His Humour (1599)
3. Cynthia Revels (1600)
4. The Poetaster (1601)
5. A Full of Vivacity and Fun
6. Volpone: The Fox (1605)
7. Epicene or The Silent Woman (1609)
8. The Alchemist (1610)
9. Bartholomew Fair
10. Less Powerful
11. The Devil is an Ass
12. The Staple of Knews
13. The Tale of a Tub
14. Catiline His Conspiracy – Tragedy
15. Sejanus His Fall – Tragedy
16. Eastward Ho (along with Marston and Chapman)
17. The Poetaster
18. Song to Celia
19. The Magnetic Lad

1. Every Man in His Humour (1598)

 It is his first play, played by Lord Chamberlin’s Men at Curtain Theatre.

 The prologue of the play attacks themes and conventions of contemporary drama and explains his
theory of humour.
 Shakespeare acted in it (He played the role of the character Edward Knowell).
 The character Bobadill is one of Jonson greatest creations, a boastful cowardly soldier.
 Charles Dickens acted the role of Captain Bobadill in Ben Jonson's Every Man in his Humour, in 1845.

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 In the prologue, the speaker announces that the play was written due to the popularity of the theatre.
 The opening scene finds Knowell, an old man, at his house. He tells Brainworm, his servant, to fetch his
son, Edward. The father is happy that Edward is a scholar, as he himself once was, but he does not
approve of his son’s taste for the “fruitless” arts.
 Master Stephen, an easily duped countryman, then arrives to visit relatives. Knowell gives him advice on
how to be a better man.
 Shortly thereafter, Stephen departs. A servant then gives Knowell a letter meant for Edward. When he
reads it, he realizes it is not for him and takes offense at the impolite, informal tone of the letter. He has
the letter given to his son and decides he will encourage him, but not force him, to try to be a good man.
 The next scene of Act I finds Edward receiving the letter and learning that his father has read it. Stephen
enters and asks about the man who delivered the letter, who is now long gone. Stephen and Edward,
who are cousins, talk and then go to the city to meet the man who sent the letter.
 Scene three introduces the characters Mathew and Cob at the latter’s house. Cob talks about respectable
ancestors and Mathew asks about locating a man named Captain Bobadill, whom Cob says is his guest.
Mathew does not believe this. Cob tells him the man slept on his bench the previous night. Cob ends the
scene with a monologue that tells of the drama in his house and of Bobadill owing him money.
 Scene four, the final scene of Act I, unfolds in Cob’s house, where Bobadill lies on the bench. Mathew
and Bobadill talk and Mathew agrees not to mention that Bobadill spent the night there. Mathew shares
a new play, which they discuss before leaving for a tavern.
 Act II opens in another part of the city. Kitely, a merchant, enters, along with his cashier, Cash, and
Kitley’s brother-in-law, Downright, who is a squire. Kitely tells the squire that Wellbred, his brother, has
been disrespectful. Wellbred is angered.
 Bobadill and Mathew look for, but do not find Wellbred. Next, in the moorfields of London,
Brainworm is disguised as a soldier. He wants to stop Knowell’s pursuit of his son.
 Stephen and Knowell enter. Stephen has lost a purse containing a ring from his mistress.
 In Act III Mathew, Bobadill, and Wellbred are in a tavern. While Mathew and Bobadill talk of disliking
Wellbred’s brother, Downright, Edward and Stephen arrive. Wellbred, it turns out, is the one who
wrote the letter to Edward.
 They go on to discuss Stephen and Bobadill’s military experiences. Cash and Kitely are engaged in a
shady exchange of money. Kitely sends Cash on another job and asks to be informed if Wellbred or
anyone else comes to his house. An upset Cob enters and Cash tells him it is his “humour” that is
making him feel distressed.
 The next scene is at Justice Clement’s house. Cob tells Kitely that some men have arrived at his house
and Kitely worries about his wife and sister giving in to their desires. Cob attempts to put his mind at
ease. Cob also wants revenge, as Bobadill has used his wife. Justice Clement and Roger his clerk arrive.
Cob asks the Justice to punish Bobadill, but the Justice orders Cob jailed for his character and previous
 The final act, takes place at the home of Justice Clement. Clement, Knowell, Kitely, Dame Kitely, Cash,
Cob, and some servants enter. They are trying to sift through the sequence of false messages they have
received. Bobadill and Mathew join the group and announce they have a warrant for Downright.
 Stephen, Downright, and Brainworm, who is in disguise, also arrive. Clement wants Brainworm jailed
for not serving warrants in the right way.
 Brainworm reveals himself and his deceitful actions are exposed. In attempting to bring closure to
everything, Justice Clement instructs every person to rid themselves of the emotions that are weighing
them down and they start to celebrate.

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Volpone: The Fox (1605)

Chief Characters
 Mosca (Fly/Parasite)
 Voltore (The Vulture) – a lawyer is ready to break to law
 Corbaccio (Raven) – disinherits his own son
 Corvino (Crow) – send his virtuous wife to Volpone’s bed
 Celia (wife of Corvino) – Volpone woos her by disguising as Mountebank

 Volpone, Italian for “Sly Fox”, is a comedy play by Ben Jonson, first produced in 1605- 1606. A satire about
greed and lust, it remains Jonson’s most performed play, and is considered one of the finest Jacobean era
 Volpone is a wealthy, childless con artist. The play begins with him worshipping his gold in a soliloquy. His
servant Mosca, or Parasite, periodically interrupts him with flattery. Volpone’s buffoons, Nano, Castrone, and
Androgyno, enter and perform a sarcastic skit about the transmigration of Pythagoras’ soul.
 Volpone pretends to be on his deathbed to attract legacy hunters. These “clients,” among them Corvino,
Corbaccio, Voltore, and Lady Would-be Politic, bring him presents, hoping to be included in his will.
 The first three bring gifts, and are each told they will be the sole heir to Volone’s fortune. This deception is
Mosca’s fault. At the door, the Lady Would-be is told to return later. Mosca speaks of Corvino’s beautiful
wife, and Volpone decides to see her for himself. They disguise themselves and head out.
 Sir Politic Would-be and Peregrine are in the public square outside Corvino’s house. They gossip about some
rumors about animals, which Sir Politic takes as bad omens for the state. Mosca and Nano appear, and set up
a stage.
 Volpone arrives disguised as a mountebank, and delivers a sales pitch for an elixir. He asks for a
handkerchief, and Celia, Corvino’s wife, throws one to him. Corvino is furious and disperses the crowd.
 Back at his house, Volpone lusts after Celia. He tells Mosca to use his fortune in whatever way necessary to
woo Celia. At Corvino’s house, Corvino scolds Celia for showing her favour to the mountebank. He threatens
her with a sword and abuse before Mosca knocks. Mosca says Volpone is in need of a female companion to
regain his health. Corvino decides to offer Celia, and tells her to prepare for a feast at Volpone’s house.
 Mosca soliloquies about the supposed superiority of natural-born parasites compared to learned ones.
Bonario, Corbaccio’s son, enters, and scorns Mosca. Mosca tells Bonario that Corbaccio plans to disinherit
Bonario, and offers to let Bonario hear it for himself.
 At the feast, the buffoons’ entertainment is interrupted by Lady Would-be, who arrives, chats non-stop to
Volpone, and brings him a cap. Mosca enters, hiding Bonario, and dispatches Lady Would-be. He tells her
he saw her husband Sir Politic on a gondola with another woman. He must quickly relocate Bonario when
Corvino and Celia arrive early.
 Celia and Volpone are alone together, and Volpone reveals that he is not actually sick. He offers her the
fortune, but she declines. He is about to force himself on her, but Bonario leaps out and rescues Celia. They
exit through the window. Mosca, injured by Bonario, tends to Volpone. Mosca convinces Corbaccio and
Voltore to go after Bonario.
 Sir Politic and Peregrine discuss the ways of a gentleman. Sir Politic has a scheme for quick riches, to sell the
Venetian state to the Turks. Lady Would-be enters, accusing Peregrine of being the woman who seduced her
husband. Mosca enters, and tells Lady Would-be her husband’s seducer is actually Celia. Peregrine vows
revenge on Sir Politic for this humiliation, despite the Lady’s apology.
 Mosca, Voltore, Corbaccio, and Corvino side against Bonario and Celia. Voltore argues that Bonario was
adulterous with Celia, and tried to kill his father. Lady Would-be testifies that Celia is a seductress. Bonario
and Celia have no witnesses, so they lose the case.
 Volpone complains that he is feeling pains that he had previously been faking. He has a glass of wine, and
Mosca enters to celebrate. He tells Volpone to cozen his clients, and Volpone writes his will with Mosca as the

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sole heir. He spreads word that he is dead. The clients enter and realize they have been duped; Mosca berates
them while Volpone hides. The two decide to disguise themselves and continue with the torment.
 Peregrine has revenge on Sir Politic in way of a practical joke. Sir Politic leaves Venice forever, after his
reputation is ruined.
 Volpone torments Corbaccio, Corvino, and Voltore in disguise. He tells them they have inherited a fortune.
Voltore goes back to court and admits he lied during the case. Volpone, disguised, and then tells him that
Volpone is still alive, so Voltore retracts his statement.
 Volpone discovers Mosca has locked him out of his own house. Mosca is summoned to court, and confirms
that Volpone is dead. Volpone pleads with him to say he is alive, but Mosca demands half of the fortune.
They cannot agree, so Volpone is taken away by officers. He quickly unmasks himself and brings Mosca down
with him.
 The court then hands punishments to everyone involved. Finally, Volpone speaks to the audience and asks
for applause.

Epicene or The Silent Women (1609)

 It takes place in London.

 Morose, an egoistic old bachelor with pathological aversion for noise will disinherit his nephew by marrying
silent women.
 Sir Dauphine Eugenie is Morose’s nephew.
 Cutbeard, his barber finds a soft spoken and a silent woman, Epicene.
 Epicene who after marriage becomes talkative and quarrelsome.
 The house is invaded by noisy well-wishers.
 Morose finally agrees of the proposal to get rid of Epicene and to restore his nephew’s inheritance.
 It is finally revealed that Epicene is a boy in disguise.
 Dryden in his Essay of Dramatic Poesy offers a modal analysis of this play.

The Alchemist

 The Alchemist, a comedy in five acts by Ben Jonson, was performed in 1610 and published in 1612.
 The play concerns the turmoil of deception that ensues when Lovewit leaves his London house in the care of
his scheming servant, Face.
 With the aid of a fraudulent alchemist named Subtle and his companion, Dol Common, Face sets about
dispensing spurious charms and services to a steady stream of dupes. These include the intemperate knight
Sir Epicure Mammon, the pretentious Puritans Ananias and Tribulation Wholesome, the ambitious
tobacconist Abel Drugger, the gamester law clerk Dapper, and the parvenu Kastril with his widowed sister,
 The shrewd gambler Surly nearly exposes the sham by posing as a Spanish don seeking the hand of Pliant,
but the gullible parties reject his accusations.
 When Lovewit reappears without warning, Subtle and Dol flee the scene, leaving Face to make peace by
arranging the marriage of his master to the beautiful and wealthy Dame Pliant.

Bartholomew Fair (1614)

 It is one of his most adventurous and original plays.

 A fair is held annually on St. Bartholomew’s day on 24th Aug.
 Major Characters:
 Adam Overdo: a justice
 Bartholomew Cokes: the country squire

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 Grace Wellborn: Cokes’ suitor
 Wasp: Cokes’ servant who has biting tongue
 Puritan Busy: he is the hypocritical person whose mind is more fixed on food than faith

Sejanus His Fall (1603)

 A Roman tragedy performed by the King’s man at the Globe with Shakespeare and Richard Burbage in
the cast.

Catiline His Conspiracy

 It is based on events in the history of the Roman republic.

 The Masque of Blackness (1605)
 The Masque of Beauty (1606)

 The Masque of the Queens

“Drink to me only with thine eyes.”
– opening line of Song to Celia (1616)

Sons of Ben or Tribe of Ben

 It is a term applied to the followers of Ben Jonson. They followed Jonson’s philosophy and style of Poetry.
These men, unlike Jonson, were loyal to the King.
 Joe Lee Davis listed 11 playwrights in this group, they are: Richard Brome, Willian Cartwright, Thomas
Nabbes, Henry Glapthorne, Thomas Killigrew, Sir William Davenant, Shackerly Marmion, Jasper Mayne,
Peter Hausted, Thomas Randolph, and William Cavendish.
 The term “Tribe of Ben” was employed as self-description by some of the cavalier poets who admired him
and got influenced by Jonson’s poetry including: Robert Herrick, Richard Lovelace, Sir John Suckling and
Thomas Carew.

War of Theatres

 Thomas Dekker attacked Jonson in “Satiromastix” and later in “What You Will”.
 Jonson in turn attacked Marston in Every Man out of His Humour and later in The Poetaster.
 In ‘Cynthia’s Revels’, Jonson attacked both Marston and Dekker.
 Later Jonson and Marston made up and collaborated with Chapman on the play Eastward Ho.

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University Wits
 “University Wit” it is a phrase used to name a group of late 16th century English playwrights and pamphleteers
who were educated at the universities (Oxford or Cambridge) and who became popular writers.
 The term ‘University Wits’ was coined by ‘George Saintsbury’ a 19th century journalist and author.
 Christopher Marlow, Robert Greene and Thomas Nashe graduated from Cambridge University while
Thomas Lodge and George Peele graduated from Oxford University.
 The group includes
 John Lyly
 George Peele
 Robert Greene
 Thomas Kyd – (Though he is not believed to study in any of the university but his
style matched with the authors of the University wits)
 Thomas Lodge
 Christopher Marlow
 Thomas Nashe

Characteristics of University Wits

i) There was a fondness of heroic themes such a live of great figures like Mohammed and Tamburlaine.
ii) Heroic themes needed heroic treatment.
iii) The style was also heroic. The best medium of expression was Blank Verse.
iv) The themes were usually tragic in nature, for the dramatists were as a rule too much in earnest to give
heed to what was considered to be the lower species of comedy.
v) They lacked humour in drama, and at all, if some humour was brought, it was immature course.
vi) While Marlow is the most famous dramatist among them, Robert Greene and Thomas Nashe were
better known for their controversial and argumentive pamphlets, creating an early form of journalism.
vii) Green has been called “First notorious professional writer”.
viii) In the pamphlet ‘Groats- Worth of Wit’ by Green, there was an apparent attack on Shakespeare as an
“Upstart Crow.
ix) All of them wrote in pre-Shakespearean style that separated them from the writers of the previous drab


John Lyly
(1553 – 1606)
 He was an English writer, poet, dramatist, playwright best known for his books Eupheus: The Anatomy of
Wit (1578) and Eupheus and his England (Sequel of Eupheus; 1580)
 He was born in Kent, England.
 His father was the Registrar for the archbishop Mathew Parker.
 He was a student at Magdalen College, Oxford where he earned his bachelor’s degree. He started writing
Comedies after 1580.

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 Lyly’s plays were acted before Queen Elizabeth by the ‘Children of the Chapel’ and by ‘Children of Paul’
at the Blackfriars theatre. In 1583, he gained control of the first Blackfriars’ theatre.
 In 1632, Blount published six court comedies, the first printed collection of Lyly’s play which included the
following plays and presented by the Children‘s of Paul:
1. Endymion (1591)
2. Compaspe (1584)
3. Sopho and Paho (1584)
4. Gallathea (1592)
5. Midas (1592) and
6. Mother Bombie (1594)
 Love’s Metamorphosis was left out among the six comedies.
 Lyly made a deep influence on Shakespeare. Love’s metamorphosis has deep influence on Shakespeare’s
Love’s Labour lost.
 Gallathea of Lyly has influence on Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.
 The proverb “All is fair in Love and War” has been attributed to “Eupheus”.
 Francis Meres places him among “The best for comedy.”
 Ben Jonson named Lyly among these foremost rivals who were ‘Outshone and Out sung’ by Shakespeare.
 The Maid's Metamorphosis is a late Elizabethan stage play, a pastoral first published in 1600. The play, "a
comedy of considerable merit,” was published anonymously, and its authorship has been a long-standing
point of dispute among scholars although attributed to Lyly.

Major Works of Lyly

1. Eupheus – The Anatomy of Wit (1578)
 Eupheus is a Greek word that means – ‘Graceful and witty’ or Well-bred man. Lyly adopted this name
from Roger Ascham’s The School Master.
 The style of this novel gave rise to the term Euphuism.
 The play is about a young gentleman Eupheus, of Athens.

 It is a peculiar mannered style of English prose. It consists of a preciously ornate and sophisticated
style, employing a deliberate excess of literary devices such as antitheses, alliterations, repetitions
and rhetorical questions.
 Classical learning and remote knowledge of all kinds are displayed.

2. Eupheus and His England (1580)

 It is a sequel to Eupheus: The Anatomy of Wit.
 It contained the voyage and adventures of Eupheus.

3. Sapho and Paho (1584)

 It is a comedy by Lyly.
 It is performed at Blackfriar theatre. It is set in ‘Syracuse’
 It is about the romance of Sapho and Paho, which was written on the influence of Ovid’s Aelian.
 Sapho is the queen while Paho is a young ferryman.

4. Endymion: The Man in the Moon (1591)

 It is a play by Lyly. Endymion is in love with Goddess of Moon, Cynthia. They never got married
because Cynthia was a Goddess.
 The play provides a vivid example of the cult of flattery in the royal court of Elizabeth.

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 It has been called, “without doubt, the boldest in conception and the most beautiful in execution of all
Lyly’s plays”.
 Endymion is finally awakened of a kiss by Cynthia.
Note: Endymion is also written by Keats.

 It starts with “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”

 Endymion was a handsome, young shepherd prince loved by the moon goddess Selene.

5. The Women in the Moon (1595)

 It is the only play written in blank verse by Lyly.

 ‘Pandora’ the first women on the earth is the protagonist of the play.
 The play has seven planets as characters.
 The play is set before the earth was created.
 The play is a satire on women.
 The seven planets are unhappy because their best qualities have been given to Pandora.
 They all decide to despise nature; and Saturn, the eldest goes first to demonstrate his power and afflict
Pandora with his characteristic melancholy.
 In the same way Jupiter in act II, Sol, the Sun in act III, Mercury in act IV, Luna in act V, all
demonstrate their power.
 In act V, under the influence of Luna, Pandora goes mad.
 At the end of the play, Nature chooses to punish Stesias, husband of Pandora because he is easily
swayed by the opinion of others.
 Stesias is condemned to “be ... her slave, and follows her in the moon.”

6. Compaspe (1584)
 Lyly depended on the ‘Natural History’ of Pliny the elder for the tale of Alexander the Great and
 Compaspe’s portrait is painted by – ‘Apelles.’
 Compaspe was Lyly’s first venture at writing for the stage.
 Thomas Nashe quotes from Compaspe in his play “Summers Last Will and Testament” (1592).
 Alexander falls in love with the beautiful Theban captive Compaspe.

7. Gallathea (1592)
 Modern commentators have praised this play as “Harmonious Variety’ and “Allegorical dramaturgy.”

8. Midas (1592)
 This allegorical play is based on Book XI of Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

9. Mother Bombie (1594)

 It is vulgar realistic play of rustic life.
 Mother Bombie is a folklore figure in the traditional ballad literature.
 Lyly did not invent her though he clearly added to her fame she is mentioned by other writers as –
Thomas Haywood in ‘The Wise Women of Hogasdon’ (1604) and in The Witch of Edmonton
(1621) by Dekker, John Ford & William Rowley.
 In this play, the title character Mother Bombie specifically denies that she is a witch and calls herself a
“cunning women.”

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Christopher Marlow
 Marlow was born in Canterbury only a few months before Shakespeare. He is considered as
Shakespeare’s master in tragedy.
 He was the son of a poor shoemaker John Marlow.
 He studied at Cambridge.
 In 1587, at the age of 23, he produced Tamburlaine.
 He wrote only tragedies during five years of his writing career (1587 -1593).
 A warrant was issued for Marlow’s arrest on 18th May 1593, and no reason was given for it. He was stabbed
to death by Ingram Frizer in 1593.
 Marlow’s first play was performed on the regular stage in London in 1587, was Tamburlaine the Great,
about the conqueror.
 Tamburlaine who rises from Shepherd to War-lord.
 Tamburlaine was a great success and it was followed by Tamburlaine part II.
 The two parts of Tamburlaine were published in 1590.
 All Marlow’s other works were published posthumously.
 Ben Jonson coined the phrase ‘Marlow’s Mighty Lines’, that means Marlowe's blank verse with its new
vigour, force and fire to suit his heroic themes.
 All Marlow’s tragedies are “one man tragedy’
 ‘Tamburlaine Must Die’ (2004) by Loise Welsh is a novella that recounts the last few days of Marlow.
 In the play “As You Like It” Shakespeare paid tribute to Marlow by saying him “Dead shepherd.”
 George Peele remembered Marlow as “Marley, the Muses darling.”
 He introduced an important element – “Internal struggle” into English.
 Thomas Nashe called Marlow – “Poor deceased Kit Marlowe.”
 A. C. Swinburne in his “Contemporaries of Shakespeare” stated that Marlow, Green and Peele are three
gifted men who have been thus bracketed by such critics as in three hundred years.

Works of Marlow
Tamburlaine the Great (1587)
 It is a play in two parts based on the life of Central Asian emperor, Timur.
 The play was entered into the Stationer’s Register in 1590. Both parts were published together in a single
black letter Octavo in 1590 by printer Richard Jones.
Plot (Part I)

 The play opens in “Persepolis”.

 The Persian emperor Mycetes, dispatches the troops to dispose of Tamburlaine, a Scythian shepherd and
a nomadic bandit at that time.
 In the next scene in Scythia, where Tamburlaine is wooing, capturing and winning Zenocrate, the daughter
of Egyptian king.
 He confronts the Mycetes’ soldiers, first he persuades the soldiers but later he joins hand with Cosroe to
fight against them and promise him that after victory Cosroe will get Persian empire. Cosroe was the
brother of emperor. After defeating the Mycetes Tamburlaine breaks his promise and takes the personal
control of the Persian Empire.
 Now Tamburlaine becomes a powerful figure and turns his attention to Bajazeth, emperor of the Turks.
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 He defeats Bajazeth and keeps the defeated king in a cage and feeds him scraps from his table and
releasing Bajazeth only to use him as a footstool.
 Bajazeth later kills himself after listening that Tamburlaine has conquered Africa too.
 Tamburlaine named himself emperor of African continent and next sets his eye on Damascus, the
Egyptian Sultan, and his father in law.
 Zenocrate pleads her husband to spare her father and thus he made the Sultan a tributary king.
 The play ends with the marriage of Tamburlaine and Zenocrate, who was made empress of Persia.
Part II
 Tamburlaine grooms his sons to be conquerors in his wake and continued to attack his neighbouring
 His oldest son Calyphas preferring to stay by his mother side, not risking his death, incurs Tamburlaine
 Meanwhile, the son of Bajazeth, Callapine escapes from Tamburlaine jail and gathered a group of
tributary kings to his side, planning to avenge his father’s death.
 Tamburlaine defeats Callapine and kills him and asked the defeated kings to pull his chariot to his next
 Upon reaching Babylon, Tamburlaine hangs the city governor to the city wall and shot him dead.
 He ordered the inhabitants of Babylon to be thrown into a nearby lake.
 He burns the Qur’an and claimed to be the greater than god.
 He bids his son to conquer the remainder of the earth when he dies.

The Jew of Malta (1589 -90)

 The play opens with a prologue narrated by Machevill, a caricature of the author Machiavelli. Machevill
explains that he is presenting the ‘Tragedy of a Jew’ who has become rich by following Machiavelli’s
 Barabas, a Christian hating merchant of Malta receives in his country house a party of merchants who
report the arrival of several vessels laden with wealth from the East. At the same time three Jews arrived to
announce for an important meeting at the senate with Governor Ferneze.
 The point of the meeting was that, the Turkish master of Malta demanded the overdue payment which
Turkish Seignior purposely lets the payment lapse over a period of years, so that the Maltese will have
choice of either payment or surrender.
 The Christian governor of the island, attempting to collect the tribute (Overdue payment) in a month. He
gave a judicial decision that the Jews will have to give over half of their estates or become Christian.
 All the Jewish community except Barabas agreed to the decree of the Governor and seizes all Barabas’s
wealth as punishment and Jews’ house were turned into Christian convent.
 Barabas vows to take revenge from the governor.
 Barabas, to avoid complete ruin, purposely not reported the part of his treasure hidden in the foundation
of his house.
 He persuaded his daughter Abigail, to pretend that she has converted to Christianity so that she might
enter the convent to recover the treasure.
 Abigail does her work dutifully and throws the money bag out of the window to her waiting father.
 Martin De Bosco, vice admiral of Spain sells one of his slaves to Barabas. The slave is an Arabian named
 He asks his daughter Abigail to show favour to the invited two young men to his house, one is Don
Lodowick, the governor’s son and Don Mathias. Barabas wanted Abigail to be betrothed to Lodowick.
 Lodowick had heard about Abigail’s beauty from his friend Mathais, so he was duped by Barabas thinking
Abigail will marry him.
 At the end of second act these two young men vow revenge on each other in order to woo Abigail.

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 Barabas send a forged letter to Mathais through Ithamore, supposedly from Lodowick, challenging him
for a dual.
 In act III, Bellamira and her pimp Pillia Borza both the prostitutes plan to steal some of Barabas’ gold.
 Ithamore fell in love with Bellamira.
 Lodowick and Mathais killed each other in the dual.
 Ferneze the governor and his wife Katherine vows revenge to Barabas.
 Ithamore tells Abigail about her father’s role in the young man’s death.
 Abigail was enraged from his father’s acts; she entered into the convent to become a nun with the help of a
Dominician friar Jacomo.
 Barabas kills all the nuns of the convent by poisoning them in the rice, as he was enraged by the act of her
 Ferneze meets Turks and explains that he will not pay the required tribute. The Turks leave warning that
Calymath, their leader will attack the island.
 Jacomo and another Friar Bernardine are despaired about death of all nuns. Abigail who is also close to
death tells the Friars about her father’s role in Mathias’s and Lodowick’s death.
 Barabas and Ithamore were delighted at the Nun’s death. He is confronted by Jacomo and Bernardine
and realized that Abigail has confessed his crimes to these Friars.
 In order to distract the Friars, Barabas pretends to convert to Christianity. Jacomo and Bernardine fights
to get the Jew in their own religious houses.
 Barabas tricks Bernardine to come to his home. Ithamore strangles (killed by choking throat) Bernardine
and Barabas framed Jacomo for the crime.
 Ithamore confesses his master’s crime to Bellamira and she decides to report this matter to the Governor.
Barabas is maddened by Ithamore’s treachery. He disguised as a French Lute Player and poisoned all
three conspirators by using a poisoned flower (Bellamira, Pillia Borza & Ithamore).
 In the final act when Ferneze came to know about Barabas’ crime. Barabas fakes his own death and
escapes to find Calymath.
 Malta is captured by the Turkish forces and Barabas is made governor. Calymath prepares to leave.
 Fearing his own life, Barabas tells Ferneze that he will free Malta from Turkish rule and kill Calymath in
exchange for a large amount of money.
 Ferneze agrees and Barabas invites Calymath to a feast at his home. When Calymath arrives, Ferneze
prevents Barabas from killing him.
 Barabas dies in a Cauldron that he had prepared for killing Calymath.
 Ferneze told Calymath that he will be a prisoner in Malta until the Ottoman emperor agrees to free the
 Note: This play has been considered to have a major influence on Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of
 Important Quote: “I count religion but a childish toy and hold there is no sin but ignorance” - by

Doctor Faustus (1592)

 Doctor Faustus is Dr. Johann Georg Faust (a German alchemist, astrologer and magician) in real life.
 Full title of the play is “The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus.”
 Its first performance was in 1592, but was published in 1609. It is written in 5 acts.
 Doctor Faustus is a talented German Scholar who was born of ordinary parents in Rhodes, Germany.
 In the prologue, the chorus introduces the story of Doctor Faustus.
 Doctor Faustus is compared to a Greek mythological character named Icarus in the prologue. Wagner is
the servant of Dr. Faustus.
 Before he turns to magic, he was considered to study logic, medicine, law and religion (Theology).
 He learned everything he could learn, all of these things left him unsatisfied, so now he turns to magic.

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 A good and a bad angel arrive, representing Faustus’s choice between Christian conscience and a path to
damnation respectively. While the former advises him to leave off the pursuit of magic, the later tempts
him for this.
 From two fellow Scholars Valdes and Cornelius, Faustus learns the fundamental of the black arts.
 Faustus summons Mephistopheles and ask him to appear in the shape of Franciscan Friar.
 Faustus sells his soul, in exchange for 24 years of power with Mephistopheles as servant to his every whim.
 Faustus signs the deal writing with his own blood. The word “homo fuge” (fly man) appears on his arm
and Faustus is seized by his fear.
 The good angel tells him to repent while the evil angel tells him to stick to his wicked ways.
 Lucifer, the ruler of hell promises Dr. Faustus to show him hell.
 Mephistopheles replies all questions of Dr. Faustus, except who made the world because he says that the
answer to this question is against our kingdom.
 Faustus explored the heavens and the earth from a chariot drawn by dragons, and is now flying to Rome,
where the feast honouring St. Peter is about to be celebrated.
 At Rome he makes himself invisible and plays a series of tricks. He disrupts the Pope’s banquet by
stealing food and boxing Pope’s ears.
 After this he travels through the courts of Europe with his fame spreading everywhere.
 He is called upon by German Emperor Charles V, who asks Faustus to allow him to see Alexander the
Great. Faustus impressed him by conjuring Alexander’s image. Here Faustus also humiliates a knight
name Benvolio. When Benvolio and his friend try to avenge the humiliation, Faustus asked his devils to
hunt them and transform them so that the horns grow on their head.
 Faustus then plays tricks on a horse – Courser. Faustus sold his own horse to him and asked not to take it
to water but when horse – curser take it into the water to know the truth. It turns into a heap of straw.
 Faustus is then invited to the court of Duke of Vanholt, where he performs various feats. There Faustus
met all his earlier victims but sent them on their way.
 When 24 years of deal came close, Faustus asked Mephistopheles to call Helen of Troy, the famous
beauty of the ancient world.
 An old man urges Faustus to repent but he drives him away.
 On the final night before the expiration of the deal Faustus is overcome by fear and remorse, and at
midnight a host of devils appear and carries his soul off to hell.
Note – Necromancy means “The study of dead souls”
 A 20th century theatre director Jerzy Grotowski produced Doctor Faustus for his theatre laboratory in
Opole, Poland in 1963. The plot was reduced to single scene in which Faustus on his deathbed is arguing
with his students. He also presented double Mephistopheles replacing good and evil angel.

Important Quotes from Doctor Faustus

 “The reward of sin is death that is hard---if we say that we have no sin.”
 “Was this the face that launched the thousand ships”.
 “Come Helen come, make me immortal with a kiss”.

Hero and Leander (1593)

 It is an epic poem by Marlow.
 Hero and Leander is the Greek myth relating the story of Hero, a priestess of Aphrodite and Leander, a
young man from Abydos.
 Leander fell in love with Hero and would swim every night across Hellespont to be with her. Hero would
light a lamp at the top of her tower to guide his way.

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 Hero allowed Leander to love her, but one stormy winter night the waves tossed Leander in the sea and
the breezes blew out Hero’s light; Leander lost his way and was drowned.
 Hero saw his dead body and threw herself over the edge of the tower to her death, to be with him.
 The poem remained unfinished but later completed by George Chapman in 1598.
 There is a depiction of ‘homosexual affection’ between Leander and Neptune in the poem.
 Shakespeare’s ‘Venus and Adonis’ is based on Marlow’s Hero and Leander.

Edward II (1594)
 Full title – “The Trouble some Reign and Lamentable death of Edward the Second, King of England, with
the Tragical fall of Proud Mortimer.”
 There is a depiction of “Homosexual affection” between Edward II and Gavestone in this play. Frederic
Boas elaborates the homosexual relation of Edward and Gavestone.
 Marlow found the material of this play from Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles (1587).
 The play was published in 1594 after the death of Marlow.
 The play starts with the recall of Edward II’s favourite Piers Gavestone from exile and ends with the
execution of Mortimer Junior by Edward III for Edward II’s murder.
 When Edward II gains the throne he recalls Gavestone from exile. Gavestone plans to delight the king by
entertaining him as –
“Music and poetry is his delight
Therefore I’ll have Italian masques by night…”
 Upon Gavestone’s re-entry into the country, Edward gives him titles, access to the royal treasury and
guards to protect him.
 Gavestone pleases king by Italian masques, music and poetry but got very less favour from king’s nobles.
Edward is forced to agree about reasons of Gavestone’s exile and he banished Gavestone to Ireland.
 Isabella of France, the Queen hopes for the favour of Gavestone, persuades Mortimer (who later becomes
lover of the Queen) to argue Gavestone’s recall, so that he can be easily killed.
 The nobles Warwick and Lancester execute Gavestone and eventually Edward in turn executes them.
 Edward seeks comfort with Spencer and his father.
 Isabella takes Mortimer as her lover and travel to France in search of allies. She didn’t get any help from
France but Sir John of Hainault helps her.
 Spenser and his father are executed and King Edward is taken to Kenilworth.
 Edmund, Earl of Kent is arrested and executed by Mortimer for approaching the imprisoned Edward II.
 Edmund was the brother of Edward II and Mortimer executed him saying that he is the threat to the
 King Edward II as a prisoner is taken to Berkeley Castle where he meets the luxuriously cruel Lightborn
whose name is an anglicised version of ‘Lucifer’.
 Lightborn kills Edward II. Maltravers and Gurney witnesses this and Gurney killed Lightborn to keep him
 Edward III discovered the plot of Mortimer and his mother Isabella. Edward III orders Mortimer’s death
but Isabella pleads her son for Mortimer’s life. But he refused.
 The play ends with Mortimer’s death, Isabella’s imprisonment and Edward III taking the throne.
 Note: Shakespeare’s Richard II & III are based on Edward II of Marlow.

Dido, Queen of Carthage (1593)

 It is a short play by Marlow with possible contribution of Thomas Nashe. The source is Virgil’s Aeneid
book 1, 2 and 4.
 There is a depiction of homosexual affection by Fredric Boas in this play between Ganymede and Jove.
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 Jupiter is in love with Ganymede who says that Jupiter’s wife Juno is mistreating him because of her
 Venus enters and complains that Jupiter is neglecting his son Aeneas, who has left Troy with survivors of
the defeated city.
 Aeneas is on his way to Italy but lost his way in a storm. Jupiter tells Venus about not to worry; he will
quite the storm.
 Venus travels to Libya disguising herself as a mortal and meets Aeneas. He recognises her but she denies
her identity. She helped him to meet with Illioneus, Sergestus and Cloanthes, the other Trojans who have
already received generous hospitality from Dido, Queen of Carthage.
 Dido meets Aeneas and promises to supply ships. She asked him to give her the true story of the fall of
Troy. Aeneas dictates the same describing the death of Priam, loss of his own wife and his escape with his
son Ascanius with other survivors.
 Dido’s suitor Irabas presses her to marry him but Venus has some other plan. She disguised Cupid as
Aeneas’s son Ascanius, so that he can get close to Dido and touch her with his arrow. Cupid does so and
Dido immediately falls in love with Aeneas rejecting Irabas.
 Dido’s sister Anna who is in love with Irabas, encourages Dido to pursue Aeneas.
 Dido and Aeneas meet in a cave where she declared her love. They go to the cave to make love. Irabas
swears for revenge.
 Venus and Juno appear arguing over Aeneas. Venus believes that Juno wants to harm her son but Juno
denies it saying she has important plans for him.
 Aeneas and his followers plan to depart Lybia but Anna brings them back. Dido did not want them to
leave so as a precaution she removes all the sails and tackles from his ship. She also places Ascanius in the
custody of the nurse believing Aeneas will not leave without him, but it was Cupid who was disguised as
 Dido says that Aeneas will be King of Carthage and anyone who objects will be executed. Aeneas agrees
and plans to build a new city to rival Troy and strike back at Greeks.
 Mercury appears with seal Ascanius and informs Aeneas that his destiny is in Italy and he must leave Lybia
on the order of Jupiter. Aeneas accepts the divine command.
 Irabas is happy to this news and supply Aeneas with the missing tackle.
 Aeneas tells Dido that he must leave but she pleads with him to ignore Jupiter’s command, but he refuses
to do so. He departs leaving Dido in despair.
 The Nurse says that Ascanius has disappeared and Dido orders her to be imprisoned. Dido tells Irabas
and Anna to make a funeral pyre on which she will burn everything that reminds her of Aeneas.
 After cursing Aeneas properly, Dido throws herself into the fire. Irabas is horrified and kills himself. Anna
on seeing Irabas dead kills herself.

Other Minor Works of Marlow

 The First Book of Lucan
 Ovid’s Amores
 The Massacre at Paris / The Tragedy of the Guise. (unfinished) –(1593)
 The Passionate Shepherd to his Love’ (poem)
 Famous line – “Come live with me and be my love”
 Translation of Lucan’s “Pharsalia” from Latin

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Robert Greene
(1558 – 1592)
 He was one of the university wits. He was very famous for his pamphlets as
- Greenes (1592)
- Groats – Worth of Wit (1952)
- Bought with a Million of Repentance (1952)
 All these pamphlets were believed to be an attack on Shakespeare.
 He did his B.A from Cambridge and M.A from Oxford University.
 He published many genres as plays, romances and autobiographies etc.
 Green’s literary career began with the publication of Mamillia: A Mirror or Looking-glass for the Ladies of
England (1583), dedicated to Lord Darcy of the North.
 Green’s Romances were written in a highly wrought style which reached its highest level in Pandosto
(1588) and Menaphon (1589). Menaphon is dedicated to Lady Hales, wife of the late deceased Sir James
 One song from Menaphon, “weep not my wanton, smile upon my knee” (A mother’s lullaby to her baby
son) enjoyed immense success and now probably his best known work.
 In addition to his prose works, he also wrote several plays but none of them were published in his lifetime.
It includes
- The Scottish History of James IV
- Alphonsus
- Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay
- Orlando Furioso, based on Aristo’s Orlando Furioso
 On attacking Shakespeare he used a term “Shake – scene” to refer the actor.
 Green attacked Shakespeare as an “Upstart Crow” because at his end time Shakespeare had been an
upstart actor contributing on Henry VI and King John. “An upstart crow beautified with our feathers” is a
title quote from Groats-Worth of Wit.
 Greene wrote “A looking Glass for London and England” in collaboration with Thomas Lodge.
 The Comical History of Alphonsus, King of Aragon was also written by Greene in 1590.
 Greene is most familiar to Shakespeare for his pamphlet “Groats Worth of Wit” which alludes to a line
“O tigers heart wrapped in a women’s hide” found in Shakespeare’s Henry VI, part III (1623)

Verse by Greene
1. A Maiden’s Dream (1591): It is dedicated to Lady Elizabeth Hatton, wife to Sir William Hatton

Plays by Greene
1. Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay (1590): Originally entitled “The Honorable History of Friar Bacon and
Friar Bungay, a comedy”
Sequel: - “John of Bordeaux or The Second Part of Friar Bacon”.
2. The History of Orlando Furioso (1590)
3. A Looking Glass for London and England (with Thomas Lodge ; 1590)

It recounts the Biblical story of Jonah and the fall of Nineveh, it is a noteworthy example of
morality play.
4. The Scottish History of James the Fourth (1590)
5. The Comical History of Alphonsus, King of Aragon (1590)

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6. Groats – Worth of Witte: It was printed for Wright by John Danter and John Wolfe.
 Groats-Worth was reprinted by Thomas Greene in 1596.
 Thomas Nashe denied it in 1594, in the edition of his book Pierce Penniliv, calling his work a
“Scald Trivial Lying Pamphlet.”

Other Works of Greene

1. Mamillia: A Mirror or Looking Glass for the Ladies of England: is dedicated to Lord Darcy of the North
2. Mamillia: The Second Part of The Triumph of Pallas (1593); It is dedicated to Robert Lee and Roger
3. Farewell to Folly: It is dedicated to Robert Carey.
4. Pandosto: It is dedicated to George Clifford. (1588)
5. The Anatomy of Lover’s Flatteries (1584): It is dedicated to Mary Rogers, wife to Master Hugh Rogers of
6. Arbasto: The Anatomy of Fortune (1584): Dedicated to Mary Talbot.
7. Euphues: His Censure to Philautus (1587): Dedicated to Robert Devereux.
8. Alcida: Green’s Metamorphosis (1617): Dedicated to Sir Charles Blount.


George Peele
(1556 -1596)
 George Peele was an English translator, poet and dramatist
 He is most famous for his collaborative writing with Shakespeare on the play Titus Andronicus.
 Peele died of the ‘pox.’

Plays of George Peele

(i) The Arraignment of Paris (1584)
 It was presented by the Children of the Chapel Royal before Queen Elizabeth, in 1581, and
printed anonymously in 1584.
 In the play Paris is arraigned before Jupiter for having assigned the apple to Venus.
 Diana, with whom the final decision rests, gives the apple to none of the competitors but to a
nymph called Eliza, a reference to Queen Elizabeth.
(ii) Edward I (1593) (Famous Chronicle of King Edward the first)
 This chronicle history written in 1593 is an advance on the old chronicle plays and marks a step
towards the Shakespeare’s historical drama.
(iii) The Battle of Alcazar (1589, Pub – 1594)
 The primarily historical source for the play John Polemom’s The Second Part of the Book of
Battles, Fought in Our Age (1587)
 Massinger believes that You List (1631) was originally about Sebastian.
 John Dryden wrote Don Sebestian (1689) on the same subject.

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(iv) The Old Wives Tale (1595; Play);
 The Old Wives Tale is a novel also by Arnold Bennett published in 1908.
 It was his masterpiece satire on the popular drama of the day. He has used the theatrical device of
“play within a play.”
 It is criticized as “Confusing fumble of theatrical nonsense”.
 Others have called it a “Fantastical comic romance.”
 The play has been identified as the first English work to satirize the romantic dramas popular at
the time.
 The plot centres around three young men who become lost in the woods, but are given shelter for
the night by Clunch, a blacksmith, and his wife Madge (the eponymous 'old wife').
 During their stay, one retires to bed with Clunch, while the other two are entertained by their
hostess, who tells them a fairy-tale, which, to her surprise, comes to life: her characters appearing
and telling it for her (the 'play-within-the play').
 One strand of the plot involves two brothers who are on an adventure searching for their sister,
Delia, who is being held captive by the magician Sacrapant (compare Milton's Comus). The
magician also captures the brothers.
 Eventually they are all rescued by a knight aided by a ghost who is motivated by gratitude for past
acts of kindness by the knight.
(v) The Love of King David and Fair Bethsabe (1588, Pub. 1599); It is a biblical tragedy
(vi) Sir Clyomon and Sir Clamydes (1599): It is a tragic comedy,
 This work “best represents the characteristic of Pre-Greenian Dramatic Romance.”
 It opens in ‘Denmark’ rhymed Heptameter verse.
 It influences several plays of Shakespeare as: As You Like It, A Midsummer Night’s Dream,
Cymbeline, Henry IV Part -2.


Thomas Lodge
(1558 – 1625)
 He was a son of Sir Thomas Lodge, Lord Mayer of London.
 He was educated at Merchant Taylor’s School and Trinity College Oxford. He wrote ‘ Defense of Plays’ in
reply to Stephen Gosson’s School of Abuse.
 Lodge is “young Juvenal” of Green’s Groats Worth of wit.
 A Margarite of America :- It is the most important romance of Lodge in which combines Senecan motives
and Arcadian Romance in an improbable love story.
 Lodge also wrote pamphlets in reply to Stephan Greenblatt.
 He made voyages to Canary Island.
 His dramatic works are
(i) A Looking Glass for London and England:
 It was written in collaboration with Robert Greene.
(ii) The Wounds of Civil War
Prose Romance and Poetic Work
(i) Rosalynde or, Euphues' Golden Legacy: This is the source of Shakespeare’s As You Like It.
(ii) An Alarm Against Usurers: - It exposes the ways in which moneylenders used young heirs into
extravagance and debt.

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(iii) Scillaes Metamosphasis: It is an Ovidian verse fable. This is the source for Shakespeare’s Venues and
(iv) A Fig for Momus: He introduced classical satires and verse epistles for the first time into English.


Thomas Nashe
(1567 -1601)
 He was a pamphleteer, poet, dramatist and author of The Unfortunate Traveller or The Life of Jack
Wilton, the first picaresque novel in English.
 He was educated at University of Cambridge.
 In 1589 he wrote ‘The Anatomy of Absurdity’ and The Preface to Green’s Menaphon.
 He wrote preface to Thomas Newman’s unauthorised edition of Astrophel vs. Astrophil.
 ‘Pierce Penilesse: His Supplication to the Devil’ a satire focused on the seven deadly sins was Nashe’s
most distinctive work.
 “Summer’s Last Will and Testament” is his picaresque novel.
 “Dido; The Queen of Carthage” is supposed a collaborative work with Christopher Marlow.
The Unfortunate Traveller: The Life of Jack Wilton (1594)
 It is a picaresque novel set during reign of Henry VIII of England.
 Jack Wilton is a page serving in the army of King Henry VIII of England when his adventures begin.
 Jack tries of his subservience to the captain and persuades the officer that the best means of getting ahead
in the army is to turn spy and seek valuable information to the King.
 ‘Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey’ functions as a sustained travel partner of Jack Wilton and both journeys to
Italy to fulfill the Earl’s pledge to defend the honour of his beloved Geraldine in a tournament.
 At the end of the play Jack and his newly wed Diamant flee out of “the Sodom of Italy” back toward the
English Encampment in France where the story first began.
 Quote: “This is the fault that hath called me hither. No true Italian but will honour me for it. Revenge is
the glory of arms and the highest performance of Valour.” – Oration by Cutwolfe.


Thomas Kyd
 He was an English playwright and the author of The Spanish Tragedy or Hieronimo is Mad Again.
 He was enrolled in merchant tailor school. His fellow students were Edmund Spenser and Thomas
 There is no evidence that Kyd attended any of the university.
 Thomas Heywood called him “Famous Kyd.”
 The full title of The Spanish Tragedy is: “Spanish tragedies, containing the lamentable end of Don
Haratio, and Bel-Imperia: With the pitiful death of old Hieronimo”.
 His other work is Robert Garnier’s Cornelia (1594)
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 Plays attributed to Kyd in whole or in part includes Soliman and Perseda, King Leir, Arden of Feversham
and Edward III.
 Thomas Hawkins discovered that Kyd was named the author of The Spanish Tragedy in 1773. He cited a
brief quotation from The Spanish Tragedy in Thomas Heywood’s Apology for Actors, which Heywood
attributed to M. Kyd.
 Francis Meres placed him among “Our best for tragedy”.
 The Spanish Tragedy was arguably the most popular play of the “Age of Shakespeare”.
 Other works by Kyd are his translation of Torquato Tasso’s Padre di Famiglia published as The
Householder’s Philosophy (1588) and Robert Garnier’s Cornelia (1594).
 He is also presumed author of a pamphlet in the prose entitled The Murder of John Brewen (1592).
 Ur –Hamlet (German prefix Ur means “primordial”; 1589). This play is now lost. The earliest such
reference occurs in 1589, when Thomas Nashe in his introduction to Robert Greene’s ‘Menaphon’
implies the existence of an early Hamlet.

The Spanish Tragedy or ‘Hieronimo is Mad Again’ (1592)

 It is a revenge tragedy. It is often referred to the works of Shakespeare, Ben Jonson and Marlow. It was
staged at ‘The Rose’ for Philip Henslowe in 1592. The Royal Shakespeare Company performed this play
in May 1997 at Swan Theatre.
 Ben Jonson mentioned ‘Hieronimo’ in introduction to his Cynthia’s Revels (1600) and quotes from the
play in Everyman in his Humour (1598).
 Thomas Dekker suggested that Ben Jonson in his early days acted himself as Hieronimo.
 T. S. Eliot quoted the title and the play in his poem “The Wasteland”. It also appeared in Orhan Pamuk’s
novel Snow.
 This play was the initiator of the style for many Elizabethan revenge tragedies, most notably Hamlet. The
Spanish tragedy was the first in which appeared a play within a play.
Major Characters
 The ghost of Don Andrea
 The Spanish King
 The Duke of Castile, Don Caprian, King’s brother
 Lorenzo, the son of Duke of Castile, nephew of King
 Don Hierommo – Knight Marshal of Spain
 Isabella – Wife of Hieronimo
 The Portuguese Viceroy
 Balthazar – Prince and son of Portuguese’s Viceroy
 Bel Imperia – Duke Castile’s daughter and sister of Lorenzo
 Don Horatio : Son of Hieronimo & Isabella

 Viceroy of Portugal has rebelled against Spain but they were defeated. But a Spanish officer Andrea is
killed in the war by Prince of Portuguese Balthazar.
 Balthazar is captured by Horatio, son of Hieronimo but Lorenzo makes dispute with Horatio who
captured Balthazar.
 Andrea’s Ghost and the spirit of revenge serve as a chorus. King leaves Balthazar in Lorenzo’s charge.
 Lorenzo’s sister Bel-Imperia was in love with Andrea but after his death she fell in love with Horatio and
vows to revenge the death of Andrea.
 Balthazar was in love with Bel-imperia and their family concluded that their marriage would repair the
peace with Portugal.

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 Lorenzo and Balthazar prepare to murder Horatio. After Horatio is dead his mother Isabella is driven
 Lorenzo locks Bel-imperia but she writes a letter in her blood to Hieronimo and informed him that
Lorenzo and Balthazar are the murderers of Horatio.
 Hieronimo along with Bel-Imperia put on a play Soliman and Perseda. This is the first play where a play
appears within a play.
 Under the cover of the play they stab Lorenzo and Balthazar in front of King Viceroy and Duke of Castile.
 Bell-Imperia kills herself. Hieronimo bites out his own tongue to prevent himself from talking under
torture, after that he killed the Duke and then himself.
 Andrea and Revenge are satisfied, delivering suitable eternal punishments to guilty parties.


Edmund Spenser
(1552 -1599)
 Spenser was born in East Smithfield London in (1552). Charles Lamb called him “poet’s poet”.
 He was educated (B.A & M.A) in Cambridge.
 In 1579, he married to Machabyas Childe.
 In 1594, after first wife died, Spenser married to Elizabeth Boyle on 11 Jun 1594, to whom he addressed
the Amoretti Sonnets.
 From 1580, Spenser lived in Ireland.
 ‘Ricket’, remarked Spenser as “Child of Renaissance & Reformation”.
 The Image of their marriage celebration is depicted in Epithalamion.
 For Faerie Queene, he obtained a life time pension of £50 a year from Queen Elizabeth but he could not
get it because after the publication of Mother Hubbard’s Tale, the principle secretary of the Queen was
 In 1596 Spenser wrote a prose pamphlet “A View of the Present State of Ireland” in the form of a
 The pamphlet argued that Ireland would never be totally ‘pacified’ by the English until its indigenous
language and customs had been destroyed, if necessary by violence.
 According to Ben Jonson, “Spenser died at the age of 46 – for the want of bread”.
 A letter written by Spenser to Sir Walter Raleigh in 1590 contains a preface for the Faerie Queene, in
which Spenser describes the allegorical presentation of virtues through Arthurian Knights in the mythical
faerie land.
 This letter outlines the plan for 24 books; twelve based on the knights who exemplifies private virtues and
twelve public virtues centred on King Arthur.
 C. S. Lewis said – “Spenser was not one of the great sonneteers”.
 Dryden remarks that “Shakespeare himself might not have achieved so much, if Spenser had not lived and
 W.B. Yeats called Spenser ‘The first salaried moralist.”
 Milton in his Aeropagitica called Spenser – “Our sage and serious poet … whom I dare be known to think
a better teacher than scouts or Aquinas”.
 Alexander Pope compared Spenser to “a mistress, whose faults we see, but love her with them all.”
 In “A View of the Present State of Ireland” Spenser believed that “Ireland is a diseased portion of the
state, it must first be cured and reformed before it could be in a position to appreciate the good sound
laws and blessings of the nation”. It is a dialogue between Eudoxus and Irenius. In this book, Spenser
categorises the evils of the Irish people into three prominent categories – Laws, customs and religion.

World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 73

 In 1609 “Two Cantos of Mutabilite” (Seventh book of Faire Queene) was published with reprint of ‘ Faire
 In 1611, The first folio edition of Spenser’s work was published.
 Ben Jonson opined that “Spenser writ no language.”
 Thompson referred to Spenser as “My Master Spenser”.
 Wordsworth praised Spenser as “The embodiment of nobility, purity and sweetness” (in his The
White Doe of Rylstone; or, The Fate of the Nortons which is a long narrative poem).
 In his The Prelude Book III, Wordsworth remarked Spenser as “Sweet Spenser, moving through his
clouded heaven. With the moon’s beauty and the moon’s soft pace.”

Important Works of Spenser

1. Faerie Queene (1590; 3 book, 1596; 6 books)

 It is the epic poem of Spenser. It is written in Spenserian stanza (abab bcbc c). All the books are based
on ‘King Arthur’.
 The first three books were published in 1590 and second set of three books were published in 1596.
Spenser states that; “the aim behind the Faerie Queene was to- Fashion a gentleman or noble person
in virtuous and gentle discipline”.
 Actually Spenser had planned to write 24 books but it remained unfinished.
 The introductory letter of Faerie Queene was written to Walter Raleigh.
 Dryden commented on it for its ‘Lack of Unity.’
 It is an allegorical epic poem in which we can find the praise of Queen Elizabeth as Gloriana.
 Each book represents a virtue of a knight.
 Spenser called this epic as “a dark conceit.”
 The seventh book was incomplete which deals with the subject of mutability represent the virtue of
 The six books represents the following virtues of the knights:-
i) Red cross knight : Holiness of Anglican Church
ii) Sir Guyon : Temperance
iii) Lady Knight (Britomart) : Chastity
iv) Trimond and Cambell : Friendship
v) Artegall : Justice
vi) Sir Callidore : Courtesy
vii) Mutability : Virtue of Constancy (incomplete)
 Aristotle is regarded as the source of these virtues.
 The poem is written in Spenserian stanza (abab bcbc c).
 The poem is modelled on Orlando’s Furioso and Torquato Tasso’s Jerusalem Delivered.

Book 1
 This book is centred on the virtue of holiness as embodied in the Redcrosse Knight. He and his lady
Una travel together as he fights the dragon Errour, then separate as the wizard Archimago tricks the
Redcrosse Knight in a dream to think that Una is unchaste.
 After he leaves, the Redcrosse Knight meets Duessa, who feigns distress in order to entrap him.
 Duessa leads the Redcrosse Knight to captivity by the giant Orgoglio. Meanwhile, Una overcomes
peril, meets Arthur, and finally finds the Redcrosse Knight and rescues him from his capture, from
Duessa, and from Despair.
 Una and Arthur help the Redcrosse Knight recover in the House of Holiness, with the House's
ruler Caelia and her three daughters joining them; there the Redcrosse Knight sees a vision of his
World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 74
 He then returns Una to her parents' castle and rescues them from a dragon, and the two are betrothed
after resisting Archimago one last time.

Book 2
 This book is centred on the virtue of Temperance as embodied in Sir Guyon, who is tempted by the
fleeing Archimago into nearly attacking the Redcrosse Knight.
 Guyon discovers a woman killing herself out of grief for having her lover tempted and bewitched by the
witch Acrasia and killed.
 Guyon swears a vow to avenge them and protect their child. Guyon on his quest starts and stops fighting
several evil, rash, or tricked knights and meets Arthur.
 Finally, they come to Acrasia's Island and the Bower of Bliss, where Guyon resists temptations to
violence, idleness, and lust. Guyon captures Acrasia in a net, destroys the Bower, and rescues those
imprisoned there.

Book 3
 This book is centred on the virtue of Chastity as embodied in Britomart, a lady knight.
 Resting after the events of Book II, Guyon and Arthur meet Britomart, who wins a joust with Guyon.
 They separate as Arthur and Guyon leave to rescue Florimell, while Britomart rescues the Redcrosse
 Britomart reveals to the Redcrosse Knight that she is pursuing Sir Artegall because she is destined to
marry him. The Redcrosse Knight defends Artegall and they meet Merlin, who explains more carefully
Britomart's destiny to found the English monarchy.
 Britomart leaves and fights Sir Marinell. Arthur looks for Florimell, joined later by Sir Satyrane and
Britomart, and they witness and resist sexual temptation.
 Britomart separates from them and meets Sir Scudamore, looking for his captured lady Amoret.
 Britomart alone is able to rescue Amoret from the wizard Busirane. Unfortunately, when they emerge
from the castle Scudamore is gone. (The 1590 version with Books I–III depicts the lovers' happy
reunion, but this was changed in the 1596 version which contained all six books.)

Book 4
 Despite its title "The Legend of Cambell and Telamond or Of Friendship", Cambell's companion in
Book IV is actually named Triamond, and the plot does not centre on their friendship; the two men
appear only briefly in the story.
 The book is largely a continuation of events begun in Book III. First, Scudamore is convinced by the hag
Ate (discord) that Britomart has run off with Amoret and becomes jealous.
 A three-day tournament is then held by Satyrane, where Britomart beats Arthegal (both in disguise).
 Scudamore and Arthegal unite against Britomart, but when her helmet comes off in battle Arthegal falls
in love with her. He surrenders, removes his helmet, and Britomart recognizes him as the man in the
enchanted mirror.
 Arthegal pledges his love to her but must first leave and complete his quest. Scudamore, upon
discovering Britomart's gender, realizes his mistake and asks after his lady, but by this time Britomart has
lost Amoret, and she and Scudamore embark together on a search for her.
 The reader discovers that Amoret was abducted by a savage man and is imprisoned in his cave. One day
Amoret darts out past the savage and is rescued from him by the squire Timias and Belphoebe.
 Arthur then appears, offering his service as a knight to the lost woman. She accepts, and after a couple of
trials on the way, Arthur and Amoret finally happen across Scudamore and Britomart.

World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 75

 The two lovers are reunited. Wrapping up a different plotline from Book III, the recently recovered
Marinel discovers Florimell suffering in Proteus' dungeon. He returns home and becomes sick with love
and pity.
 Eventually he confesses his feelings to his mother, and she pleads with Neptune to have the girl released,
which the god grants.

Book 5
 It is centred on the virtue of Justice as embodied in Sir Artegall.
Book 6
 It is centred on the virtue of Courtesy as embodied in Sir Calidore.

2. The Shepherd’s Calendar

 It was Spenser’s first major poetic work, published in 1579, by Hugh Singleton.
 It is an allegorical poem; in the form of a dialogue.
 Edmund Spenser dedicates his volume to Sir Philip Sidney and signs himself "Immerito."
 It is written on imitation of Virgil’s first book The Eclogues and Theocritus’s Idylls.
 The poem introduces ‘Colin Clout’ a folk character originated by John Skelton and depicts his life as a
shepherd, through the twelve months of the year.

Depiction of the Months:

 January: Colin Clout, forlorn is rejected by his beloved Rosalind and compares his mood with the wintry
landscape. At the end of the poem Colin breaks his shepherd’s pipes and resolves to write no more
 February: An imprudent young Shepherd Cuddie, complains of the wintry blasts to the elderly Theonot,
and he scorns the old man’s philosophical view that one must learn to endure the long succession of
misfortunes that this world brings and be concerned only with the safety of the block.
 March: Two young Shepherds welcome spring as a time for love.
 April: Theonot finds Hobbind grieving over the sorrows of his friend Collin Clout and mourning that
Collin’s unrequited love deprived all the shepherds of his poem. It calls for a song of praise of Elizabeth I.
 May: In this eclogue the two shepherds Piers and Palinode are represented as protestant and the catholic.
 June: This eclogue is wholly vowed to the complaining of Colin’s ill success in his love
 July: This eclogue is made in the honour and commendation of good shepherds and to the shame and
dispraise of proud and ambitious pastors, such as Morrell is one imagined to be.
 August: This eclogue is an imitation of Virgil third and seventh eclogue. Cuddie, a neat herd’s boy, recites
a song authored by Collin.
 September: This eclogue is about a conversation of two shepherd’s Hobbinol and Diggon Dauie.
 October: In this eclogue, Cuddie is set out a perfect pattern of a poet and making conversation with
 November: This eclogue is made in imitation of Marot, his song which he had made upon the death of
Loys, the French Queen.
 December: The eclogue is ended with a complain of Collin to god pan. He proportionate his life with the
four seasons of the year
Spring: When he was free from all follies.
Summer: As manhood meant for love.

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Autumn/Fall: His riper years.
Winter: To his last days.

3. Amoretti Sonnets (1595)

 It was published by William Ponsonby in volume entitled “Amoretti and Epithalamion.”
 Amoretti is an Italian word which means ‘little love gift’ or ‘little love poems.’
 It is a sequence of 89 sonnets dedicated to his second wife Elizabeth Boyle.
 In the first four lines the author compares himself to a book that is read by his love Elizabeth.
 He hopes that Elizabeth will hold his poems in her ‘Lily white hands.’
 Rhyme scheme of the Sonnet – abab bcbc cdcd ee.
 This Sonnet cycle ends with a set of stanzas returning to the poems title character ‘Cupid.’ The first set of
stanza described how ‘Cupid’ led the speaker into Harem when he was young. Cupid causes speaker to
draw his attention towards honey and when speaker reached to fetch it he was stung by bees and Cupid
flew away.

4. Epithalamion (1595)
 It was written by Spenser on his wedding with Elizabeth Boyle in 1594 but published in 1595. It is also
called Nuptial Song.
 It is an ode written to his bride Elizabeth Boyle.
 When published by William Ponsonby, both works were included in the volume and Epithalamion and
Amoretti were published together in 1595.
 This song, actually sung by choirs of young men and women who accompanied the bride and groom from
the bride’s parents’ house to her husband’s family house where they would spend the wedding night. The
Latin word Thalamos means ‘bridal chamber.’ The setting is Ireland. The poem contains 365 lines. He
invokes ‘Muses’ at the beginning of the poem.
 The Ode consists of 24 stanzas, each stanza contains 18 lines and each stanza corresponds to an hour of
midsummer’s day.

5. Prothalamion (1596)
 It is a betrothal song written on the occasion of the twin marriage of the daughters of the Earl of
Worcester, Elizabeth Somerset and Katherine Somerset. In this poem when the bride awakes her eyes are
compared to Sun.
 The poem begins with the description of River Thames where Spenser finds two beautiful women.
 The line from this song – “Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song” is used by T.S. Eliot in his The

6. Arstrophel (1595)
 It is a pastoral elegy written by Spenser on the death of Sir Phillip Sidney and was dedicated to Sidney’s
wife, the Counters of Essex.
 It was published in the same volume in which Colin Clout Come Home Again was published in 1595.

7. Collin Clouts Come Home Again (1595)

 It is a pastoral poem by Spenser published in 1595.

 It is based on the subject of Spenser’s visit to London in 1591, he wrote it after returning home in Ireland.
 He dedicated it to Sir Walter Raleigh.

World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 77

 The poem is autobiographical in nature.

8. Mother Hubbard’s Tale or Prosopopia

 It is a poem by Spenser as a part of his collections “Complaint” but it was sold separately as fourth part.
 The poem follows the story of a sick, bedridden poet, who has visitors that they try to entertain him with
 The only one poet finds worthy enough to retell is the tale told by old Mother Hubbard about an ape and
a fox.
 The poem was antagonised by Lord Burghley, the primary secretary of Elizabeth I, and Spenser was
removed from the English Court.

Other Minor Works

1. Daphnaida: An elegy upon the death of the noble and venturous lady Douglas Howard
2. Complaints (1591): A collection of 9 poems
3. The Tears of the Muses (second part of Complaint) (1590): He dedicated it to ‘Lady Strange.’
4. The Ruins of Time ; First part of ‘complaint’
5. The Visions of Petrarch
6. Four Hymns; Hymns to Beauty
Hymns to Love
Hymns to Heavenly Beauty
Hymns to Heavenly Love
7. A View of the Present State of Ireland (1596)

Spenserian Stanza
 The stanza’s main meter is 8 lines iambic pentameter with a final line in iambic hexameter having six feet
or stresses known as Alexandrine.
 Rhyme scheme – abab bcbc c


William Shakespeare
 William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the
English language and the world's greatest dramatist.
 He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". His extant works, including collaborations,
consist of approximately 39 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, some of
uncertain authorship.
 He was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire.
 Sometime between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part-owner
of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men.
 Shakespeare produced most of his known works between 1589 and 1613.
 Until about 1608, he wrote mainly tragedies, among them Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth, all
considered to be among the finest works in the English language.

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 In 1623, two fellow actors and friends of Shakespeare's, John Heminges and Henry Condell, published a
more definitive text known as the First Folio, a posthumous collected edition of Shakespeare's dramatic works
that included all but two of his plays. The volume was prefaced with a poem by Ben Jonson, in which Jonson
presciently hails Shakespeare in a now-famous quote as "not of an age, but for all time".
 Preface to First Folio by Ben Jonson:
“This Figure, that thou here seest put,
It was for gentle Shakespeare cut:
Wherein the Grauer had a strife
with Nature, to out-doo the life:
O, could he but haue dravvne his vvit
As vvell in brasse, as he hath hit
His face; the Print vvould then surpasse
All, that vvas euer vvrit in brasse.
But, since he cannot, Reader, looke
Not on his picture, but his Booke.”
 Shakespeare was probably educated at the King's New School in Stratford.
 At the age of 18, Shakespeare married 26-year-old Anne Hathaway in 1582.
 Nicholas Rowe, Shakespeare's first biographer, recounted a Stratford legend that Shakespeare fled the town
for London to escape prosecution for deer poaching in the estate of local squire Thomas Lucy.
 He was attacked in print by the playwright Robert Greene in his Groats-Worth of Wit:
“... there is an upstart Crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tiger's heart wrapped in a Player's hide,
supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you: and being an absolute Johannes
factotum, is in his own conceit the only Shake-scene in a country”
 The Second Folio is the 1632 edition of the collected plays of Shakespeare. It follows the First Folio of 1623.
Much language was updated in the Second Folio and there are almost 1,700 changes.
 False Folio is the term that Shakespeare scholars and bibliographers have applied to William Jaggard's printing
of ten Shakespearean and pseudo-Shakespearean plays together in 1619, the first attempt to collect
Shakespeare's work in a single volume.
 Nineteen of Shakespeare's plays first appeared in quarto before the publication of the First Folio in 1623,
eighteen of those before his death in 1616. One play co-authored with John Fletcher, The Two Noble
Kinsmen, was first published in 1634, and one play first published in the First Folio, The Taming of the
Shrew, was later published in quarto.
 William Shakespeare died on 23rd April 1616 and to honor this, UNESCO established 23rd April as “The
International Day of the Book”.

Criticism on Shakespeare
1. Ben Jonson: He told about Shakespeare that –
 “He redeemed his vices with his virtues. There was even more in him to be praised than to be
 “He was not of an age, but for all time”.
2. John Milton: He wrote a sonnet titled “On Shakespeare” in 1630. It starts with
“What needs my Shakespeare for his honoured bones,
The labor of an age in pilèd stones, Or that his hallowed relics should be hid.”
In another line –
“Dear son of memory, great heir of fame
World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 79
What need’st thou such weak witness of thy name?”
This sonnet of Milton appeared in the second folio of plays by Shakespeare in 1632 as –
“An Epitaph on the admirable Dramaticke Poet, W. SHAKESPEARE.”
3. Samuel Pepys (1662): In his diary on 29 September 1662, he wrote:
“To the king’s theatre where we saw Midsummer Night’s Dream, which I had never seen before,
nor shall ever again, for it is the most insipid ridiculous play that ever I saw in my life.”

 Lord Granville deciphered the diary of Pepys in 1825.

4. John Dryden (1668)
Dryden said about Shakespeare in his Essay of Dramatic Poesy, as:
“To begin then with Shakespeare he was the man, who of all modern and perhaps ancient poets
had the largest and most comprehensive soul.”
5. Thomas Rymer (1692): He attacked on Othello as –
“The moral, sure, of this Fable (Othello) is very instructive.”
6. Joseph Addison (1712)
“Among the English, Shakespeare has incomparably excelled all others.”
7. Alexander Pope (1725): He wrote about Shakespeare in his “Preface to Pope’s edition of Shakespeare”.
“His characters are so much nature herself that ‘tis a sort of injury to call them by so distant a
name as copies of her.”
8. Samuel Johnson (1765): He wrote about Shakespeare in “The Plays of William Shakespeare”. He wrote
in it:
“Shakespeare’s adherence to general nature has exposed him to the censure of criticks, who form
their judgments upon narrower principles.”
In the same work he wrote –
“The work of a correct and regular writer is a garden accurately formed and diligently planted
varied with shades, and scented with flowers; the composition of Shakespeare is a forest.”
Johnson also said about him as:
“Shakespeare opens a mine which contains gold and diamonds in inexhaustible plenty, though
clouded by incrustations debased by impurities, and mingled with a mass of meaner minerals.”
“Shakespeare writes without moral purpose, and is more careful to please than to instruct.”
9. Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1795–96)
“There is no pleasure greater and purer than, with eyes closed, accompany a Shakespeare’s play
not declaimed, but recited by a safe and natural voice.”

 He wrote about Shakespeare in his “Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship”.

 He wrote about Hamlet –
 “Prince Hamlet is suddenly facing the need for a great action imposed upon your soul that is
unable to do it”.

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 “Perhaps no one has made so great as the first major link of wish and duty in the individual
character as Shakespeare did”.
10. Machado de Assis (1896)
“One day, when there is no more Great Britain, when there is no more United States, when there
is no more the English language will exit Shakespeare; we will speak Shakespeare.”
11. Charles Lamb (1811): In his work – “On the Tragedies of Shakespeare” he wrote –
“We talk of Shakespeare’s admirable observation of life, when we should feel, that not from a
petty inquisition into those cheap and everyday characters.”
12. Thomas De-Quincy (1823): In his work “On the Knocking at the Gate in Macbeth”, De-Quincy wrote –
“O mighty poet! Thy works are not as those of other man, simply and merely great works of art,
but are also like the phenomena of nature.”
13. Thomas Carlyle (1841): In his book “On Heros – Hero Worship and the Heroic in History” Carlyle
wrote –
 “Nay, apart from spiritualties and considering him merely as a real marketable, tangibly useful
 “This King Shakespeare, does not he shine, in crowned sovereignty, over us all, as the noblest,
gentlest, yet strongest of rallying signs indestructible; really more valuable in that point of view
than any other means or appliance whatsoever?”
 “Yes, this Shakespeare is ours, we produced him, we speak and think by him, we are of one
blood and kind with him.”
14. Victor Hugo (1859) –
“It is a long silence before the Son’s answer:
I’ll translate Shakespeare. Shakespeare: the Ocean.”
15. Leo Tolstoy (1906): In his work “Tolstoy on Shakespeare”:
“I remember the astonishment I felt when I first read Shakespeare. I expected to receive a
powerful esthetic pleasure but having read one after the other works regarded as his best: ‘King
Lear’, ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘Hamlet’ and ‘Macbeth’, not only did I feel no delight, but I felt an
irresistible repulsion and tedium.”
16. D. H. Lawrence (1923)
He wrote about Shakespeare in his “When I Read Shakespeare” in the Complete poems of D. H.
“When I read Shakespeare I am struck with wonder, that such trivial people should muse and
thunder in such lovely language.”
17. Sigmund Freud (1930): In his “Moses and Monotheism” he wrote:
“Incidentally, in this meantime, I stopped to believe that the author of Shakespeare’s works were
the man of Stratford.”
18. W. H. Auden (1947): In his “Lectures on Shakespeare” he said –
“I find Shakespeare particularly appealing in his attitude towards his work.”…
“Shakespeare never takes himself too seriously”
19. T. S. Eliot:
 “Dante and Shakespeare divided the modern world between them, there is no third”
World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 81
 In his “Hamlet and his problems” in “The Sacred Wood: Essay on poetry and criticism” he
 “We must simply admit that here Shakespeare tackled a problem which proved too much
for him.”
 “We should have to understand things which Shakespeare did not understand himself.”
20. Kenneth Burke – From “Kenneth Burke of Shakespeare”
“Shakespeare found many ingenious ways to make it seem that his greatest plays unfolded of themselves,
like a destiny rather than by a technical expert’s scheming.”
21. Harold Bloom (1994) – From “The Western Canon”
“Shakespeare is the Canon. He sets the standard and the limits of Literature.”

Plays of Shakespeare
Henry VI, Part II
Main Characters:
 Henry VI – King
 Margaret – Wife of Henry VI
 Anjou & Maine – Two territories of France which they exchange for Margaret
 Gloucester – Uncle of Henry VI
 Jack Cade – Came in England to ruin it from Ireland.


 The date of its writing is uncertain; some say it was written before part 1, probably in 1591.
 Suffolk presents Margaret as king’s new wife and also brings peace treaty.
 In the treaty the French had asked the territories of Anjou and Maine in return of Margaret, Earl of
Gloucester reproaches Henry for his selfishness.
 York reproaches Henry for his selfishness.
 Gloucester and his wife, the duchess talk about their dream, the duchess sees a dream of becoming queen.
 Hume and the duchess desire to hire a witch to know about the future of Henry.
 The witch then conjures, Bolingbroke tells ambiguously about Henry‘s future and the Dutch was arrested
doing so.
 At the end, Richard fights with Somerset and kills him, as well as Clifford.
 York declares victory but Henry along with Margaret flees to London.
 Jack Cad Rebellion takes place in this play. It took place in 1450.

Famous Quotes
 “Rumor is a pipe
Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures
And of so easy and so plain a stop
That the blunt monster with uncounted heads
The still discordant wavering multitude,
can you play upon it.”

World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 82

 “Virtue is choked with foul ambition.”
 “Delays have dangerous ends.”

Henry VI, Part III

 In third part which is written in 5 acts, York enters the throne with his sons and followers.
 Henry enters the throne and wanted a fight there itself.
 Henry asks York to let him rule till he is alive and upon his death he will let the throne to York.
 York agrees and departs.
 Margaret accuses her husband for being unnatural father who disinherited his son.
 While in the town of York, Edward, Richard’s son and his followers Montague urge York to take the
throne immediately rather waiting for Henry’s death.
 To avenge York, Margaret attacks York and captures him and asked him to wipe his tears with
handkerchief dipped in his other son Rutland’s blood.
 Richard accuses her and he is stabbed to death by Margaret.
 The other living York brothers Edward and Richard see a vision of three suns and believe it as three York
 Henry is asked to undo his decision by Margaret and Clifford but he denied.
 Richard hunts Clifford in order to take revenge of his father and brother.
 Henry’s son prince Edward urges him to flee.
 Clifford is dead and Henry is nowhere to bound York, so they reach London to fetch the throne and
crown Richard and George.
 Henry is captured by the men of Edward.
 Edward asks for the hand of king of France’s sister while Margaret asked for troop’s aid against Edward.
 Edward plans to marry Lady Gray while his brother Richard was compelled by his physical disabilities to
support him.
 French king Louis wanted his sister’s hand to Edward but when he heard of his marriage he is enraged and
given troops to Margaret to fight against Edward.
 Warwick of York changes his side and met with Margaret.
 George is also upset by his brother’s immediate marriage so he also meets Warwick and Margaret.
 In the next battle Edward is captured.
 Edward gives up the throne looking at his brother on the enemy side.
 Henry VI is freed by Warwick and George.
 Henry becomes king for namesake only while George and Warwick becomes land protector.
 Edward again returns with re-enforcement, he only wanted to be duke while his followers wanted him to
fetch the crown.
 Again Edward and Richard capture Henry and send him to tower.
 Richard convinces George to change the side and they altogether attack on Warwick and kill him.
 Warwick supporters join with Margaret and they attach Edward and Edward wins.
 Edward sends Somerset and Oxford who are the followers of Warwick, away and kills prince Edward and
imprison Margaret.
 Richard kills Henry and his next goal was to eliminate Edward and George.
 At the end, Edward’s son is born and there was no one to oppose him except his own brothers.

Henry VI, Part I

Important Characters

 Sir John Falstaff – a coward English soldier

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 Henry VI – King (9 months old)
 Earl of Bedford – Uncle of Henry VI & Regent
 Earl of Gloucester – Uncle of Henry VI & Regent
 Earl of Suffolk – He brings Margaret of Anjou to marry king Henry VI
 Duke of Exter – Great uncle of Henry VI
 Dauphin Charles – King of France
 Lord Talbot – Constable of English Army
 Orlean – The place where English has sieged France
 Joan la Pucelle (Joan of Arc) – Commander of the French Army
 Richard Plantagenet – Duke of York
 Duke of Somerset – He fought the War of Roses with Duke of York.
 Mortimer – Uncle of Richard III
 Rouen – French lose this city
 Duke of Burgundy – He switches his side from English to French
 Bordeaux – General of the French Forces.
 It is supposed to be written in 1591. Written in V acts.
 This is the first history play by Shakespeare.
 The play starts with the funeral of Henry V.
 While king Henry V died, his son Henry VI was only 9 months old.
 Because of the trouble in France as England was loosing won territory, Bedford was asked to take over the
100 years war in France.
 Joan of Arc, a lady is brought to Charles and she says she has seen visions and she can lead the troop of
 Sir Talbot, the troop head of English and Joan fight and Joan leaves him on mercy, and French won.
 The countess of Auvergne, calls Talbot to trap him but doesn’t succeed.
 In London the two group heads Richard Plantagenet and Somerset ask their follower to choose either Red
Rose or White Rose.
 Richard Plantagenet learns from his uncle Mortimer that he is supposed to be the next heir. King Henry
VI grants the request of Richard and given him the name Duke of York.
 Henry VI arrives in Paris to takeover the control.
 Henry asks the York and Somerset to stop civil war, as he learned about the war of roses.
 Henry picks Somerset’s red rose so the York is upset.
 Henry assigns the task of becoming leader of English troops (Infantry) to York while he asked Somerset to
be in charge of Cavalry.
 While Talbot needed troops in France, York couldn’t provide him, reason being Somerset has delayed
the cavalry bbecause of dislike to York.
 English thus lost the territories won by Henry V and Talbot was killed.
 Son of Talbot, John also arrives and fights against French and he also dies and thus England is defeated.
 In the next battle between Joan of Arc and united forces of York and Somerset, York captures Joan as her
patron demons refused to advise her.
 Joan asks York, not to kill as she is virgin but they prepare to burn her.
 In the final scene Henry VI marries to Margaret of Anjou, a french girl who was captured in the battle.
Famous Quotes
 “If all the years were playing holidays; To sport would be as tedious as to work.”
 “I am the Prince of Wales; and think not, Percy, to share with me in glory any more. Two stars keep not
their motion in one sphere”.

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 “Homo is a common name to all men”.
 To time of life is short; to spend that shortness basely were too long.

Richard III
 It was probably was presented in 1592-1593.
The Comedy of Errors
 It is the shortest play of Shakespeare and a farcical comedy.
 Egeon a merchant of Syracuse is condemned to death in Ephesus for violating the ban against travel
between the two cities.
 While execution, he tells Ephesian duke Solinus that he has come here in search of his lost wife and twin
sons, who were separated from him 25 years ago in a shipwreck.
 The duke is moved to listen his story and asks a ransom of thousand ponds to save his life.
 ‘Antipholus of Syracuse’ is the lost son of Egeon who lives along with his slave Dromio.
 Dromio is also twin brothers and both are named same as Dromio.
 ‘Antipholus of Ephesus’ is the other twin of Egeon who is a prosperous citizen of the city.
 Adriana, wife of ‘Antipholus of Ephesus’ mistakes, ‘Antipholus of Syracuse’ as her husband and drags him
for dinner.
 When ‘Antipholus of Ephesus’ reached his home he was refused entry on his own home by ‘Dromio of
Syracuse’ who was guarding the gate.
 The confusion increases series after series.
 Adriana asks the duke to intervene.
 The situation is finally resolved by the Abbess, Emilia, who brings out the set of twins and reveals herself
to be Egeon wife.
 Egeon is pardoned by the duke and all the three pairs get united and happy.
 Abess is the wife of Egeon. Her actual name is Emilia but disguised as Abess.
 Balthasar is the character who appears in three novels of Shakespeare:
 Merchant of Venice
 Comedy of Errors
 Much Ado About Nothing
Famous Quotes from Comedy of Errors:
1. “We came into the world like brother and brother, and now let’s go hand in hand, not one before
2. “Until I know this sure uncertainty, I’ll entertain the offered fallacy.”
3. “If the skins were parchment and the blows you gave were ink, your own handwriting would tell you what I
4. “If she lives till doomsday, she’ll burn a weak longer than the whole world.”
5. “Since mine own doors refuse to entertain me, I’ll knock elsewhere, to see if they’ll disdain me.”
6. “Train me not, sweet mermaid, with thy note to drown me in thy sisters flood of tears”
– Antipholus of Syracuse to Luciana
7. “Spherical like a globe, I could find out countries in her.”
– Antipholus of Syracuse about Nell.

Titus Andronicus
Important Characters
 Titus Andronicus – Roman General

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 Marcus Andronicus – Brother of Titus Andronicus
 Tamora – Queen of Goth (Titus’ enemy)
 Alarbus, Chiron & Demetrius – Sons of Tamora
 Aaron the Moor – Secret Lover of Tamora
 Lavinia – Daughter of Titus
 Quintus, Maritus & Mutius – Titus’s sons
 Saturninus – He married Tamora. Emperor
 Bassianus – Brother of Saturninus
 It is one of the greatest tragedies by Shakespeare.
 Titus Andronicus, who is Roman General, returns from 10 years of war with four sons out of 25.
 He has captured Tamora, Queen of the Goths. Titus sacrifices Tamora’s eldest son Alarbus in order to
avenge the deaths of his own sons during war.
 In obedience to Roman rituals he sacrifices his son Mutious to his own dead sons that earns him Tamora’s
unending hatred and her promise of revenge.
 Tamora is made empress by the new emperor Saturninus.
 She makes schemes with her lover Aaron to frame Titus’s two sons for the murder of emperor’s brother
 Titus’ sons are beheaded.
 Tamora urges her son Chiron to rape Lavinia, the daughter of Titus.
 Chiron and Demetrius after raping Lavinia, cut her tongue and hands so that she doesn’t tell the truth.
 Demetrius is the character in two plays of Shakespeare –
 Mid Summer Night’s Dream
 Titus Andronicus (Tamora’s son)
 Titus last surviving son Lucius is also banished from Rome.
 Lucius makes an alliance with enemy Goths in order to attack Rome.
 Titus turns mad and Tamora tries to take advantage of that by putting a deal of giving him justice if he
convinces Lucius to cease attacking Rome.
 Titus, who was feigned in madness, captures and kills Tamora’s sons and makes pie out of them and feeds
to Tamora in the final scene.
 He also kills Tamora and Lavinia, his own daughter.
 Lucius bury Aaron alive and thrown Tamora corpse’s to the beasts.
 Finally he became new emperor of Rome.
Famous Quotes:
“Vengeance is in my heart, death in my hand, blood and revenge are hammering in my head.”
The Taming of the Shrew
(1590 – 92)
 It is expected to be written and performed between 1590-92, as a comedy.
 Play starts in the English country side where one named Christopher Sly who is trapped by a local lord. Sly
is a drunker tinker.
 One man of the lord is disguised as a woman and marries Sly.
 The lord and his men declared Sly as a lord and treated him accordingly.
 A troop of actors arrived to present a play to Sly:
 In the Italian city of Padua, Lucentio (Latin teacher of Bianca) arrives with his friends Tranio and
Biondello to attend the university and instantly falls in love with Bianca. Horensio is the first suitor of
 Baptista Minda, father of Bianca has declared that Bianca will be married after the marriage of her
elder sister Katherine.

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 A younger man from Verona arrives and takes the hand of the shrew Katherine to accept all his
 At last Lucentio is wedded to Bianca and Hortensio to a widow.
 At the end of the play the three husbands stages a contest to see which of their wives will obey first
when summoned. Katherine and Petruchio win the contest.

Important Quotes from Taming of the Shrew

 “My tongue will tell the anger of my heart, or else my heart concealing, it will break.”
 “Sit by my side and let the world slip we shall never be younger.”
 “There is a small choice in rotten apples.”
 “The poorest service is repaid with thanks.”
 “No profit grows where no pleasure is taken.”
 “If she and I be pleased what’s that to you?”

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

 It is a comedy by Shakespeare.
 It is believed to have been written in 1589-92. It is set in Verona & Milan.
 Some scholars have considered it as first play of Shakespeare.
 The play deals with he themes of friendship and infedility, the conflict between friendship and the foolish
behaviour of people in love.
 A dog appears in the play named Crab.
Main Characters:

 Valentine: A young man lived in Verona

 Proteus: Close friend of Valentine
 Silvia: Falls in love with Proteus in Milan.
 Julia: In love with Proteus in Verona.
 Antonio: Proteus’ Father
 Crab: Launce’s dog
 Launce: Proteus’ Servant

 Two close friends living in Verona, Valentine and Proteus, take leave of each other. Valentine is setting
out on his travels on his own because Proteus will not leave his beloved Julia and has decided to stay in
Verona. Julia is interested in Proteus’ attention and treasures the love letter he has sent her, but feigns a
mild rather than a passionate interest.
 Proteus’ father, Antonio, sends him on a mission to Milan. When he arrives at the Duke of Milan’s court,
he finds that Valentine is there and has fallen in love with Silvia, the duke’s daughter. Silvia returns his
 Proteus, who has sworn love and fidelity to Julia, falls in love with Silvia at first sight. In the meantime, the
duke is planning the marriage of Silvia to the foolish Thurio.
 Valentine plans to elope with Silvia but the jealous Proteus tells the duke of the plot and Valentine is
caught carrying a rope ladder to Silvia’s window. The duke banishes Valentine and Proteus woos Silvia
with songs and declarations of love. She scorns him and reminds him about Julia.

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 Julia arrives in Milan, disguised as a pageboy, Sebastian. Proteus sends her (as a pageboy) with the ring that
she, Julia, has given him. Silvia has promised him a picture of herself although she is still devoted to the
absent Valentine.
 In the meantime, Valentine has been captured by a band of aristocratic outlaws who make him their chief.
Silvia persuades a courtier, Sir Eglamour, to accompany her to Mantua to find Valentine and she is also
captured by the outlaws.
 The duke and Thurio go after her, taking Proteus with them. Julia, still disguised, follows him. Proteus
rescues Silvia. He tries to force himself on her but Valentine prevents him. They quarrel and are
reconciled. All this is heard by Julia and, misunderstanding, she thinks that Valentine is yielding his
interest in Silvia to Proteus. She faints in front of them. Proteus recognises the ring he has given her and
when her identity is revealed, Proteus’ love for her is revived.
 The outlaws have captured the duke and Thurio. They trick Thurio into showing his cowardice by
denying Silvia. The duke approves the marriage of Silvia and Valentine; the two couples agree to share a
wedding day and the duke pardons the outlaws.
Famous Quotes from Two Gentlemen of Verona
 “That man that hath a tongue, I say
is no man, if with his tongue he
can not win a woman.”
 “What, gone without a word?
Ay, so true love should do. It can not
speak for truth hath better deeds than
words to grace it”

Love’s Labour’s Lost

 It is the early comedy of Shakespeare believed to have been written in 1590.
 The play is in five acts.
 The king of Navarre and his three lords Berowne, Longaville and Dumaine swear an oath to scholarship
which includes fasting and avoiding contact with women for three years.
 They are told by Don Armado, a Spaniard, that he has caught Costard, a fool and Jaquenetta a country
 Don Armado confesses that he has fallen in love with Jaquenetta.
 The princess of France comes to visit king.
 The king couldn’t receive princess because of his oath. So he decided to court her outside the castle.
 The three lords fell in love with three ladies while king fell in love with the princess.
 All come to know about each other’s affair.
 A messenger arrives to tell princess about her father’s death.
 The women tell their suitors to seek them again in a year.
 The play ends with their departure.
 Love’s Labour’s Won is also a play by Shakespeare and supposed to be a sequel of Love’s Labour’s Lost,
but none of its copies are survived.
 Honorificabilitudinitatibus is the dative and ablative plural of the mediaeval Latin word
honorificabilitudinitas, which can be translated as "the state of being able to achieve honours". It is
mentioned by the character Costard in Act V, Scene I of this play.
 Costard name is an archaic term for apple or metaphorically a man’s head. Shakespeare used this word in
his sense in Richard III.
Famous Quotes
1. “Beauty is bought by the judgment of the age.”
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2. “Love is familiar. Love is a devil. There is no evil angel but love.”

Romeo and Juliet

 It is a tragedy by Shakespeare believed to be written in 1594.
 The play starts in the streets of Verona, with a fighting between the two noble families, Capulet and
 Looking at the disturbance in the city by these two families, the prince of Verona Escalus, announces the
decree of death to the individuals who disturb the peace in future.
 Romeo, the son of Montague tells his cousin Benvolio, that he is in love with a woman Rosaline but she
doesn’t return her love.
 Paris, a kinsman of the prince, seeks Juliet’s hand for marriage but her father Capulet asks him to wait for
two more years since Juliet was not even 14 (actually 13 years old and Romeo was 16 years old).
 Capulet organized a traditional feast in which he invited Paris also to win Juliet’s heart.
 Benvolio suggests Romeo to attend the feast so that Romeo can compare his beloved Rosaline with other
beautiful women of Verona.
 Romeo agrees to attend the feast as he finds the name of Rosaline in the invitation list.
 Mercutio and Nurse (of Juliet) are the comic characters in this play.
 In the Capulet household, Juliet talks to her mother Lady Capulet about her marriage with Paris that she
will agree to marry him if she could fall in love with him.
 The feast begins, Romeo attend the feast along with Benvolio and Mercutio.
 As Romeo sees Juliet, he falls in love with her and completely forgets Rosaline.
 A young Capulet, Tybalt (Cousin of Juliet) recognizes him and prepares to attack him but was held by the
 They kiss each other, but when they came to know that their family is enemy to each other, they are upset.
 Frier Lawrence a friend and confessor of Romeo, agrees to marry the young lovers in secret thinking their
old-age-fight will possibly end.
 They are secretly married.
 The next day of their marriage Benvolio and Mercutio are encountered by Tybalt and Tybalt challenged
Romeo for a duel.
 Romeo kills Tybalt and was banished from Verona by the prince for his crime.
 Juliet comes to know that Romeo has killed Tybalt but she re-settles herself by thinking her duty belongs
with her love to Romeo.
 Before leaving Verona, Romeo sneaks into Juliet’s room and spent whole night. In the morning they
 Capulet planned Juliet’s marriage in just three days only and Juliet asks her Nurse for the suggestion.
 Nurse suggests to marry her to Paris but Juliet disregards her and went to fetch advice from Frier
 Frier gives Juliet a ‘potion’ that she should drink in the night before wedding and she will appear to be
 Frier also sent this message to Romeo through Frier John. He is quarantined in a house and couldn’t
deliver the message to Romeo and thus Romeo learns that Juliet is dead.
 Romeo plans to kill himself as he can’t live without Juliet, so he buys poison and rushes to Verona.
 In Capulet crypt Romeo confronts Paris who was scattering flower on Juliet’s grave and they fight and
Romeo kills Paris.
 When Romeo sees Juliet’s body is dead he drinks the poison.
 Juliet wakes up and sees Romeo dead then she kisses his poisonous lips to kill herself and last stabs herself
with a dagger to death.

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 At the end Montague and Capulet decide to break their long-standing feud after seeing their children’s
dead bodies.

Famous Quotes from Romeo and Juliet

1. “Don’t waste your love on somebody, who doesn’t value it.”
2. “Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs.”
3. “O teach me how I should forget to think”
4. “Woman may fall when there is no strength in men.”
5. “Parting is much sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow.”
6. “What is in name that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.”
7. “Turn him into stars and form a constellation in his image. His face will make the heavens so beautiful that
the world will fall in love with the night and forget about the garish sun.”
8. “One pain is cured by another. Catch some new infection in your eye and the poison of the old one will
9. “It is easy for someone to joke about scars of they have never been cut.”
10. “Some grief shows much of love, but much of grief shows still some want of wit.”
11. “A pair of star crossed lovers takes their life.”
12. “If love be blind, love can not hit the mark.”
13. “Love goes towards love, as school boys from their books.”

Richard II
 King Richard II (1367-1400) was king of England from 1377 – 1399.
 King Richard II is also known as Richard of Bordeaux who was deposed on 30 Sep 1399 by Henry of Bolingbroke,
later called Henry IV. He was son of Edward, the Black Prince.
 This play is based on life of King Richard (ruled 1377 – 1399). The play covers only two years of his life i.e. (1398 –
 Harold Bloom said – “Richard is a bad king but an interesting Metaphysical Poet”.
Main Characters

 King Richard II – King of Britain

 John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancester – Richard’s uncle
 Duke of York – Richard’s Uncle
 Duke of Aumerle – York’s son
 Thomas Mowbray – Duke of Norfolk
 Thomas Woodstock – Duke of Gloucester
 Henry Bolingbroke – Son of John of Gaunt, Duke of Hereford, later King Henry IV
 Earl of Northumberland
 Henry ‘Hotspur’ Perag – Northumberland’s son
 Earl of Gloucester – Brother of Thomas Mowbray
 Bushy, Bagot, Green and Duke of Aumerle (son of Duke of York) – Faithful members of the King
 Exton – Murders the king in prison.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

 It is a comedy play by Shakespeare.
 It is believed to be written in 1595.
 Theseus, duke of Athens prepares for his marriage with the queen of Amazons, Hyppolyta.
 They organize a four day festival for their marriage.

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 He asked his master, Philostrate to find some amusement for the occasion.
 An Athenian nobleman Egeus reaches king’s court for judgment of his daughter Hermia.
 Hermia was in love with Lysender while Egeus wanted her to marry Demetrius.
 King warned Hermia for disobeying her father.
 Hermia and Lysender plan to escape and they tell their plan to Hermia’s friend Helena.
 Helena was once engaged to Demetrius and still loves him but he doesn’t.
 All depart to wood i.e. ‘Demetrius and Helena’ and ‘Hermia and Lysender’.
 In the same wood, two different groups were also there. First a band of fairies and second a band of
Athenian craftsmen who are rehearsing a play to be performed in front of duke.
 Oberon and Titania who are from band of fairies were at fight on the point of making an Indian prince as
a knight.
 To obtain revenge Oberon sends his servant Puck to fetch the magic flower.
 He asked Puck to spread some flowers juice on Titania’s eyelid and some on two Athenian young men.
 When Lysender woke he sees Helena and falls in love with her. Puck tries to undo his mistake and as a
result both the man runs behind Helena.
 Hermia is infuriated and asked Helena for a fight. Demetrius and Lysender also fight for Helena’s love.
 When Titania woke up, she sees Bottom whose head is transformed into an ass and Titania starts loving
 To mend everything, Puck again spreads love potion in their eyes and by morning everything is well.
 Demetrius now loves Helena and Lysender loves Hermia.
 The group is married and the lovers go to bed.
 Robin Goodfellow is the other name of ‘Puck’.

Famous Quotes from A Mid Summer’s Night Dream

 “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind”.
 “The Lunatic, the lover and the poet, are of imagination all compact”.
 “Lovers are madman have such seething brains, such shaping fantasies that apprehend more than cool
reason ever comprehends.”
 “What angel wakes me from my flowered bed.”

The Life and Death of King John

 King John is a history play of Shakespeare written about 1596 about reign of King John (1199 – 1216). He
was son of Henry II of England.
 King John – King of England
 Eleanor – Widow of Henry II and mother of John
 Prince Henry – Son of John, Henry III.
 Blench of Castile – John’s niece.
 The main theme of the play is the conflict between his younger brother and a bastard for the throne.
The Merchant of Venice
 It is a comedy by Shakespeare.
 It is best known for Shylock and the famous “Hath not a Jew eyes” speech, and the Portia’s speech “the
quality of mercy”.
 Bassanio, a young Venetian wishes to woo beautiful and wealthy heiress Portia of Belmont.
 He needed 3,000 ducats for expenditure in his marriage.

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 Bassanio asks help from his friend Antonio who takes him to Shylock, a moneylender by telling Bassanio
that he is cashless and his ships are busy at sea so he will cover the bond asked by Shylock.
 Shylock was compelled to charge interest at lower rates because Antonio used to give loan, interest free.
 A bond was signed between Antonio and Shylock for an interest free loan as if Antonio doesn’t pay at the
specified date Shylock will take a pound of Antonio’s flesh.
 Along with money Bassanio along his tactless friend Gratiano leaves for Belmont.
 In Belmont, Portia is busy with suitors because according to his father’s wish whoever will choose the one
from the three caskets will marry Portia.
 There are three type of Caskets made of Gold, Silver and Lead.
 Bassanio chooses the lead casket which proclaims “who chooseth me, must give and hazard all he hath”.
 Portia succeeds to marry Bassanio.
 At Venice, Antonio’s ships are reported lost and he couldn’t repay the bond.
 Gratiano marries Nerrisa. Shylock’s daughter Jessica escapes with Antonio’s friend Lorenzo.
 After the bond expires, Shylock refuses to take 600 ducats in the court of Duke of Venice sent by Portia to
save the life of her husband.
 Portia disguises as Balthazar, a young male, “doctor of the law”. Nerrisa also disguises as man and
becomes Balthazar’s clerk.
 The moment comes to cut Antonio’s flesh, Portia announces the bond that is about only flesh not even a
drop of blood and he must cut precisely one pound of flesh, no more or no less.
 If Shylock fails to do this, his lands and goods will be forfeited warned Portia.
 Ultimately Shylock becomes ready to take that double amount but Portia now refuses that also.
 Ultimately Antonio’s ships were recovered and Shylock was excused by the duke and he converted to
Christianity and half of his property was given to Lorenzo and Jessica.

Important Quotes
 “The Villainy you teach me I will execute and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.”
– by Shylock.

Henry IV, Part I

 It is a history play of Shakespeare believed to be written in 1597.
 It is the second play in Shakespeare tetralogy dealing with the reigns of Richard II, Henry IV (two plays i.e.
Part I & II) and Henry V.
 Major Tetralogy of Shakespeare: Henry IV Part I and Part 2, Henry V and Richard II
 Minor Tetralogy of Shakespeare: Henry VI Part I , Part II & Part III, and Richard III
 Henry IV Part I depicts span of history that begins with Hotspur’s battle at Hamilton in Northumberland
against the Douglas, late in 1402 and ends with the defeat of the rebels at Shrewsbury in the middle of
Important Characters
 King Henry IV – King of England.
 Henry Prince of Wales – eldest son of Henry IV named ‘Hal’ or ‘Harry’
 Sir John Falstaff – a knight who befriends Hal
 Jon of Lancester – King’s 2nd son.
 Henry – Percy – also called Hotspur.
Henry IV, Part II
 It is a history play written between 1596-99.

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 It is seen as continuation of Part I.

Important Characters
 King Henry IV
 Prince Hal
 Prince John of Lancaster: Henry’s son
 Duke of Gloucester: Henry’s son
 Duke of Clarence: Henry’s son
 Earl of Northumberland
 Sir John Falstaff
Much Ado About Nothing
Important Characters
 Don Pedro – Prince of Aragon
 Benedick – A lord and soldier from Padua, companion of Don Pedro.
 Don John – Brother of Don Pedro (the bastard prince)
 Claudio of Florence – A count companion of Don Pedro (friend of Benedick)
 Leonato – Hero’s father & Governor of Messina
 Balthasar – Attendant of Don Pedro & Singer
 Hero – Daughter of Leonato
 Beatrice – Niece of Leonato
 Margaret – Waiting gentlewoman on Hero
 Ursula – Waiting gentlewoman on Beatrice
 It is a comedy by Shakespeare written in 1598.
 Leonato was living in the Italian town of Messina.
 Leonato shares his house with his daughter Hero, his niece Beatrice and his brother Antonio.
 Leonato’s friends who are returning from a war are welcomed by him. They are Don Pedro, a prince,
Claudio, a well-respected young nobleman and Benedick, a clever man.
 Illegitimate brother of Don Pedro, Don John is also the part of the crowd, and he always creates troubles
for others.
 Claudio falls in love with Hero while Benedick and Beatrice insult each other.
 To pass time and to make Beatrice and Benedick fall in love, they decide to play a game. They get success
in making Benedick and Beatrice fall in love.
 Don John decided to disrupt everybody’s happiness.
 He asked his companion Borachio to make love to Margaret who is Hero’s serving woman.
 He makes Claudio believe that Hero is unfaithful to him.
 The night watchman overhears Borachio’s bragging about his crime.
 The local police arrests Borachio and Conrad, who are Don John’s followers.
 Hero’s family members pretend that she is dead, but when the truth appears about her being innocence
Claudio grieves for her.
 Leonato tells Claudio that as a punishment he should tell everyone in the city about how innocent Hero
 Leonato wanted to marry Claudio to his niece, a girl much looking like Hero.
 The girl appeared to be Hero in the final scene.
 At the end of the play both the lovers were married, i.e. Claudio to Hero and Benedick to Beatrice.
 Beatrice tells Benedick –
“The princess jester, a very dull fool.”

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King Henry V
 It is the last play of the tetralogy of Shakespeare preceded by Richard II, Henry IV Part I, and Henry IV
Part II.
 It tells the story of King Henry V, focusing on events immediately before and after the battle of Agincourt
(1415) during the hundred year’s war.
Main Characters
 King Henry V – King of England
 Duke of Gloucester – Henry’s brother
 Duke of Clarence – Henry’s brother
 Duke of Exter – Henry’s uncle
 Duke of York – Henry’s cousin
Julius Caesar
 It is a tragedy play by Shakespeare written in 1599.
 Source – Thomas North’s translation of Plutarch’s Lives
 It is based on true events from Roman history which also includes Coriolanus and Antony and Cleopatra.
The play opens with Flavius and Marcellus.
 The play opens with commoners of Rome celebrating Caesar’s triumphant return from defeating
Pompey’s sons at the Battle of Munda. Caesar was one ear deaf (epilepsy).
 There is a discussion between Brutus and Cassius about killing of Caesar.
 Brutus joins the conspiracy to prevent Caesar from doing anything against the people of Rome. Antony
asked him coronation 3 times but all the times he refused.
 Brutus compares Caesar to a serpent egg.
 Caesar’s assassination is one of the most famous scene of the play occurring in act 3, scene 1.
 When Caesar comes in the Senate, the conspirators come closer by means of a petition brought by
Mettelus Cimber, pleading on behalf of his brother who is banished.
 As Caesar rejects the petition, Casca grazes Caesar in the back of his neck followed by other conspirators
and Brutus was the last to stab him.
 At this point Caesar utters the famous line, “Et tu Brute” (“You too Brutus”).
 The conspirators make clear that they committed this act for Rome, not for their own purpose.
 The crowd is in Brutus side, they listen their much quoted “Friends, Romans, Country men, lend me your
ears” by Marc Antony. He calls conspirators as “Honorable men”.
 Antony reads Caesar’s will, about how he was sympathetic to Romans and proved Brutus as wrong (will of
Caesar states that every man of Rome will get 75 Drachmas as well as land).
 Brutus and Cassius prepare a war against Mark Antony and Caesar’s adopted son Octavius.
 That night Caesar’s ghost appears warning him of defeat.
 Cassius is killed by his servant Pindarus.
 Brutus loses the battle and commits suicide by running on his own sword.
 The play ends with a tribute to Brutus by Antony who proclaims Brutus as “the noblest Roman of them
all”, because he was the only conspirator who acted in his mind, for the good of Rome.
 After Caesar, Triumvirs (Antony, Octavious and Lepidus) ruled Rome. They all appear in Antony and
 Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and the Irony of History is a book by Myron Taylor.
Important Quotes
1. “Friends, Romans, Countrymen
Lend me your ears

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I come to bury Caesar
not to praise him”
– by Mark Antony (Act 3, Scene 1)
2. “A Serpent egg
which hatch’s would as his kind, grow mischievous
and kill him in the shell.”
– by Brutus about Caesar
3. “Et tu Brute (And you Brutus)”
– The Fall Caesar to Brutus
4. “The noblest Roman of them all”
– by Mark Antony to Brutus
5. “Now let it work. Mischief, thou art afoot. Take thou what course thou wit.”
– Soliloquy by Mark Antony after his famous speech.
6. “Cowards die many times before their deaths. The valiant never taste of death but once.”
7. “The evil that man do lives after them,
The good is oft interred with their bones.”

As You Like It
Main characters

 Sir Roy de Boys

 Oliver de Boys – Eldest son of Sir Roy
 Jacques de Boys – Second son of Sir Roy
 Orlando de Boys – Youngest son of Sir Roy
 Adam – A faithful servant who follows Orlando into exile
 Dennis – Oliver’s servant who brings in Charles the wrestler
 Duke Senior – Exiled count of Duke Senior in the Forest of Arden
 Jacques – A discontented melancholic lord (also called a nobleman of Duke Senior)
 Phoebe – A proud shepherdess
 Silvius – A shepherd
 Audrey – A country girl
 Celia – Daughter of Duke Frederick
 Rosalind – Daughter of Duke Senior
 Duke Frederick – Brother of Duke Senior who usurps him
 Touchstone – A court fool or Jester
 Ganymede – she is Rosalind
 Aliena – she is Celia
 Source – “Rosalynde: Euphues Golden Legacie”, a novel written by Thomas Lodge, published in 1590. It
is a pastoral comedy by Shakespeare
 It features most famous quoted speech “All the world’s a stage” and also origin of the phrase “Too much a
good thing”.
 The play is set in duchy, France but most of the action takes place in the Forest of Arden.
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 Frederick after usurping Duchy, exiled his older brother Duke senior (He lives in Forest of Arden,
disguised as Robin Hood).
 But Duke’s daughter Rosalind is permitted to live with Celia (Frederick’s daughter) in her house.
 Celia and Rosalind decide to flee together along with Touchstone, a court clown.
 Rosalind now disguised as a young man named Ganymede and Celia disguised as Aliena, a poor lady.
 Orlando, who already fell in love with Rosalind meets Duke in the forest of Arden where Celia and
Rosalind were also there.
 Rosalind was also in love with Orlando, but in the wood she meets him as Ganymede.
 Ganymede says he will take Rosalind place and he and Orlando can act out their relationship.
 The shepherdess Phoebe with whom Silvius was in love, fell in love with Ganymede but Ganymede was
not at all interested.
 William, a shepherd falls in love with Audrey, a dull witted shepherdess, but Touchstone threatens to kill
him “a hundred and fifty ways”, because he himself was in love with Audrey.
 Finally, “Silvius and Phoebe” and “Ganymede and Orlando” are brought together in an argument about
who will get whom.
 Orlando saves his brother Oliver from a lioness and thus Oliver repent on mistreating Orlando.
 Oliver falls in love with Aliena, who is Celia actually, and they agree to marry.
 In the final scene, “Orlando and Rosalind”, “Oliver and Celia”, “Silvious and Phoebe” and “Touchstone
and Audrey” are married.
 Ultimately Frederick also repents and restores his brother’s property.

Important Quotes
1. All the World’s a Stage
“All the world’s a stage
And all the men and women merely players
They have their exits and their entrances
and one man in his time plays many parts.
His acts being seven ages.
At first, the infant Mewling,
and puking in the nurses arms,
Then the whining school boy, with his satchel
and shining morning face creeping like snail
unwillingly to school. And then the lover.
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
made to his mistress’s eyebrow. Then a soldier
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard
jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel
seeking the double reputation, even in the cannon’s mouth
And then the justice
In fair round belly with good capon lined
with eyes severe and beard of formal cut
full of wise saws and modern instances and so he plays his part.
The sixth age shifts,
into the lean and slippered pantaloon
with spectacles on nose and pouch on side
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice
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Turning again towards childish treble,
Pipes and whistles in his sound
Last scene of all, that ends this strange eventful history
is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
- (As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII, uttered by Jacques to Duke Senior in a monologue)
2. “A fool! A fool! I met a fool in the forest”.
3. “Men have died from time to time and worms have eaten them but not for love.”
4. “Love is merely a madness.”
5. “If I were a woman I would kiss as many of you as had beards that pleased me.”
– Rosalind
6. “Rosalind is among Shakespeare’s greatest and most fully realised female characters.”
– by Harold Bloom.

Twelfth Night or What You Will

 It is a comedy by Shakespeare written around 1601-02.
 The plot elements are drawn from the short story “Of Appolonius and Silla” by Barnabe Rich.
 It was published in the first folio of 1623.
 The play is set in Illyria and a pub named “The elephant”.
 Viola and Sebastian were twin sister and brother.
 Their ship is wrecked on the cost of Illiria and she comes ashore with the help of a captain, but she loses
her contact with her brother Sebastian whom she believes to be dead.
 She disguises herself as a young man named Cesario, she enters the service of Duke Orsino through the
help of the captain who saved her in the shipwreck.
 Duke Orsino of Illyria was in love with Olivia. Instead Olivia was mourning for her dead brother and
refuses to entertain any marriage proposals.
 As Viola wishes to work in Olivia’s home but she refuses to talk with any strangers, so she disguised as
Cesario goes to work in the household of Duke Orsino.
 Viola (as Cesario) quickly becomes favorite of Orsino and becomes his page.
 Viola finds herself falling in love with Orsino but difficult to pursue as Orsino believes her to be a man.
 But when Orsino sends Cesario to deliver his love message to Olivia, Olivia herself falls for the beautiful
Cesario, believing her to be a man.
 Here becomes a love triangle and everyone is miserable.


Viola as Cesario Olivia

 There are other members in Olivia’s household as: Sir Toby Belch, her rowdy and drunkard uncle, Sir
Andrew Aguecheek, who is trying hopelessly to court Olivia, Maria, Olivia’s pretty waiting gentlewoman,
Feste, clever clown of the house, Malvolio, prudish steward of Olivia’s household.

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 Maria sets a practical joke to make Malvolio think that Olivia is in love with him, because Malvolio always
used to make fun of Sir Toby Belch and all others.
 Maria forges a letter supposedly from Olivia, addressed to her beloved (as appeared on the letter
M.O.A.I) telling him that if he wants to earn her favour, he should dress in yellow stockings and crossed
garters, act haughtily, smile constantly and refuse himself to anyone.
 Malvolio happily follows the command filled with dreams of marrying Olivia.
 Meanwhile Sebastian (brother of Viola) who is still alive but believes his sister Viola to be dead arrives in
Illyria along with his friend and protector Antonio. Antonio and Orsino were old enemies.
 Sir Andrew Aguecheek, a suitor of Olivia, observing Olivia’s attraction to Cesario, challenges Cesario for a
 Sir Toby Belch found this duel entertaining so he eggs on Sir Andrew.
 Meanwhile, Sebastian who looks like disguised Viola appears on the scene.
 Sir Andrew and Toby Belch end up coming to blows with Sebastian, thinking he is Cesario.
 Olivia enters and encountered Sebastian and thinking that he is Cesario, she asks him to marry her.
 Sebastian baffled (puzzled) since he has never seen her before. But he found Olivia wealthy and beautiful
so he decided to go with her.
 Meanwhile Antonio is arrested by Orsino’s officers and begs Cesario for help thinking him as Sebastian.
 Viola denies about knowing Antonio. Antonio is dragged off and cries Sebastian has betrayed him. Thus
Viola found a new hope that her brother is still alive.
 On the other hand, Malvolio is locked in a small and dark room for his treatment of his madness as he
dressed awkwardly and they torment him.
 Feste, a priest, dresses up as ‘Sir Topas’ and pretends to examine Malvolio. He declares him definitely
insane in spite of his protests.
 Sir Toby Belch thinks of a better joke and allows Malvolio to send a letter to Olivia in which he asks to be
 Eventually, Viola (still disguised as Cesario) and Orsino make their way to Olivia’s house. Olivia welcomes
Cesario as her new husband thinking him to be Sebastian whom she had just married.
 Orsino becomes furious, Sebastian also appears on the scene and all is revealed.
 The siblings are re-united and Orsino realizes he loves Viola as he came to know she is a woman. Orsino
asks Viola to marry him.
 Sir Toby Belch and Maria also got married privately.
 Finally all remembers about Malvolio locked in dark room, they all let him out of the room.
 Malvolio learns about all tricks and storms off leaving happy couples to their celebrations.

Important Quotes from Twelfth Night

1. “Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness and others have greatness thrust
upon them.”
2. “If music be the food of love, Play on,
Give me excess of it; that surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.”
3. “Journeys end in lovers meeting,
Every wise man’s doth know.”
4. “Dost, thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?”
Note: The title of Somerset Mugham’s novel “Cakes and Ale” (1930) has been taken from this line.
5. “By innocence I swear, and my youth, I have one heart, one bosom and one truth. And that no woman
has, nor never none shall mistress be of it, save I alone. And so adieu, good madam; never more will I my
master’s tears to you deplore.”
6. M.O.A.I – These alphabets appears on the forged letter of Olivia made by Maria for Malvolio. Malvolio
thinks it to be his own name.

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 The tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark is a tragedy written in 1600-01.
 It is the longest play of Shakespeare.
 It has been described as “The world’s most filmed story after Cinderella”.
 It is set in the kingdom of Denmark.
 Claudius murders his own brother King Hamlet, father of Hamlet to take over the throne and marries his
brother’s wife Gertrude.
 There is an expectation that Norwegian prince, Fortinbras will attack Denmark.
 The play opens on a cold winter midnight on a platform before the castle “of Elsinore”, the Danish royal
 The sentries Bernardo, Marcellus and Hamlet’s friend Horatio encounters a ghost who looks like king
 They try to attack it with daggers but it escapes and they tell all these scenes to Hamlet.
 Claudius and Gertrude try to persuade Hamlet about his mourning.
 Hamlet reproaches his mother for being unfaithful by marrying her brother-in-law as:
 “O’ that this too too solid flesh would melt”
 Claudius sends two student friends named Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to discover Hamlet mood and
behaviour but Hamlet quickly knows about their spying.
 That night ghost appears to Hamlet and tells him that Claudius has murdered him by pouring poison in
 Poison used here is – Juice of cursed hebenon.
 Polonius is Claudius’ trusted chief counsellor and his son Laertes is about to resume his studies in France.
 Ophelia is Polonius’s daughter who is courting Hamlet, but she is warned against it by her brother and
 Although Hamlet was unconvinced about ghost truth but he asked a troop of actors at Elsionare to stage a
play re-enacting his father’s murder and watching Claudius reaction.
 After seeing, king is murdered with poison in ears, Claudius abruptly rises and leaves the room and
Hamlet finds it as positive sign.
 While way to his mother’s chamber he is confronted by Claudius who was making prayer.
 But Hamlet doesn’t kill him thinking that “If I kill him during pray his soul will go to heaven”.
 Hamlet accuses Ophelia for being immodest while she returns all his love letters, so he dismisses her to
 In Gertrude’s chamber a furious row erupts between Gertrude and Hamlet and Polonius was spying
behind the tapestry.
 While Polonius makes noise, Hamlet stabs him, thinking him as Claudius and killed Polonius.
 The same time Hamlet ghost appears and reprimand Hamlet for his inaction and harsh words. Gertrude
could not see the ghost and thought Hamlet to be mad.
 Claudius sends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to accompany Hamlet to England with a letter to English
king that reads, as soon as Hamlet reaches England, he must be executed.
 Ophelia falls in deep grief on her father’s death and her brother Laertes return from France on his father’s
death and sister’s madness.
 Claudius convinces Laertes that Hamlet is solely responsible for his father’s death.
 Hamlet returns from England alone escaping the English King.
 Claudius proposes a fencing match between Laertes and Hamlet to kill their differences.
 Laertes was give poison tipped sword and Claudius plans to offer Hamlet a poisoned wine if Laertes fails
to kill him.
 Gertrude reports that Ophelia is drowned.
 Hamlet and Laertes fight over Ophelia’s grave on the matter of Hamlet confesses his love for Ophelia.

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 Hamlet reveals the secret to his friend Horatio that he had changed the Claudius letter with a forged one
indicating Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to be put to death.
 Gertrude drinks the poisoned wine made for Hamlet and dies.
 In the fight between Laertes and Hamlet, Hamlet leads 2 to 0.
 Hamlet is stabbed by Laertes and in a foil their swords are exchanged and Laertes is also stabbed to death.
 From the same poisoned sword he stabs Claudius also.
 Horatio remains alive to tell the tale.
 Hamlet named Fortinbras to be his successor.
Important Quotes
 “One may Smile and Smile and be a villain.”
 Claudius mistakes Rosencrantz for Guildenstern.
 Rosencrantz and Guildenstern overhear Hamlet speaking in riddles to Polonius.
 “‘To be, or not to be’, that is the question.”
 It is a soliloquy by Hamlet when he contemplates death and suicide.
 The speech functions within the play to explain Hamlet’s hesitation to directly and immediately avenge
his father’s murder (in Act I) on his uncle, stepfather and new kind Claudius.
 “Thus conscience does make cowards of all.”
The Merry Wives of Windsor
 It is a comedy by Shakespeare, written around 1597.
 It features the character Sir John Falstaff the fat king who is previously featured in Henry IV. Some
elements of “The Merry Wives of Windsor” may have been adapted from Il Pecorone a collection of
stories by Sir Geovanni Fiorentino.
 It is written in V acts.
 The play starts with the discussion of Justice Shallow, Master Slender and Sir Hugh Evans about the anger
of Sir John Falstaff.
 Evans wanted Slender to marry Anne Page.
 Falstaff settles in at the Garter Inn, where Falstaff reveals his plan to seduce Mistress Page and Mistress
Ford, both women had control over their husband’s money which Falstaff desired.
 The women refuse the letters sent through Pistol and Nim, by Falstaff.
 Mistress Quickly talks to Slender’s servant Simple, sent by Evans, and agrees to talk to Anne Page about
Slender’s match.
 Doctor Caius, master of Anne was also in love with her, so he blames Evans for encouraging Slender to
marry Anne.
 He threatens Mrs. Quickly also for giving consent to talk to Anne Page.
 Anne Page’s mother Mistress Page wanted her daughter to be married to Doctor Caius while her father
Mr. Page wanted her to be married to Master Slender but Anne was in love with Master Fanton.
 Fanton enters, who was also in love with Anne Page.
 Mistress Page and Mistress Ford enter with Falstaff’s letter and find both letters are same.
 Both pledge to humiliate Falstaff.
 Mr. Page doesn’t think that his wife will fall for Falstaff but Mr. Ford does not believe his wife.
 Ford disguises himself as Mr. Brook to find Falstaff’s success.
 Ford asked Falstaff to seduce his wife.
 Mistress Ford and Page make fool to Falstaff by hiding him in a laundry basket and throwing him in the
river with the basket.
 When Falstaff tries to seduce the woman for the second time, he was chased away by Mr. Ford.
 Mistress Ford suggests Falstaff to wear the clothes of her maid’s fat aunt to escape in disguise. He does and
when Mr. Ford arrives, he beats Falstaff and chases him away because he hates the fat aunt.

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 Falstaff is surrounded by disguised children and disguised Mistress Quickly as a Fairy. They burn Falstaff
with candles and encircle him and pinch him.
 Caius is enraged because he married a boy who was in Anne’s outfit. Same happened with Slender as well.
 Anne and Fenton were married.
 Eventually they all leave together and Mistress Page even invites Falstaff to come with them –
“Let’s everyone go home, and laugh this sport over by a country fire, Sir John and all.”
 Falstaff is a character in two novels of Shakespeare –
 Henry IV
 Merry Wives of Windsor
 Caius is a character in two novels of Shakespeare –
 King Lear
 Merry Wives of Windsor

Troilus and Cressida

 It was described by Frederick S. Boas as one of Shakespeare's problem plays. The play ends on a very
bleak note with the death of the noble Trojan Hector and destruction of the love between Troilus and
 Troilus and Cressida is set during the later years of the Trojan War, faithfully following the plotline of
the Iliad from Achilles' refusal to participate in battle, to Hector's death. Essentially, two plots are followed
in the play.
 In one, Troilus, a Trojan prince (son of Priam), woos Cressida, another Trojan. They profess their
undying love, before Cressida is exchanged for a Trojan prisoner of war. As he attempts to visit her in the
Greek camp, Troilus glimpses Diomedes flirting with his beloved Cressida, and decides to avenge her
 While this plot gives the play its name, it accounts for only a small part of the play's run time. The majority
of the play revolves around the leaders of the Greek and Trojan forces, Agamemnon and Priam,
 Agamemnon and his cohorts attempt to get the proud Achilles to return to battle and face Hector, who
sends the Greeks a letter telling them of his willingness to engage in one-on-one combat with a Greek
soldier. Ajax is originally chosen as this combatant, but makes peace with Hector before they are able to
 Achilles is prompted to return to battle only after his protege Patroclus is killed by Hector before the
Trojan walls. A series of skirmishes conclude the play, during which Achilles catches Hector and has
the Myrmidons kill him. The conquest of Troy is left unfinished, as the Trojans learn of the death of their

All’s Well That Ends Well

 It is a comedy by Shakespeare. It is also considered to be a problem play of Shakespeare. It is based on
Boccaccio's “Decameron”.
Main characters
 Helena: A low born Spanish countess
 King of France
 Duke of Florence
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 Bertram: Countess’ son
 Diana: Daughter of Capilet
 Capilet: An old widow of Florence
 Helena is a character in the following plays of Shakespeare:
 A Midsummer Night’s Dream
 All’s Well That Ends well
 The play opens in Rousillon (a Catalan province of Spain) where a young count Bertram bids farewell to
his mother the Countess and Helena as he leaves for the court of Paris with old lord Lafew at French
King’s order.
 Bertram has to replace his father who has recently died as King’s ward and attendant.
 Helena is a low born woman and a ward of countess whose father has recently died, expresses
unrequitable love for Bertram.
 Bertram, Parolles and Lafew arrived in Paris.
 In Rousillon, Helen confesses her love for Bertram in spite of social differences to Countess.
 They all agree that Helena should travel to Paris to attempt to cure the king.
 Bertram along with other lords goes in a Tuscan war and Parolles remains with the king.
 Helena convinces king for his treatment by giving logic that her father was a renowned doctor.
 A deal is made between the King and Helena that if king die, she will be put to death but if he lives she
may choose a husband from the court.
 The king is cured and he asked Helena to choose a husband in the court. She chooses Bertram and the
king sealed her wish.
 Bertram balks by asking the king to let him his own eyes choose who he marries; he scorned Helena’s
poverty and lack of good title.
 King offers money and title both to Helena and praises her.
 But Bertram refuses again. King threatens Bertram with ruin and his wrath. On this Bertram consented for
 Bertram sends Helena to Rousillion and himself goes on war in Italy.
 In Italy Bertram seduces local virgins.
 Helena follows to Italy and befriends Diana, a virgin with whom Bertram is infatuated. The both arrange
to Helena to take Diana’s place in bed.
 Diana obtains Bertram’s ring in exchange for one of Helena’s. In this way Helena without Bertram’s
knowledge, consummated their marriage and wears his ring.
 Helena returns to Spanish countess who is horrified at what her son has done and claimed Helena as her
child in Bertram’s place.
 Helena fakes her death. Bertram thinking that he is free from her now comes home.
 Bertram tries to marry a local lord’s daughter, but Diana shows up and breaks the engagement.
 Helena appears and explains the ring swap, announcing that she has fulfilled Bertram’s challenge.
 Bertram is impressed by all she has done to win him and swears his love to her.
 Thus all ends well. Lafew accepts Parolles as a servant. The king offers Diana a dowry and her choice of
Measure for Measure
 The first performance of this play occurred in 1604 so it is believed to be written in 1603 or 1604.
 It is regarded as a problem play.
 The play’s main themes include justice, mortality and mercy in Vienna and the dichotomy between
corruption and purity.

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Main Characters

 Vincentio, the duke – He appears disguised as Frier Lodowick.

 Angelo – the deputy who rules in Duke’s absence.
 Claudio – A young gentleman.
 Juliet – beloved of Claudio, Pregnant with his child.
 Isabella – sister of Claudio.
 Mariana – betrothed to Angelo.
 Mistress Overdane – Manager of a Viennese Brothel.
 Pompey Bum – A pimp who acquires customers for Mistress Overdane. Harold Bloom described
him as “a triumph of Shakespeare's art, a vitalistic presence who refuses to be bound by any
division between comedy and tragedy”.
 In Vienna, there were illegal brothels, STD’s and illegitimate children in number.
 Duke Vincentio was fed up with these sins and ways of his people but at the same time he does not want
to be the bad guy by enforcing strict laws.
 Duke announced his heading out and named Angelo as in-charge in his absence, hoping Angelo will clean
the streets of Vienna.
 Claudio, a young gentleman of Vienna, is arrested by Angelo for, Claudio rather betrothed to Juliet has
made her pregnant before marriage but with her consent.
 Claudio is sentenced to death by Angelo to set an example to other Viennese citizens.
 Isabella, sister of Claudio, a virtuous, religious and chaste girl, when hears about her brother’s sentence,
she goes to Angelo to beg the life of her brother.
 Initially Angelo refuses but later asked Isabella for a deal – He will let Claudio live if she agrees to have
sexual intercourse with him. Isabella is shocked and immediately refuses.
 In the way, Isabella confronts Duke Vincentio who is now disguised as Friar Lodowick and roaming in the
city of Vienna to enquire about Angelo’s administration.
 Isabella and Lodowick make a plot according to which Isabella will agree to have sex with Angelo but in
her place Mariana will go. Mariana was once betrothed to Angelo but she could not pay him the dowry
because her brother’s ship was wrecked in the sea.
 Isabella had asked to intercourse with Angelo in the dark and sends Mariana instead. After this act Angelo
did not stick to his promise of leaving Claudio fearing revenge by him.
 Angelo asked for the execution of Claudio and desired for the head of the dead Claudio.
 A villain, Barnardine whom duke wished to execute and send his head to Angelo in place of Claudio’s
head but Barnardine refused to be executed.
 Then a pirate named Ragozine who is of similar appearance to Claudio has recently died of fever, so his
head is cut and sent to Angelo.
 Isabella is told that her brother is executed. So when the duke returned to his court, Isabella and Mariana
publicly petition him.
 When duke asked Angelo about it, he denies.
 Now Claudio is brought in front of Angelo and he confesses his guilt.
 The duke asked Angelo to be executed but Isabella takes pity on him and begs duke for Angelo’s life.
 The duke pardon’s Angelo as well as Claudio and he himself proposes to Isabella.
 Isabella at proposal, is completely silent either because she is so happy that she is speechless or she is
horrified that another powerful man has propositioned her, when she wanted to become Nun.

Famous Quotes from Measure for Measure

 “Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt”.

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 “Life… is a paradise to what we fear of death”.

 “Well, heaven forgive him!

and forgive us all!
Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall:
Some run from brakes of ice, and answer none:
And some condemned for a fault alone”. (by Escalus in Act 2, Scene 1)
 “O’ it is excellent to have a giant strength but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant.”
 “The best of rest is sleep, and that thou oft provok’st yet grossly fear’st thy death, which is no more”.
 “Music oft hath such a charm to make bad good, and good provoke to harm.”
 “Let me hear you speak farther. I have spirit to do anything that appears not foul in the truth of my
 It is sub-titled “The Moor of Venice”.
 It is a tragedy of passion.
 S. T. Coleridge applied the term “Motiveless Malignity” to the character ‘Iago’.
 The major source of the play is Clinthio’s Hecatommithi.

 Othello begins on a street in Venice where a rich man Roderigo and Iago used to live.
 Roderigo wanted to marry Desdemona, daughter of Brabantio (Brabanzio), but they found that
Desdemona has secretly married to Othello.
 Brabantio, the Venetian senator, demands Othello’s arrest but ultimately he accepts the wholeheartedness
of Desdemona’s love for Othello, when they appear before the Senate.
 Iago is scheming against Othello because Othello chooses Cassio as his lieutenant instead of Iago.
 There is a Turkish attack on Cyprus and Othello leaves immediately with Desdemona, Iago, Cassio and
 In Cyprus, Iago contrives to discredit Cassio, and Othello dismisses Cassio.
 In a soliloquy Iago explains to the audience that “Eliminating Cassio is the first step in his plan to ruin
 Iago advises Cassio to appear to Desdemona and implants in Othello’s mind a suspicion regarding
Desdemona and Cassio.
 In another soliloquy, Iago tells that – he will frame Casio and Desdemona as lovers to make Othello
 Desdemona is quite sympathetic to Cassio’s request and promises that she will do everything she can, to
make Othello forgive his former lieutenant.
 Othello inquires whether it was Cassio who just parted from his wife.
 Iago begins to kindle Othello’s fire of jealousy and replies – “No sure, I cannot think it. That he would
steal away so guilty – like seeing you coming”. This act deepens the Othello’s suspicion.
 Desdemona accidentally drops a handkerchief; Othello’s first token of love, which Emilia (wife of Iago)
picks up mentioning to the audience that Iago has always wanted her to steal it for him.
 Iago gives the handkerchief to Cassio and Cassio gives it to his mistress ‘Bianca’, a prostitute.
 Iago informs Othello that he has seen ‘Cassio’ wipe his beard with Desdemona’s handkerchief, the first gift
that Othello gave her.
 Othello humiliate Desdemona and accuses her of being a whore.
 Iago urges Roderigo to kill Cassio but he manages only to wound him. Iago kills Roderigo.

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 Othello kills Desdemona for her infidelity in her bed chamber.
 In the presence of Venetian representatives Emilia reveals Iago’s guilt and Iago kills his wife in rage.
 Othello cries for his guilt and wounds Iago. Othello makes a speech about how he would like to be
remembered, then stabs himself.
 The play closes with a speech by Lodovico. He gives Othello’s house and goods to Graziano and orders
that Iago be executed.
 Cassio takes command in Cyprus.
 Desdemona’s last words are especially cryptic; when asked who killed her, she remarks “Nobody, I
myself… commend me to my kind Lord”.
 Othello’s speech: –
“Roast me in sulfur! Wash me in steep-down gulfs of molten fire!”

Important Quotes from Othello

1. “O’ Beware, my Lord, of jealousy
It is the green ey’d monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on.”
2. “Men in rage strike those that wish them best.”
3. “I would not put a thief in my mouth to steal my brains.”
4. “I kissed thee ere I killed thee.
No way but this, killing myself, to die upon a kiss.”
5. “O’ God, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains!”
– by Cassio (Scene III, act II)
6. “Come be a man: Drown thy self? Drown cats and blind puppies.”
7. “Have not we affections and desire for sport, and frailty, as men have?”
8. “If I were the Moor, I would not want to be Iago.”
9. “There is the magic in the web”
– Shakespeare (Act 3, Scene IV)
10. “To mourn a mischief that is past and gone, is the next way to draw new mischief on.”
11. “To be poor but content is actually to be quite rich. But you can have endless riches and still be as poor as
anyone if you are always afraid of losing your richness.”
12. “There are many events in the womb of time which will be delivered.”
13. “When devil do the worst sins they first put on the pretense of goodness and innocence as I am doing

The Tragedy of King Lear

 It is a tragedy by Shakespeare.
 It is derived from the legend of “Leir of Britain”, a mythological pre-Roman Celtic king.
 In 1681, the play was revised with a happy non tragic ending by Nahum Tate.
Important Characters

 King Lear: – King of Britain

 Goneril (eldest), Regan (Middle), Cordelia (youngest): – Three daughters of King Lear
 Duke of Albany: – Goneril’s husband
 Duke of Cornwall: – Regan’s husband
 Earl of Gloucester: – General of Lear’s court
 Earl of Kent: – Later disguised as Caius
 Edgar: – Gloucester’s son
 Edmund: – Gloucester’s illegitimate son
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 Fool: – Lear’s fool
 King of France: – Suitor and later husband of Cordelia
 King Lear of Britain while retiring from his duties wanted to divide his monarchy around his three
daughters Goneril, Regan and Cordelia.
 He declares that he’ll offer the largest share to the one who loves him most.
 Ultimately, Lear divided his property into two parts only because his younger daughter Cordelia refuses to
say anything (“Nothing my lord”), it made Lear infuriated and he didn’t give anything to Cordelia.
 Earl of Kent objects to Lear’s unfair treatment of Cordelia. Upon this king Lear is enraged and banishes
him from the country.
 Earlier Duke of Burgundy was a suitor to Cordelia but after she was disinherited, Burgundy withdraws his
suit, but king of France is impressed and marries her.
 Meanwhile Gloucester has introduced his illegitimate son Edmund to Kent.
 Lear announces that he will live with Goneril and Regan alternately. He reserves 100 knights for him.
 Goneril and Regan speak privately, revealing that their declamations of love were fake and they viewed
Lear as foolish old man.
 Edmund resents his illegitimate status and plots to dispose of his legitimate older brother Edgar.
 Edmund tricks Gloucester (his father) with a forged letter making him think that Edgar plans to usurp the
 Kent returns from exile in disguise under the name Caius and Lear hires him as his servant.
 Lear and Caius quarrel with Oswald, Goneril’s steward.
 Lear discovers that now Goneril no longer respects him and she ordered him to behave properly and
reduce his retinue from 100.
 The fool mocks Lear’s misfortune.
 Edmund learns from Curan, a courtier that there is likely to be war between Albany and Cornwall and
Regan & Cornwall are to arrive Gloucester’s house that evening.
 Taking advantage of the situation Edmund fakes an attack by Edgar, and Gloucester disinherits Edgar.
 When Caius took the message of Lear to Regan, he quarrels with Oswald again and thus Caius is put in
the stocks by Regan and her husband Cornwall.
 When Lear arrive there and objected his messenger’s mistreatment but Regan dismissed her father as did
by Goneril. Lear is enraged but impotent.
 Goneril also arrives there and supports Regan against King Lear.
 Lear rushes out into a storm to rant against his ungrateful daughters accompanied by a mocking fool.
Lear’s only companion is Fool and Caius now.
 Wandering on the heath after storm, Edgar meets Lear, in guise of a madman named Tom O’Bedlam.
 Edmund betrays Gloucester to Cornwall, Regan and Goneril. He reveals on evidence that his father,
Gloucester knows of a French invasion to reinstate King Lear and in fact French army has landed in
 Now Edmund leaves with Goneril to inform her husband Albany about the French attack.
 Gloucester is arrested by Regan and Cornwall. They gouge out Gloucester’s eyes but were attacked by a
servant who could not bear the devastating scene. Regan kills the servant.
 Regan tells Gloucester that he is betrayed by his bastard son. Edgar meets his blind father on the heath.
 Gloucester doesn’t recognize Edgar and begs Tom to take him to a cliff at Dover so that he may jump to
 Goneril discovers Edmund more attractive than her own husband Albany whom she regards coward.
 Now Albany has developed a conscience and is disgusted by the sister’s treatment to King Lear, and
Gloucester denounces his wife.
 Cornwall is dead and Regan is widowed.

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 Kent (Casius) took her to French army commanded by Cordelia, but Lear is half mad embarrassed by his
early follies.
 At Regan’s instigation, Albany joins his forces with her against French.
 Regan and Goneril fight through letters about who is the correct match for Edmund.
 Edgar pretends Gloucester by changing his voice that he has miraculously survived a great fall. By now
Lear is completely mad.
 On Regan’s order, Oswald tries to kill Gloucester but killed by Edgar. Edgar finds in Edmund’s pocket a
letter by Goneril in which she encourages Edmund to kill her husband Albany and take her as his wife.
 Kent and Cordelia take charge of Lear whose madness slowly passes.
 Regan, Goneril, Albany and Edmund meet their forces to fight against French.
 Albany insists that they’ll fight the French but will not harm King Lear, or Cordelia.
 The two sisters lust for Edmund who has made promises to both.
 Edmund plots the death of Albany, Lear and Cordelia.
 Edgar gives Goneril’s letter to Albany.
 Battle starts and British defeat the French, and Lear and Cordelia are captured. Edmund sends Lear and
Cordelia for execution.
 Regan now declares that she will marry Edmund but Albany proclaims Edmund a traitor.
 Regan is poisoned by Goneril and is dead.
 Edgar disguises and appears and challenges Edmund for a duel. Nobody recognizes him.
 Edmund is fatally wounded by Edgar. Albany shows the death letter to Goneril and she flees in shame and
 Edgar revels himself and reports that Gloucester is dead from the shock and joy of learning that Edgar is
still alive after Edgar revealed himself the truth.
 Goneril commits suicide. The dying Edmund decides to save Lear and Cordelia but he was too late.
 When Albany sends men to countermand Edmund’s order, he saw King Lear bearing Cordelia’s corpse
in his arms, who survived by killing the executor.
 Kent appears and King Lear recognizes him.
 Albany urges Lear to resume the throne. Lear is overwhelmed with joy and dies like Gloucester.
 Albany then asks Kent and Edgar to take charge of the throne. Kent denies.
 Finally Albany (in Quarto version) or Edgar (in Folio version) implies that he will now become king.
 King Lear refers to his sorrow and outrage as hysteria (hysterica passio), a disease that was thought to afflict
women. Lear compares himself to a woman whose uterus is “wandering around inside her body”.

Important Quotes from King Lear

 “When we are born, we cry that we are come to this great stage of fools.”
 “As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods. They kill us for their sport.”
 “Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.”
 “O, let me kiss that hand!
King Lear: Let me wipe it first; it smells of mortality”
 “Love is not love when it is mingled with regards that stands aloof from the entire point.”
 “In jest there is truth.”
 “Love and be silent.”
 “I can not have my heart into my mouth. I love your majesty accordingly to my bend no more no less”
 “I’ll teach you differences”
 “The prince of darkness is a gentleman”
 “I’m a man. More sinned against the sinning.”
 “The worst is not, so long as we can say, this is the worst.”
 King Lear: “A Plague upon you murderers, traitors all!
I might have saved her (Cordelia), stay a little Ha?

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What is ‘t thou say’st –
‘Her voice was ever soft,
Gentle and low, an excellent thing in women.
I killed the slave that was a hanging thee’”.
 Full title – The Tragedy of Macbeth
 It is the last tragedy of Shakespeare in complete form.
 Source – Holinshed Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland (1587)
 Thomas Middleton is believed to have adapted and abridged the original play written by Shakespeare.
 It is set in Scotland.
 It is the shortest tragedy of Shakespeare.
 The play opens with discussion of three witches amidst thunder and lightning. The witches decide that
their next meeting shall be with Macbeth.
 On the other hand King Duncan of Scotland was informed that his general Macbeth, who is Thane of
Glamis, and Banquo have just defeated the allied forces of Norway and Ireland, which were led by
traitorous McDonald and the Thane of Cawdor.
 Macbeth, the king’s kinsman is praised for his bravery and fighting powers.
 When Macbeth and Banquo were wandering on a heath, the three witches enter and greet them with
 While Banquo challenges them, the witches address Macbeth as - “Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor”
and that he shall “be king hereafter”.
 When Banquo asks his own fortune the witches reply paradoxically as he will be less successful, yet more.
He will father a line of kings though he himself will not become king.
 As Macbeth and Banquo were wandering at the scene, another Thane Ross informs that Macbeth is
bestowed with the title Thane of Cawdor (as thane of Cawdor is to be put to death for treason).
 The first prophecy of witches was immediately fulfilled and Macbeth now becomes ambitious to become a
 King Duncan welcomes and praises Macbeth and Banquo, and declares that he will spend night at
Macbeth’s castle at Inverness and declares his son Malcolm as his heir.
 Macbeth sends a message to his wife Lady Macbeth telling her about witches’ prophecies.
 Lady Macbeth wishes Macbeth to murder king Duncan in order to obtain the kingship.
 At Inverness (Castle of Macbeth) Lady Macbeth successfully persuades Macbeth to kill King Duncan that
very night.
 Macbeth and Lady Macbeth plan to drink the chamberlains of King Duncan so they can put blame of
king’s murder to these chamberlains.
 When Duncan is asleep, Macbeth stabs him but he is shaken by a number of supernatural portents
including hallucination of a bloody dagger.
 Macbeth is so shaken that Lady Macbeth had to take charge. After murder they placed the bloody dagger
in the hands of sleeping servants of King Duncan.
 The next morning, Lennox, a Scottish nobleman and Macduff, the royal Thane of Fife arrives. When
Macbeth took them to King’s chamber they found the king dead.
 Macbeth murders the guards to prevent them from professing their innocence, but claims he did so in a fit
of anger over their misdeeds.
 Duncan’s son Malcolm and Donalbain flee to England and Ireland respectively fearing they will also be
 Now Macbeth assumes the throne as the new king of Scotland.

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 Now Banquo remembers the prophecies of the witches about how his descendants would inherit the
throne, this makes him suspicious of Macbeth.
 Macbeth also remembers the Banquo’s prophecy. So he hires three men to kill Banquo and his son
Fleance. The men succeeded in killing Banquo but Fleance escapes. Macbeth becomes furious as he fears
that his power remains insecure as long as Fleance remains alive.
 At a banquet, Banquo’s ghost enters and sits in Macbeth’s place.
 Macbeth raves fearfully startling his guests as the ghost is visible to only Macbeth.
 Lady Macbeth pacifies all the guests saying her husband is merely afflicted with a familiar and harmless
 The ghost departs and returns back to create riotous anger and fear in Macbeth. Lady Macbeth tells all
lords to depart.
 Macbeth is disturbed now so he visits the three witches once again and asked them to reveal the truth of
their prophecies. Here appears the Cauldron Scene.
 The witches summon horrible apparitions each of which offer predictions and further prophecies to allay
Macbeth’s fear. The witches gives three prophesies:
 First: – They conjure an armored head which tells Macbeth to beware of Macduff.
 Second: – A bloody child tells him that no one born of a woman shall be able to harm him.
 Third: – A crowned child holding a tree states that Macbeth will be safe until Great Birnam Wood
comes to Dunsinane Hill.
 Macbeth feels relieved and secure because he knows that all men are born of women and forests cannot
 Macbeth also asked whether Banquo’s son will ever reign in Scotland. Witches make him realize all
Banquo’s son will acquire kingship in numerous countries.
 After all witches perform dance and leave.
 Lennox enters and informed that Macduff has fled to England.
 Macbeth orders to slaughter Macduff, his wife and children. Although Macduff is no longer in his castle
but everyone in his castle was put to death including his wife lady Macduff and young son.
 Meanwhile, Lady Macbeth becomes wrecked with guilt from the crimes she and her husband have
 At night in the King’s palace at Dunsinane, a doctor and a gentlewoman discuss Lady Macbeth’s strange
habit of sleepwalking.
 Lady Macbeth enters with a candle in her hand bemoaning the murders of King Duncan, Lady Macduff
and Banquo.
 Her belief that “nothing can wash away the blood on her hands” is an ironic reversal of her earlier claim to
Macbeth that – “A little water clears us of this deed.”
 In England, Macduff is informed by Ross that his entire family is slaughtered. Macduff is stricken with
grief and vows revenge.
 Prince Malcolm, Duncan’s son has succeeded in raising an army in England and Macduff joins him as he
rides to Scotland to challenge Macbeth’s forces. They are also supported by Scottish nobles who are
frightened by murderous behaviour of Macbeth.
 While Prince Malcolm’s army encamped in Birnam Wood, the soldiers are ordered to cut down and
carry tree limbs for their camouflage.
 Macbeth receives news that Lady Macbeth has killed herself, causing him to sink into a deep and
pessimistic despair and deliver his “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow” soliloquy.
 Although he was certain that witches prophecies guarantee his invincibility but is struck with fear when he
learns that English army is advancing on Dunsinane shielded with boughs cut from Birnam Wood, an
apparent fulfilment of one of the prophecies.
 A battle starts between Macduff and Macbeth. Macbeth boasts that he has no fear of Macduff as he cannot
be killed by any man born of woman.

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 Macduff declares that he was “from his mother’s womb, untimely ripped and is not of woman born”
fulfilling the second prophecy.
 Macbeth realizes that he misinterpret witches prophecies.
 Macduff kills Macbeth and beheads him, fulfilling the remaining prophecies.
 Macduff carries Macbeth’s head onstage and Malcolm discusses how order has been restored.
 Malcolm has now become the king of Scotland.
 Although Malcolm not Fleance is placed on the throne, the witches prophecies concerning Banquo’s was
known to the audience that James VI of Scotland (also James I of England) was supposedly a descendant
of Banquo.
Important Quotes of Macbeth
1. “By pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.”
2. “So fair and foul a day I have not seen.”
3. “The love that follows us is sometimes is our trouble, which still we thank as love.”
4. “If it were done when tis done then twere well it were done quickly.”
5. “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time.”
6. “Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the
stage and then is heard no more.
It is a tale told by an idiot, full of
Sound and Fury, signifying nothing.”
Note: The novel “Sound and Fury” by William Faulkner is taken from this paragraph.
7. “Double, double, tail and trouble
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.”
8. “What is done is done”.
9. “Come what come may
Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.”
10. “There’s a dagger in men’s smile: the near in blood, the nearer bloody.”
– Donalbian
11. “Fair is foul and fouls is fair: Hover through the fog and filthy air.”

Antony and Cleopatra

 Mark Antony, Octavious and Lepidus are the triumvirs of Roman Republic.
 Mark Antony has neglected his soldierly duty after being deceived by Egypt’s queen Cleopatra.
 Antony ignores Rome’s domestic problems including the fact that his third wife Fulvia rebelled against
Octavious and died.
 Octavious calls Antony back to Rome from Alexandria in order to help him fight against Sextus Pompey,
Menecrates and Menas three notorious pirates of the Mediterranean.
 In Alexandria, Antony departs for Rome in spite of being stopped by Cleopatra. He shown his deep
passionate love for her.
 At Rome, Antony marries Octavious’ younger sister Octavia in order to cement the friendly relation with
 Antony’s lieutenant Enobarbus knows that Octavia can never satisfy Antony after Cleopatra.
 Enobarbus describes Cleopatra’s charms as –
“Age cannot wither her, not custom stale
Her infinite variety: other women cloy
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The appetites they feed, but she makes hungry
Where most she satisfies.”
 In Egypt, Cleopatra is enraged when she hears about Antony’s marriage.
 On the other hand the triumvirs makes a deal with Sextus Pompey that he can retain Sicily and Sardinia
but in exchange he will help them to get rid of pirates.
 Rather Sextus Pompey agreed to their deals but Octavious and Lepidus break their deal and started war
against Pompey.
 Antony returns to Alexandria, Egypt and crowns Cleopatra and himself as rulers of Egypt and eastern
third of Roman republic (which was Antony’s share as one of the triumvirs).
 Antony was not aware about the war of Octavious and Pompey so he accuses Octavious for not giving him
his share of Sextus Pompey’s land.
 Octavious imprisoned Lepidus and it makes Antony more aggressive.
 Antony prepares to battle Octavious. Enobarbus suggested Antony to fight on land but he refuses because
Octavious has dared him to fight at sea.
 Cleopatra pledges her fleet to aid Antony. During the battle of Actium off the western coast of Greece,
Cleopatra flees with her sixty ships.
 Antony follows her leaving his own forces to ruin. On this he felt ashamed and reproaches Cleopatra for
making him a coward but also expresses his true and deep love for her saying –
 “Give me a kiss, even this repays me”.
 Octavious sends a messenger to ask Cleopatra to change the side but Cleopatra denies and agreed to fight
another battle for Antony this time on land.
 On the eve of the battle Antony’s soldiers hear strange portents interpreting as god Hercules abandoning
his protection of Antony.
 Enobarbus changes the side and meets Octavious. Antony shows generosity to Enobarbus by sending his
left goods to him.
 Enobarbus is ashamed of his disloyalty and dies from a broken heart.
 Antony loses the battle as his troops deserted in mess and he denounces Cleopatra –
“This foul Egyptian hath betrayed me”.
 Antony resolves to kill her for the treachery.
 Cleopatra decide the only way to get back Antony’s love is to send him the word that she killed herself,
dying with his name on her lips.
 She locks herself in her monument and awaits Antony’s return but the plan fails and Antony thinking his
own life is no longer worth living, stabs himself but soon he came to know that Cleopatra is still alive.
 Antony hoisted up to Cleopatra’s monument and dies in her arms.
 Octavious goes to Cleopatra asking her to surrender but she refuses, saying –
“The quick comedians
Extemporally will stage us, and present
our Alexandrian ravels: Antony
shall be brought drunken forth, and I shall see
Some squeaking Cleopatra boy my greatness
I’ th’ posture of a whore.”
 Cleopatra is betrayed and taken by Romans. She claimed to give her complete wealth to Octavious but she
is again betrayed by her treasurer who claimed that she is holding treasure back.
 Cleopatra kills herself using the poison of an asp, imagining how she will meet Antony again in the
afterlife. Her serving maids Iras and Charmian also killed themselves.
 Octavious became the first Roman emperor. But he also felt sympathy on Cleopatra and said –
“She shall be buried by her Antony
No grave upon the earth shall clip in it
A pair so famous”.
 Octavious orders a public military funeral. He was later called King Augustus.
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Famous Quotes from Antony and Cleopatra
1. “Age cannot wither her, not custom stale
Her infinite variety: other women cloy
The appetites they feed, but she makes hungry
Where most she satisfies.”
2. “Give me a kiss, even this repays me”
3. “This foul Egyptian hath betrayed me”
4. “The quick comedians
Extemporally will stage us, and present
our Alexandrian ravels: Antony
shall be brought drunken forth, and I shall see
Some squeaking Cleopatra boy my greatness
I’ th’ posture of a whore.”
5. “The breaking of so great a thing should make a greater crack; the round world should have shook lions
into civil streets and citizens to their dens.”
6. “In time we hate that which we often fear.”
7. “Music, moody food
Of us that trade in Love”
8. “Give me my robe, put on my crown;
I have immortal longings in me.”
9. “The stroke of death is as a lover’s pinch which hurts and is desired.”
10. “Where souls do couch on flowers we will hand in hand.”
 This is the last tragedy of Shakespeare.
 Source – Thomas North’s translation of Plutarch’s The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans (1579).
 A. C. Bradley described this play as “Built on the grand scale, like King Lear and Macbeth”.
 T. S. Eliot famously proclaimed Coriolanus superior to Hamlet in the “Sacred Wood”, in which he calls Coriolanus
& Antony and Cleopatra “the Bard’s greatest tragic achievements”.
 Eliot wrote a two part poem about Coriolanus, he also alluded Coriolanus in his passage from his own “The
Wasteland” when he wrote “Revive for a moment a broken Coriolanus”.
Main Characters

 Caius Marcius – Later surnamed as Coriolanus

 Menenius Agrippa – Senator of Rome
 Cominius – Council and Commander-in-chief of Army
 Titus Lartius – Roman General
 Volumnia – Coriolanus’s mother
 Virgilia – Coriolanus’s wife
 Young Martinus- Coriolanus’s son
 Voleria – Chase lady of Rome & Friend to Coriolanus family
Timon of Athens
 Probably it was written in collaboration with Thomas Middleton.
 The earliest known production of the play was in 1674 when Thomas Shadwell wrote an adaptation under the title
The History of Timon of Athens, The man Hater.
 Karl Marks discusses and quotes “Timon” in his Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844’s and Capital
Volume I.
 Charlotte Bronte includes an allusion to “Timon” in Villette (1853).
 Herman Melville references “Timon” repeatedly in his novel “The Confidence Man” (1857).

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 Charles Dickens alludes to “Timon” in Great Expectations (1861), when Wopsle moves to London to pursue a life
in theater.
 Thomas Hardy alludes to “Timon” in his short story The Three Strangers (1883).
 Vladimir Nabokov borrowed the title for his novel Pale Fire (1962) from the quotation of Timon of Athens –
“The Suns a thief and with his great attraction
Robs the vast sea; the moons an errant thief
and her Pale Fire she snatches from the sun”
 Timon wrote an epitaph for himself, part of which was composed by Callimachus –
“He lies a wretched corpse of wretched soul bereft seek not my name, a plague consume you wicked caitiffs
left. Here lies I Timon, who alive all living men did hate pass by and curse thy fill but pass and stay not here
thy gait.”

Main Characters

 Timon – A lord of Athens.

 Alcibiades – Captain of a military brigade and a good friend of Timon.
 Apemantus/Apermantus – A philosopher and churl.
 Flavius – Timon’s chief steward.
 Flaminius – One of Timon’s servant.
 Servilius – Another servant of Timon.
 Lucilius – Timon’s servant and a romantic youth.
 Ventidius – Timon’s friend and in debtor’s prison.
 Luculus, Lucius – Timon’s friend.
 Sempronius – Timon’s most jealous friend.

 In the beginning Timon, (later a misanthrope) is a wealthy, generous Athenian gentleman.

 He hosts a large banquet, attended by nearly all the characters.
 Timon gives away money wastefully and everyone wants to please him to get more except for Apemantus, a churlish
Philosopher whose cynicism Timon can not yet appreciate; he scorns Timon’s flatterers.
 Timon accepts art from Poet and Painter and a jewel from a jeweler but at the end of act 1 he has given it away to
another friend. They all come to Timon hoping to sell him their wares, for Timon is a very generous man.
 When Timon learns that his friend Ventidius is in jail so he sends money for his freedom.
 Alcibiades arrives and Timon welcomes him. Timon called all his friends to his home on a feast. Apemantus
declares that he has come only to see the villainous flatterers who will fill Timon’s house.
 Timon speaks about his fondness for his friends and the pleasure that he finds in giving them gifts and never expects
for any return.
 Timon’s servant Flavius worries that Timon will run out of money if he continue like this.
 Athens’ citizens amaze about generosity of Timon and think that he has some magical powers.
 Three creditors, friends of Timon who lend him money ask to pay him the debt by sending a servant to Timon’s
door with bills in hand.
 Timon has now realized that all his money is over and he is in debt. So he tells Flavius to sell his lands on which he
replied that lands are already mortgaged.
 Timon asked why you (Flavius) didn’t tell me earlier about it on which Flavius replied that he tried to inform several
times but he never listened.
 Flavius tells Timon that when you were rich everyone praised him but now everyone will abandon you.
 Timon does not believe it and sends servants to ask his friends for loans but Flavius said that he has already tried
and no one will lend him anything.
 Each of three servants of Timon goes to Timon’s friends’ houses to ask for a loan but each man refuses.
 Servants also asked for the loan from Ventidius who was released after ransom paid by Timon, also refuses to give
 Timon is enraged to be trapped in his house by group of creditor’s servant and plans for a last dinner party.
 Timon invites all his friends and other lords. He says grace over the covered dishes asking the god to be sure to
never give too much to mankind, always hold something back and never ask for anything back, for mankind will
abandon them.

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 Then he reveals the dishes as stones and boiling water. He curses the flattery of his friends and leaves Athens.
 On the other side, Alcibiades is banished by his senators for saving one of his friends who was sentenced to death.
 Alcibiades leaves to raise an army to attack Athens.
 Flavius share out his last money and sets off to serve Timon in the wilderness.
 While in search of food Timon discovers a hidden cache of gold. He thinks that he is no longer needed it and after
taking some gold, he buries it again.
 Timon is visited by all manner of men including Alcibiades. When he heard his friend’s intention of destroying
Athens, he donated his gold and urges him to massacre everyone.
 Apemantus comes to Timon’s cave in the forest and scorns him remarking that all his fall came from being so
generous. The two insult each other.
 Timon confess that he hates humanity. Both discuss their desire to turn the world over to the beasts but end in
insults and Apemantus departs.
 Flavius arrives offering Timon his last money and weeping. Timon realizes that Flavius was the one honest man he
came in contact with, in Athens. Timon gives him gold and orders him to leave.
 Poet and painter hear that Timon has gold, so they reach to ingratiate themselves to him.
 Timon sends them off. Flavius returns with two senators who announce that people have determined that Timon’s
treatment was unfair and they want him to return to Athens. Senators believe that Timon’s presence in Athens will
halt Alcibiades’ invasion. But Timon refused to return.
 Alcibiades arrives at the gates of Athens. The senators attempted to defend the city explaining that not everyone in
Athens insulted Alcibiades and Timon and they tell him to come in city in peace, without killing everyone.
 Alcibiades agreed and punished only those who have slighted himself and Timon.
 A soldier arrived with the news that Timon has died, and Alcibiades reads his epitaph.
 Timon died thinking that everyone hated him; Alcibiades honors Timon, a man much more admired in Athens
than he believed.
Quotes form Timon of Athens

 “Like madness is the glory of this life.”

 “I’ll lock thy heaven from thee.
O’ that man ears should be to
Councel deaf, but not to flattery”.
 “O, what a precious comfort
‘tis, to have so many, like brothers
Commanding One others fortunes”.

Pericles, Prince of Tyre

 It is a Jacobean play and there can have the two sources of it –
 Confessio Amantis (1393) by John Gower &
 Lawrance Twine’s prose version of Gower’s tale “The Pattern of Painful Adventure”
 T. S. Eliot admired it as – “Ultra dramatic”
 There is a doubt in the authorship so it was not included in the first folio of 1623.
 John Gower introduces each act with a prologue.
 John Gower is the narrator of this play.
Main Characters

 Pericles – Prince of Tyre

 Antiochus – King of Antioch
 Helicanus and Escanes – Two lords of Tyre
 Simonides – King of Pentapolis
 John Gower – Narrator
 Daughter – the daughter of Antiochus
 Thaliart – Assassin hired by Antiochus to Kill Pericles
 Cleon & Dionyza – Governor of Tarsus and his wife
 Simonides – King of Pentapolis and father of Thaisa

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 Thaisa – Daughter of Simonides, wife of Pericles and mother of Marina

 The play opens in the court of Antiochus, king of Antioch who has offered the hand of his beautiful daughter to any
man who answers his puzzle (riddles) but those who fail shall die.
 Pericles the young prince (ruler) of Tyre in Phoenicia (Lebanon) hears the riddle and instantly understands it’s
o Riddle is –
“I am not viper, yet I feed
On mother’s flesh which did me breed?”

 The meaning of the riddle revealed Pericles that King is in incestuous relationship with his daughter. Prince doesn’t
reveal the truth because if he revealed the truth he would be killed and if he doesn’t reply then also he will be killed.
 So Pericles asked for some more time to think about the riddle and Antioch gave him 40 days, before his death
 Pericles is sure that Antiochus will want him dead for knowing the truth so he flees back to Tyre. Antiochus sends
an assassin Thaliart after him.
 After taking advice of Helicanus, his counselor, Pericles decides to go to Tarsus to avoid Antiochus’ attack.
 In Tarsus, there was King Cleon and his wife Dionyza. Tarsus was suffering of famine but Pericles gave corn and
saved them.
 Soon Pericles gets a letter from Helicanus, who calls Pericles back to Tyre and he sets off to Tyre.
 On the way, Pericles’ ship is wrecked in a storm in Pentapolis.
 Pericles came to know from fishermen that Simonides’ daughter Thaisa will be married to whoever wins a jousting
(conversation) contest.
 Pericles enters the tournament and wins. Pericles is married to Thaisa.
 In Tyre, Helicanus reveals that Antiochus and his daughter have been burnt to death by fire from the heaven. So
Pericles can return.
 Tyre’s citizen wanted Helicanus to be crowned but he desired to wait Pericles return.
 In Pentapolis, Pericles hears it and set to go to Tyre. He is boarded on a boat with his wife Thaisa and Lychordia, a
 They came upon a great storm and Thaisa dies in a child birth. She delivers a daughter Marina.
 The shipmaster insists that the body of Thaisa to be thrown overboard to stop the storm.
 Thaisa’s body is put in a chest which reaches Ephesus and found by a generous doctor Cerimon. He discovers that
Thaisa is not dead and revives her.
 Now Pericles thinks that his daughter Marina won’t survive the journey to Tyre, so he lands in Tarsus and headed
over his child to Cleon and Dionyza.
 Pericles becomes the king of Tyre and Thaisa becomes priestess of Goddess Diana (Goddess of Chastity).
 Marina grows up but Dionyza is jealous of Marina who takes all the attention away from her own daughter who is of
similar age.
 Dionyza asked Leonine to murder Marina but at the last moment pirates seizes Marina and take her to Myteline to
sell her as a prostitute in a brothel run by Pander and Bawd.
 Marina refuses to give up her honour despite many men who came wanting to buy her virginity.
 Marina manages to convince the man who came for her virginity and soon she gets work of educating girls in a
reputable house.
 Pericles goes on a trip to Tarsus to unite with his daughter, but Cleon and Dionyza tell him that she has died and
show him the monument of Marina that they had built in order to erase their complicity in the matter.
 Pericles is distraught and sets of seas again.
 Pericles reaches Myteline. Helicanus asked Lysimachus that Pericles has not spoken in three months and
Lysimachus replied that he knows someone in the city who may be able to make him talk.
 Marina is bought to the ship for this purpose where Pericles identified her as his daughter. Pericles and Marina are
 Pericles is exhausted and goes into the deep sleep. In sleep, the Goddess Diana tells him to go to her temple in
Ephesus and tell of his experience.
 When he wakes up he promises Marina to Lysimachus and they set of for Ephesus.
 In Ephesus, Pericles tells his story in front of Goddess Diana in the same temple in which Thaisa was the priestess.

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 Thaisa realizes that Pericles is her lost husband and Cerimon explains that she is Thaisa.
 The whole family is re-united and overjoyed.
 Gower concludes saying that evils are punished (Antiochus and his daughter have died). When the people of Tarsus
discover Cleon’s evil, they revolted and killed him and his wife in a palace fire.

Cymbeline: King of Britain

 It is unclear when Cymbeline was first written, though most scholars consider it was probably produced by
1611 and was included in the First Folio, where it was classified as a tragedy.
Main Characters
 Cymbeline – King of Britain
 Queen – Cymbeline’s second wife
 Imogen/Innogen – Cymbeline’s daughter by a former queen, later disguised as Fidele (means – Faithful)
 Posthumus Leonatus – Imogen’s husband
 Cloten – Queen’s son by a former husband
 Guiderius – Cymbeline’s son, kidnapped by Belarius in childhood and raised as his son ‘Polydore’.
 Arvirargus – Cymbeline’s son kidnapped by Belarius and raised as his son Cadwall
 Cymbeline, the Roman Empire’s king of Britain, has two sons Guiderius and Arvirargus. They were stolen
20 years earlier as infants by an exiled traitor Belarius.
 The only child of Cymbeline left was his daughter Imogen. She has secretly married her lover Posthumus
Leonatus, an honourable man of Cymbeline’s court.
 Both lovers exchanged jewelry as a token. Imogen now with a bracelet and Posthumus with a ring.
 Cymbeline dismisses the marriage and banishes Posthumus since Imogen as Cymbeline’s only child must
produce a royal blooded heir to succeed to the British throne.
 In the meantime Cymbeline’s Queen is conspiring to get her son Cloten to marry Imogen, to secure her
 Queen was plotting to murder both Cymbeline and Imogen for which she took poison from court doctor
Cornelius. The doctor replaces the poison with harmless sleeping potion.
 Queen given this poison (potion actually) to Pisanio (Posthumus’ & Imogen’s servant) who believe it as
medicinal drug.
 Posthumus now living in Italy where he meets Iachimo (Giacomo). Iachimo challenges Posthumus to bet
that he can seduce Imogen, who Posthumus has praised for her chastity and then he will bring a proof of
Imogen adultery.
 They make a deal. If Iachimo wins, he’ll get Posthumus token ring and if Posthumus wins Iachimo will
not only pay him but also duel Posthumus with a sword.
 Iachimo reaches Imogen. He hides in a chest in Imogen’s bed chamber. When Imogen sleeps Iachimo
steals Imogen’s bracelets. He also takes note of the room and Imogen’s partly naked body so to put false
evidence to Posthumus that he has seduced his bride. Iachimo saw a mole on the breast of Imogen.
 Returning to Italy, Iachimo convinces Posthumus that he has successfully seduced Imogen.
 Posthumus, in his wrath sends two letters, one to Imogen to meet him and other to servant Pisanio,
ordering him to murder Imogen, at the place where (Milford Haven) he has called Imogen to meet him.
 Pisanio refuses to kill Imogen and he reveals this plot to Imogen. Now Imogen disguises herself as a page
boy Fidele and went to Milford Haven to seek employment.
 Pisanio also gives Imogen Queen’s poison (which he thinks as medical drug) to alleviate her psychological
 In Cymbeline’s court, Caius Lucious, a Roman ambassador warns Cymbeline to an invasion of Britain by
 Meanwhile Cloten learns about Imogen’s meeting to Posthumus at Milford Haven.

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 Cloten dresses himself in Posthumus ‘s clothes and decides to go to Milford Haven to kill Posthumus,
rape, abduct and marry Imogen.
 Imogen while going to Haven, falls ill and reached to the home of Belarious who was living along his two
sons Polydore and Cadwal whom Belarius has stolen and raised as his own sons as great hunters.
 Polydore and Cadwal are actually the sons of Cymbeline who were abducted by Belarius 20 years back.
They became fast friends to Imogen.
 Outside the cave, Gyderious (Polydore) meets Cloten and they start fighting and Gyderious beheads
 In the meantime, Imogen takes the potion to get rid of her fragile state. When the men re-enter the cave
they found Imogen dead.
 They prepare the double burial of Cloten and Imogen. Imogen wakes up and found the beheaded body
to be of Posthumus as “Cloten was dressed as Posthumus”.
 Roman forces attack Britain, and Belarius, Guiderius, Avragus and Posthumus all helped Cymbeline in
capturing Roman commanders. King does not recognizes them.
 Posthumus and ‘Fidele’ allowed themselves to be captured along Romans, and wait for execution by
Cymbeline in Britain.
 In jail, Posthumus dreamed of the ghosts of his dead family appears to complain Jupiter of his grim fate.
 Jupiter himself then appears in thunder and glory to assure the others that destiny will grant happiness to
Posthumus and Britain.
 Cornelius announces in the court that the Queen is dead, and while dying she has confessed her ill plot
about her husband and Imogen. Cymbeline is relieved at this news.
 Cymbeline prepares to execute Posthumus and Fidele, but he paused when he saw Fidele somewhat
 Fidele notices Posthumus ring on Iachimo’s (who was also captured) finger and abruptly demands to know
how he got it.
 Iachimo reveals all the truth about his bet and how he could not seduce her and how he cheated
 To hear this Posthumus acknowledged his wrongfulness of killing Imogen. Imogen throws herself on
Posthumus but he thought her to be a page boy knocks her down.
 Now Pisanio explains that “Fidele” is actually Imogen.
 Belarius makes his own happy confession revealing Guiderius and Arvirargus as Cymbeline’s own two
long lost sons.
 Cymbeline forgives Belarius and all Romans including Lucius and Iachimo.
 Imogen is now free to marry Posthumus as her brothers will now become heirs.
 Cymbeline gives a great feast to all.

The Winter’s Tale

 It was originally published in the First Folio of 1623. Although it was grouped among the comedies, some
modern editors have relabelled the play as one of Shakespeare's late romances.
 Some critics consider it to be one of Shakespeare's "problem plays" because the first three acts are filled
with intense psychological drama, while the last two acts are comedic and supply a happy ending.
 The main plot of The Winter's Tale is taken from Robert Greene's pastoral romance Pandosto, published
in 1588.
 The play opens with Leontes, the king of Sicilia, entertaining his old friend Polixenes, the king
of Bohemia. Leontes jealously mistakes the courtesy between his wife, Hermione, and Polixenes as a sign
of Hermione’s adultery with him.
 In a fit of jealousy, he attempts to have Polixenes killed, but Polixenes escapes with Camillo, Leontes’
faithful counselor, whom Leontes has sent to kill him.

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 The pregnant Hermione is then publicly humiliated and thrown in jail, despite her protests of innocence.
When the child, a girl, is born, Leontes rejects the child out of hand and gives her over to Antigonus, the
husband of Hermione’s attendant Paulina.
 Antigonus is instructed to abandon the baby in some wild place. Having learned of his mother’s
mistreatment, Leontes’ beloved son Mamillius dies, and Hermione too is carried out and reported dead.
 Having lost everyone important to him and having realized the error of his ways, Leontes is left to his
solitary despair. Meanwhile, the baby girl, named Perdita, is brought up by a shepherd and his wife in
Polixenes’ kingdom of Bohemia. She appears in Act IV as a young and beautiful shepherdess who has
been discovered by Polixenes’ son Florizel.
 Needless to say, her true status is eventually discovered once she and Florizel have arrived at Leontes’
court in Sicilia. In a climactic ending, Hermione is discovered to be alive after all. She had been
sequestered by Paulina for some 16 years until the time for reunion and reconciliation arrived.
 Leontes is shown a seeming statue of Hermione, so lifelike that one might imagine it breathes. The
“statue” comes to life, and Hermione is seen to have aged during her years of separation and waiting.
Leontes, to his intense joy, realizes that he loves his wife more than ever. The recovery of the daughter he
attempted to kill is no less precious to him. All is forgiven.
The Tempest
 It is supposed to be last play of Shakespeare written alone.
 It is set in Milan and an unknown island.
 In Stephen Orgel’s article Prospero’s Wife, Orgel addresses the issue of women in ‘The Tempest’ and
how they are all but omitted from the play’s text.
 The only female character in the entire play is Miranda, Prospero’s daughter. Miranda’s mother is
completely absent from the play and is only talked about once, when Prospero is addressing Miranda
saying –
“Thy mother was a piece of virtue and she said thou wast my daughter and thy father was duke of Milan.

 The magician, Prospero, rightful Duke of Milan, and his daughter Miranda have been stranded for 12
years on an island after Prospero’s brother Antonio (who is jealous of Prospero) aided by Alonso the King
of Naples deposed him.
 Prospero and his 3-years old daughter Miranda were set adrift. Fortunately, Gonzalo, Alonso’s counsellor
had secretly supplied their boat with some food, fresh water, rich garments, linens, stuffs and necessaries,
and volumes (books).
 Due to great learning of magical powers Prospero is reluctantly served by a spirit Ariel.
 Prospero had rescued Ariel from a tree in which he had been trapped by the cruel witch Sycorax after he
had refused to obey her.
 Prospero maintains Ariel’s loyalty by repeatedly promising to release the “airy spirit” from servitude.
 Sycorax had been exiled from Algiers to the island, for wreaking havoc with her magic, and had died
before Prospero’s arrival.
 Caliban was the son of Sycorax. He was a deformed monster and the only non-spiritual inhabitant before
the arrival of Prospero.
 Caliban was adopted by Prospero. While Caliban taught Prospero how to survive on the island, Prospero
and Miranda taught Caliban religion and their own language.
 Once Caliban attempted rape of Miranda so he was compelled by Prospero to serve as his slave.
 Caliban view Prospero as a usurper (one who seizes the power) and decides to resent (ruin) Prospero and
his daughter Miranda.
 Prospero asked Ariel to take the shape of a Sea nymph and make himself invisible to all but Prospero.

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 Prospero asked Ariel to bring Tempest in the sea and set fire to the mast of the ship in which Alonso,
Ferdinand, Sebastian, Antonio, Gonzalo, Stephano and Trinculo were on their way to Italy.
 Prospero said his daughter Miranda that he raised the tempest in order to make things right as earlier as
12 years.
 Prospero made sure that everyone in the ship got safely to island though they are separated from each
other into small groups.
 Miranda and Ferdinand (Son of Alonso) are immediately fallen in love. He is the only man Miranda has
ever seen besides Caliban and her father.
 Prospero found his plan of marrying his daughter working but decides that he must upset things temporary
in order to prevent their relationship from developing too quickly.
 Prospero accuses Ferdinand for being merely prince of Naples and threatens him with imprisonment.
When Ferdinand draws his sword Prospero charms him and leads him off to prison.
 Note: Prospero only performs one act of magic himself on the stage, i.e. he disarms Ferdinand causing his
nerves to become “in their infancy again”.
 On the other part of the island, Alonso, Sebastian (Alonso’s brother), Antonio, Gonzalo, and other
miscellaneous lords gives thanks for their safety but worried about the safety of Ferdinand.
 Ariel appears invisible and plays music that puts all but Sebastian and Antonio to sleep.
 Now these two then begin to discuss the possible advantages of killing their sleeping companions.
 As soon as they drawn their swords to stab their companions, Ariel causes Gonzalo to wake with a shout.
 Anyhow all are convinced & they continue to search for Ferdinand.
 Caliban while in the wood, find Stephano and Trinculo and all the three sit together and drink. Caliban
quickly becomes an enthusiastic drinker and begins to sing.
 While Prospero puts Ferdinand to work, when Prospero falls asleep, Miranda proposes marriage and
Ferdinand accepts it.
 Stephano, Trinculo and Caliban who are fully drunk now are made to fight with each other by Ariel.
 Caliban plans that if they kill Prospero, they will take his daughter and will set Stephano as the king of
 Before they execute their plan they were enchanted by the music of Ariel and they follow the music.
 Alonso, Gonzalo, Sebastian and Antonio are tired of their journey and pause to rest.
 Antonio and Sebastian plan to kill Alonso and Gonzalo in the evening as they were tired.
 Prospero is now soften towards Ferdinand and welcomes him in his family as the soon to be husband of
 He reminds Ferdinand that Miranda’s virgin knot is not to be broken until wedding has been officially
 The spirits of the island assumes the shape of Ceres, Juno and Iris and performs a short masque
celebrating the rites of marriage.
 Prospero tricks Stephano, Trinculo, and Caliban by hanging beautiful clothing in his cell.
 When looking for Prospero, these three enter in the cell of Prospero and decide to steal the clothing.
 Suddenly they are driven by a pack of spirits sent by Prospero and Ariel.
 Prospero asks Ariel to bring all characters together. He forgives Alonso, Antonio and Sebastian for their
 Alonso and his companions are amazed by the miracle of Ferdinand’s survival. Ferdinand tells his father
about his marriage.
 Ariel returns with Boatswain and Mariners. At Prospero’s bidding Ariel releases Caliban, Trinculo and
 Prospero invites Alonso and the others to stay for the night and tells the tale of his life in the past 12 years.
 All return to Italy, Prospero is restored to his dukedom.
 Prospero gives one last task to Ariel – to make sure the seas are calm for the return voyages before setting
him free.
 Prospero delivers an epilogue to the audience asking them to forgive him for his wrongdoing.

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 The character Antonio appears in the following plays of Shakespeare:
 The Merchant of Venice
 Twelfth Night
 The Tempest
 Much Ado About Nothing
 The character Sebastian appears in the following plays of Shakespeare:
 Two Gentlemen of Verona (Julia disguises as Sebastian)
 Twelfth Night (brother of Viola)
 The Tempest (Alonso’s brother)
Important quotes from The Tempest
1. “You taught me language, and my profit on it is I know how to curse”
– Caliban to Prospero
2. “Hell is empty and all the devils are here.”
3. “O; Wonder
How many godly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is!
O brave new world
That has such people in it.”
Note: The title ‘Brave New World’ of Aldous Huxley has been taken from this line.
4. “Full fathom five thy father lies of his bones are coral made; those are pearls that were his eyes. Nothing of
him that doth fades, but doth suffer a sea-change into something rich and stand.”
5. “Good wombs have borne bad sons”
– Miranda
6. “And as the morning steals upon the knight, melting the darkness, so their rising senses begin to chase the
ignorant fumes that mantle their clearer reason.”
Other Minor Works by Shakespeare
 Henry VIII
 The Two Noble Kinsman
Sonnets of Shakespeare
 Shakespeare published 154 sonnets originally published in 1609 in Quarto folio by Thomas Thorpe,
expected to be written during 1592 – 98.
 Sonnet 138 & 144 had previously published in 1599 miscellany The Passionate Pilgrim (anthology).
 The first 17 sonnets are called ‘Procreation Sonnets’. These are addressed to a young man urging him to
marry and have children in order to immortalize his beauty by passing it to the next generation.
 Sonnets (18-126) are called ‘Fair Youth Sonnets’.
 The other sonnets expressed the speaker’s love for a young man; brood upon loneliness, death and the
transience of life.
 From sonnets 1-126 are probably dedicated to Mr W. H., i.e. William Herbert (Earl of Pembroke) or
Henry Wriothesley (Earl of Southampton). Wriothesley is also the dedicatee of Shakespeare’s poems
Venus and Adonis and Rape of Lucree.
 From 127 to 152 are dedicated to ‘Dark Lady’. In sonnet 114 she is described as “My female evil” and
“My bad angel”. She is identified as Aline Florio or Lucy Morgan, a fallen woman also called ‘Lucy Negro’
or Emillia.
 These sonnets are called “Dark Lady” sonnets. The poet speaks of a mysterious and beautiful
mistress who has black hair and raven black eyes.
 Sonnets 153 & 154. These two sonnets are dedicated to Cupid, god of Love.
 Rhyme scheme of all the Sonnets – abab cdcd efef gg.
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 Sonnet 99, contains 15 lines.

Important Sonnets
Sonnet 1 “From fairest creature we desire increase”.
 This is first among the Pro-creation sonnet (1-17). In these sonnets the poet persuades his friend Mr. W.
H. to start a family so that his beauty can live on to the next generation through his children.

Sonnet 18 “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day”.

 In this sonnet he described the young man’s great beauty and suggests that “his poetry is eternal” and ends
with saying that as long as there are people who can still read the sonnet the young man’s beauty will still
be there.
 Shakespeare’s gay attitude is revealed in this sonnet.

Sonnet 30 “When to the sessions of sweet silent thought”.

 In this sonnet poet enumerates the sorrows and losses in his life. The poet realizes that the memories of
his friend offer comfort to him from past sorrows

Sonnet 33 “Full many a glorious morning have I seen”

 This poem is about the loss of a loved one.

Sonnet 104 “To me fair friend you never can be old”

 In this sonnet Shakespeare expresses the love, one person has for another by showing how the beauty of
beloved does not change in the eye of a lover.
Sonnet 126 “O thou, my lovely boy, who in thy power”
 It is in the form of 12 lines, consists of 6 rhyming couplets.
 Seems about anticipating the death of a fair youth.
 The famous expression “sickle hour” appears at the end.
Sonnet 130 “My Mistress eyes are nothing like the Sun”
 In this sonnet Shakespeare expresses that – My Mistress is not the most beautiful woman but she is no less
beautiful than any woman that is described with false comparison.
 He satirizes the usual way of loving a woman – praising her lips and her hair, the way she walks, and all the
things that a young man may rave about when he thinks about his beloved.
Sonnet 116
“Love is not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bonding sickle’s compass come”
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
but bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved
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I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Venus and Adonis

 It is a non-dramatic erotic poem dedicated to Henery Wriothesley, earl of Southampton.
 It was printed by Richard Field.
 In the poem Goddess Venus is infatuated with the young hunter Adonis. Adonis resists her advances and
prefers to go for hunting.
 The next morning, she discovers his body, killed by a wild boar and she laments.
 This epic poem is based on a passage from Ovid’s “Metamorphoses”.
 When Venus persuaded Adonis to kiss her, he denies thinking he is too young and cares only for hunting.
 Adonis is born of palm tree.
 Venus creates Red flower from Adonis’s body.
The Rape of Lucree
 Shakespeare is also called “Bard of Avon”.
 It is a narrative poem of Shakespeare based on themes from Ovid’s “Metamorphoses”.
 It is about the rape of Lucretia by Tarquin based on an ancient Latin story. Tarquin is the son of the
Roman King.
 Lucree is distressed and suicides. Her husband and others take revenge upon Tarquin and drive him and
his father from Rome.
 It is dedicated to “Henery Wriothesley”.

Titles Taken from Shakespeare’s Play

1. From Antony and Cleopatra
a. Joyce Carol Oates: New Heaven, New Earth
b. Eva Figes: Seven Ages
2. From As You Like It
a. Thomas Hardy: Under the Greenwood Tree
3. From Hamlet
a. Issac Asimov: The Gods Themselves
b. Aldous Huxley: Mortal Coils
c. Graham Greene: The Name of Action
d. Agatha Christie: The Mousetrap
e. Tom Stoppard: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
4. From Julius Caesar
a. Frederic Forsyth: The Dogs of War
5. From King John
a. Nathaniel Hawthorne: Twice Told Tales
6. From King Lear
a. Eric Linklater: Ripeness is All
7. From Macbeth
a. Agatha Christie: By the Pricking of My Thumbs
b. Ray Bradbury: Something Wicked This Way Comes
c. William Faulkner: The Sound and the Fury
d. John Steinbeck: The Moon is Down
e. Ted Hughes: Four Tales Told by an Idiot
8. From The Merchant of Venice
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a. Faye Kellerman: The Quality of Mercy
b. Erica Jong: Shylock’s Daughter: A Novel of Love in Venice
c. Frances Parkinson Keyes: All that Glitters
9. From Romeo and Juliet
a. Dorothy Parker: Not so Deep As a Well
b. Ford Madox Ford: It was the Nightingale
10. From The Tempest
a. Aldous Huxley: Brave New World
11. From Timon of Athens
a. Vladimir Nabokov: Pale Fire
b. Trueman Capote: In Cold Blood
c. William Trevor: Fools of Fortune
12. From Twelfth Night
a. William Somerset Mugham: Cakes and Ale
b. Agatha Christie: Sad Sypress
Fools in the Plays of Shakespeare
1. A Fool: Timon of Athens
2. Autolycus: The Winter’s Tale
3. Citizen: Julius Caesar
4. Cloten: Cymbeline
5. Clown: Othello
6. Clown: The Winter’s Tale
7. Costard: Love’s Labour’s Lost
8. Dromio of Ephesus: The Comedy of Errors
9. Dromio of Syracuse: The Comedy of Errors
10. Falstaff: King Henry IV, Part 1&2
11. Feste: Twelfth Night (he is regarded as the wise fool employed by Olivia)
12. Grumio: The Taming of the Shrew
13. Launce: The Two Gentlemen of Verona
14. Louncelot Gobbo: The Merchant of Venice
15. Shylock: The Merchant of Venice
16. Lavache: All’s well that ends well
17. Nick Bottom: Midsummer Night’s Dream
18. Pompey: Measure for Measure (employee of brothel)
19. Puck: Midsummer Night’s Dream
20. Speed: Two Gentlemen of Verona
21. The Fool: King Lear
22. The Gravediggers: Hamlet
23. The Porter: Macbeth
24. Thersites: Troilus and Cressida
25. Touchstone: As You Like It
26. Trinculo: The Tempest

Sexual Jealousy in Plays of Shakespeare

 Derek Cohen explores the male sexual jealousy theme.
 The Winter’s Tale
 King Leontes of this play has unjustified fit of sexual jealousy. He suspects his wife Hermione of
marital fidelity with his friend Polixenes.

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 Leontes assumes he has been cuckolded and subsequently denies the legitimacy of his daughter
Perdita based on no evidence.
 Othello
 “Green eyed monster redirects me!”
- Shakespeare used this term to describe the destructive nature of jealousy.
 In Othello this jealousy emerges when Iago convinces Othello that Desdemona has been unfaithful
and is actively pursuing a sexual relationship with one “of his own clime, complexion and degree” –
 Roderigo’s jealousy and envy of Othello’s relationship with Desdemona is also there.
 “Oh, beware, my Lord, of Jealousy!
It is the green eyed monster which doth mock.”
– by Emilia to Iago.
 King Lear
 Sexual jealousy between Regan and Goneril.
 Macbeth
 Jealousy of Lady Macbeth

Shakespeare’s Plays with Prologue and Epilogues

Plays with Prologue and Epilogue

Prologue by Play Epilogue by

Chorus Henry VIII Chorus
Chorus Troilus and Cressida Pandarus
Chorus Henry V Chorus
Rumour Henry IV, Part 2 Chorus
Chorus Pericles Gower

Plays with Prologue Only

1. Romeo and Juliet – chorus
2. Richard III – Richard Duke of Gloucester
3. Macbeth – Witches
Plays only with Epilogue only
1. The Tempest – Prospero
2. Mid Summer Night’s Dream – Puck
3. As You Like It – Rosalind
4. All is Well That Ends Well – King
5. Twelfth Night – Feste (song)

Crossing Dressing in the Plays of Shakespeare

 Seven plays of Shakespeare feature cross-dressed characters both women in men’s clothing and men in
women’s clothing. Most of the plays of Shakespeare are full of cross-dressing but these seven are more
 As You Like It
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 Rosalind disguises as Ganymede
 Celia disguises as Aliena
 The Merchant of Venice
 Portia disguises as Balthazar
 Nerrisa disguises as Clerk of Lawyer
 Jessica as Pageboy
 The Taming of the Shrew
 Lord Soldiers play a prank on a Page boy by dressing up as a girl and giving him a fake
marriage to Christopher Sly.
 The Two Gentlemen of Verona
 Julia as Sebastian
 The Merry Wives of Windsor
 Falstaff as Herne, the hunter
 Mr. Ford disguises as Mr. Brook.
 Falstaff as Ford’s maid’s aunt
 Mistress Quickly as Fairy
 Children as fairy
 Twelfth Night
 Viola as Cesario
 Feste as Sir Topas
 Cymbeline
 Imogene as Fidele.
 Measure for Measure
 Vincentio as Frier Lodowick
 Women disguised as men in Battle dress:
 Joan of Arc in Henry VI, Part I
 Margaret in Henry VI, Part III and
 Elenor in King John
- These three characters appeared in masculine character in battle dress.


Sir Philip Sidney

(1554 – 1586)
 Sir Philip Sidney was an English poet, courtier, scholar and soldier.
 He was the most prominent figure of Elizabethan age.
 He was born in Kent.
 His younger sister Mary married to Henry Herbert, Earl of Pembroke who was a writer, translator and
literary patron.
 Sidney dedicated his Arcadia to his sister Mary. But later Sidney asked Arcadia to be burned.
 After the death of Sidney, Mary re-worked Arcadia which became known as “The Countess of
Pembroke’s Arcadia”.
 In 1572, he was elected as Member of Parliament Shrewsbury.
 Sidney has planned to marry Penelope Devereux, daughter of Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex, but
Sidney died before marriage, so Penelope was married to Lord Rich.
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 Sidney dedicated his sonnet “Astrophel and Stella” to Penelope Devereux.
 In 1579 Sidney was retired from the court of Elizabeth on the account of writing a letter to Elizabeth about
his opposition of the French marriage of Edward de Vese, 17th earl of Oxford which Elizabeth forbade. In
1885, he returned to Elizabeth court.
 In 1583, Sidney married ‘Frances’.
 Sidney’s friend Greville says about him –
“Wheresoever he went he was beloved and obeyed.”

 In 1586, he fought in Battle of Zutphen where he was wounded in the thigh and within a month he died.
 During his funeral London crowd said about him –
“Farewell, the Worthiest Knight that Lived.”

 Edmund Spenser mourned his death in the Pastoral elegy – Astrophel.

 None of his works were published in his lifetime.
 A folio of his work appeared in 1598.
 Spenser dedicated his Shepherd's Calendar to Sidney.
 In 1591, Sir Walter Raleigh wrote “Poems on Sir Philip Sidney”.

Important Works of Philip Sidney

1. The Lady of May (1578-79)
 It is a masque written and performed for Queen Elizabeth.
2. Astrophel and Stella (1591)
 It is the first English sonnet sequence composed in the early 1580’s but first edition was printed in 1591,
and authorized version in 1598.
 In this sonnet, Sidney nativised Italian model of Petrarch.
 It contains 108 sonnets and 11 songs.
 The Latin word ‘Stella’ means ‘Star’. Astrophel is ‘Star lover’.
 Rather Sidney adopted Petrarchan Rhyme scheme but he uses it with such freedom that fifteen variants
are employed.
 In the sonnet Astrophel represents Sidney himself while Stella represents Lady Penelope Devereux later
Lady Rich. He dedicated this work to ‘Penelope’.
 This sonnet was printed by Thomas Newman in 1951. This edition included ten songs of Sidney and a
preface by Thomas Nash. It also includes the verses of Campion, Samual Daniel and Earl of Oxford.
 In song 6, there is a debate between “Beauty and Music”.
 In sonnet 12, Astrophel compares Stella’s heart to ‘Citadel’. In Sonnet 9, Stella’s forehead is represented
as made out of ‘Alabaster’. The colour of Stella’s hair is ‘Blonde’.
3. Arcadia (1580)
 Sidney asserted that he wrote it to entertain his sister Mary Herbert, the countess of Pembroke. It is a
romance in Prose.
 The early version of Arcadia is called “Old Arcadia”. He himself edited it and the new version is
called “New Arcadia”.
 Later the “New Arcadia” was edited by Fulke Greville, Mathew Gwinne and John Florio and
published in bigger form to Old Arcadia in 1590.
 In 1593, Mary Herbert, herself published an edition of Arcadia called – “The Countess of Pembroke’s
 This work is often called ‘tragicomic’ in 5 acts. It contains several eclogues.
 Book I is about Basilius, Duke of Arcadia. His wife is Gynecia and two attractive daughters Pamela
and Philoclea. His daughters are stolen by undesirable suitors and are cuckolded by his wife.
 Samuel Richardson has adopted the name of his novel Pamela from here.

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4. Apologie for Poetrie or The Defense of Poesie (1595)
 Probably it was written in 1579-80 but published in 1595 after his death.
 A Playwright Stephan Gosson dedicated his attack on the English stage The School of Abuse to Philip
Sidney in 1579.
 Gosson motivated Sidney and in reply he wrote ‘The defense of Poesie’. This work of Sidney
influences P. B. Shelley’s “A Defense of Poetry”.
 In it Sidney writes: –
 “The is no art delivered to mankind that hath not the works of nature for his principal object.”
 “Poetry is long lasting, begins first and lasts longest.”
 “Poetry is an art of imitation”.
 “Poetry is ‘Spearing picture’ and its end is to teach and delight.”
 “Poetry flourishes in all countries in all ages”
 “Poetry softens the hard hearts of Turks and Tarters, sharpens the Red Indian wit”
 “With a sword thou mayest kill thy father, and with a sword thou mayest defend thy prince and
 As per Sidney, “The Epic is the best and most accomplished kind of Poetry”
 “Music I say the most divine striker of the senses.”
 “Poetry is an art of imitation and its chief function is to teach and delight. Imitation does not
mean mere copying or a reproduction of facts. It means a representing or transmuting of the real
and actual, and sometimes creating something entirely new.”
 Sidney declares Poet as
“Lifted up with the vigor of his own invention, doth grow in effect another nature in making
things either better than nature bringeth forth, or quite a new forms such as never were in
Nature, as the Heroes, Demigods, Cyclops, Chimeras, Furies and such like”.

 Sidney describes three types of Poetry –

 Religious Poetry
 Philosophical poetry and
 Poetry as an imaginative treatment of art and nature
 He called special attention to the third class of poets. The third kind of poetry was further sub-
divided into various species – Heroic, lyric, tragic, comic, satiric, iambic, elegiac, pastoral and
 He gave superiority to Poetry than Philosophy and History.
 Sidney employed four replies to the objections to poetry –
1. It is the mother of lies.
2. It is the nurse of abuse, infecting us with many pestilent desires.
3. Plato had banished poets from his ideal republic.
4. There may be many other more fruitful knowledges, a man might better spend his time in
 These four charges were leveled by Stephen Gosson in his School Of Abuse.
 Sidney proved all these charges against poetry as false and baseless. The poets were the ancient
treasurers of the Grecian divinity. They were the first bringers of all civility.
 He said – “A poet can immortalize people in his verses”.
 The only tragedy he praised is Gorboduc.
 Sidney says that rhyme is not the essence of poetry, but it is desirable to it.

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Francis Bacon
(1561 – 1626)
 Francis Bacon is called the father of English essays.
 In France, Montaigne is called the father of essays. His collection of essays is Essais (1581).
 Bacon’s father was the Lord keeper in the court of Elizabeth and while going with his father in court he
was jestingly called ‘Little Lord Keeper’ by Elizabeth.
 He was knighted in 1603. In 1607, he was appointed as solicitor general.
 In 1613, he was appointed Attorney general, in 1617, he was appointed Lord Keeper and in 1618, he
became Lord Chancellor.
 In 1621 he was charged with bribery in the House of Lords. The House of Lords removed him from its
membership, dismissed from all posts and was fined £40,000 and life imprisonment but next day he was
 Alexander Pope said about him –
“If parts allure thee, think how Bacon shined. The wisest, brightest, meanest of Mankind.”
 Bacon is called ‘Father of Empiricism’ and ‘Father of Scientific Method’ by Voltaire.
 Bacon divided his works into three branches – Scientific, Religious and Judicial work.
 Bacon attacked Aristotle. He listed 27 privileged instances.
 His essay - “Of Garden” is considered as a personal essay.
 As per Bacon the obstacles that hinder the advance of reason are called “The Idols”.
 According to Bacon – the true statements that are eventually produced by considering natural phenomena
is called “Axioms”.
 Bacon is associated with the “Induction logical method”.
 Jonathan Swift parodied “New Atlantis” in IIIrd book of Gulliver Travel.
Important Works of Bacon
Advancement of Learning (1605)
 In this work, Bacon tries to encourage King James I to support some immortal work that contains the
philosophy of Bacon, systematizing his ideas for the reform and revival of knowledge. It is divided into
2 parts.
 Full Title – “Of the Proficience and Advancement of Learning, Divine and Human”
 It was written in the form of a letter to King James I
 He divided human understanding in three parts – i) History, related to man’s faculty of memory, ii)
Poetry, related to man’s faculty of imagination, iii) Philosophy – Man’s faculty of reason.

Instauratio Magna (1620)

 It is written in Latin, divided into 6 books. It means ‘The great Instauratio’. Bacon planned this in
imitation of the divine work – the work of the six days of creation as defined in the bible, leading to
seventh day of Rest or sabbath.
New Atlantis (1627)
 This work is like Utopia, a fragmentary sketch of Baconian Utopia.
 He tells how by accident a ship’s party comes to a land in which there was a great college of science,
which he begins to describe.
 This dream was to be partly fulfilled in the foundation of Royal society in 1662.

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 It is about inhabitants of ‘Bensalem’ that means ‘Son of Peace’. Bensalem is described as a ‘Utopian
City’ where inhabitants are described as having a high moral character and honesty. There is a
description of Solomon’s House in this book.
The Novam Organum (1620)
 It is a Latin work in which he discussed the new logic of reasoning upon which his philosophy was
founded. It is the second part of Instauratio Magna. It means ‘New Method’. It is dedicated to James
 This book I divided into two parts – i) On the interpretation of Nature and the empire of man, ii) On
the interpretation of Nature or the reign of Man.
History of Henry VII (1622)
 It marked a new era in English historiography, blended elements of Italian Renaissance and classical
Essays (1595-1612-1625) 3 editions
 I Edition (1595) – 10 essays were published including “Christian Meditations” and “Of the Colours of
Good and Evil”.
 II Edition (1612) – It consisted 38 essays including “Of Death”, “Of Religion”, “Of Life”, “Of
Nobility of Dispatch”, “Of Friendship”, “Of Ambition”, “Of Young Men and Age”, “Of Beauty”, “Of
Nature in Men”, “Of Custom and Education”, “Of Fortune”, “Of Vain Glory”, “Of Praise”, etc.
 III Edition (1625) – It consists of 58 essays including “Of Truth”, “Of Revenge”, “Of Adversity”, “Of
Simulation and Dissimulation”, “Of Envy”, “Of Boldness”, “Of Travel”, “Of Delays”, “Of
Innovation”, “Of Suspicion”, “Of Plantation”, “Of Prophecies”, etc.
 Full Title: - “Essayes: Religious Meditation Places of Perswasion and Disswasion. Seene and Allowed”
History of Life and Death
 It is a treatise on medicine, with observations natural and experimental for the prolonging of life.
The Wisdom of the Ancients (1609) (De Sepientia Venterum)
 It is published in Latin. It unveils the hidden meanings and teachings behind ancient Greek fables.
 The book opens with two dedications
▪ Earl of Salisbury
▪ University of Cambridge
Meditation Sacrae (1597)
 It is a collection of religious meditations
Quotations from Essays of Bacon
1. “Unmarried man are best friends, best masters, best servants but not always best subjects”
– Of Marriage and Single Life
2. “Wives are young men mistress, companion for middle ages and muses for old.”
– Of Marriage and Single Life
3. “Studies serve for delight, for ornament and for ability.”
– Of Studies
4. “Reading maketh a full man, Conference a ready man and writing an exact man.”
– Of Studies
5. “Crafty condemn studies, simple man admire them and wise man use them.”
– Of Studies
6. “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested.”
– Of Studies

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7. “History maketh man wise, poets witty, the mathematics subtle natural, philosophy deep moral grave, logic
and rhetoric able to centered.”
– Of Studies
8. “Read not to contradict, nor to believe, but to weigh and consider.”
– Of Studies
9. “Men in great place are thrice servants – servant of the sovereign or state, servants of fame and servants of
– Of Great Place
10. “It were better to have no opinion of god at all than such as opinion as is unworthy of him.”
– Of Superstition
11. “Since Custom is the principle magistrate of man’s life let man by all means endeavor to obtains good
– Of Custom and Education
12. “Beauty is as summer fruits which are easy to corrupt and can not taste: and for the most part it makes a
dissolute youth and an age a little out of countenance.”
– Of Beauty
13. “Certainty it is heaven upon earth to have a man, mind move in charity, rest in providence and turn upon
the poles of truth.”
– Of Truth
14. “Children sweetness labours but they make misfortunes more bitter. They increase the cares of life but
they mitigate the remembrance of death.”
15. “Lookers on many times see more than the gamesters.”
16. “God Almighty first planted a garden; and it is indeed the purest of human pleasures.”
– Of Gardens


Metaphysical Poets
 During the late 16th century and early 17th century the Elizabethan poetry exhausted itself. The people were
no more interested in Elizabethan writers so a new school of poetry emerged known as “Metaphysical
School of Poetry”.
 Drummond (1585-1649) was the first writer to use the term metaphysics.
 But it was John Dryden who used this term in English Literature while indicating to John Donne as –
“Donne affects the metaphysics not only in his satires but in his Amorous verses.”
 Dr. Samual Johson is the first to use “Metaphysical School of Poetry” in his work “Lives of the Most
Eminent English Poets” in the chapter Abraham Cowley, where he wrote –
“At the beginning of 17th century there appeased a race of writers that may be termed the Metaphysical
 Metaphysical were not said to be the great writers because they did not fulfill Aristotelian concept of poetry
as an imitative act. They did not imitate anything.
 They were not writing to please any one or to instruct but to create suspense or mystery and to achieve
their aim. They employed conceits.
 Dryden said – “Donne must be a great poet but he is not a good writer.”
 T. S. Eliot wrote a critical essay – “The Metaphysical Poet”.
 Metaphysical poets are:
 Andrew Marvell
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 John Donne
 George Herbert
 Richard Crashaw
 Thomas Carew
 Abraham Cowley
 Henry Vaughan
Characteristics of Metaphysical Poetry
 Noble Thought, Diction and Action.
 There thought and ideas were unique. They did not imitate anything. Walter Scott says –
“The Metaphysicals played with thoughts as Elizabethan had played with words.”
 Their ideas and thoughts were unique.
 T. S. Eliot said –
“In Metaphysicals unification of Sensibility is perceived for the first time.”
 Frequent Use of Conceits
 They have used conceits again and again. Conceit is far-fetched imagery as – “Compass”, “O My
America” etc.
 Learnedness of Unconventionality
 Dr. Johnson said –
“Metaphysicals were the man of Learning and to show their learning was their whole endeavor… They
copied neither nature nor life.”
 Love Affection or Hyperbole and Colloquialism
 Metaphysical poetry mainly deals with the theme of love, in which poetry has variously used
hyperboles. The poetry has abrupt starting.


John Donne
(1572 – 1631)
 John Donne was born in London in a Catholic family.
 In 1601, he married Ann More, the niece of his Patron and was imprisoned for elopement. Sir Robert
Drury was his Patron.
 In 1621, he was made “Dean of St. Paul Church”.
 He was persecuted for being a Catholic and was de-barred from taking a university degree and from a
public career. Later he changed to Anglican in 1615 on the order of King James I.
 None of his poetry was published during his lifetime.
 He wrote Satires, Elegies, Epigraphs, Verse Letters, Songs and Sonnets and Holy Sonnets.
 In one of his elegiac poem – “To His Mistress Going to Bed” he compares the fondling of the mistress to
the exploration of America as –
 “License my roving hands, and let them go
 Before, behind, between, above, below.
 O, my America, my Newfound Land
 My Kingdom, safest when with one mann’d”
 This elegy opens with –

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 “Come Madam, Come, all rest my powers defy;
 Until I labour, I in labour lie.”
 Upon the insistence of James I, Donne entered Anglican Priesthood. He is known for moving sermons
and religious poems.
 He wrote 19 ‘Holy Sonnets’ also called ‘Divine Meditations’. Title of Hemingway’s ‘For Whom the Bell
Tolls’ and Thomas Merton’s ‘No Man is an Island’ are taken from Donne’s Divine Meditation 17.
 For his Patron Robert Drury, Donne wrote two anniversary poems: –
 An Anatomy of the World (1611)
 Of the Progress of the Soul (1612)
 In 1610 and 1611 he wrote two anti-Catholic polemics: –
 Pseudo Martyr (1610)
 Ignatius his Conclave (1611)
 Ben Jonson criticized him saying –
 “Donne, for not keeping of accent, deserves hanging.”
 Because his rhythm resembled as a casual speech.
 Donne served in the parliament as a Member of Parliament in 1601 & 1614.
 Izaak Wolton wrote biography of Donne.
 Donne’s wife Anne died in 1617 while giving birth to her 12th child. Donne mourned deeply and wrote of
his love and loss in his 17th Holy Sonnets.
 In elegy VIII he compared the gap between his lover’s breasts to the Hellespont.
 He wrote “An Anatomy of the World” (1611) in the memory of Elizabeth Drury, daughter of his patron
Sir Robert Drury.
 He wrote a poem “A Nocturnal upon S. Lucy’s Day, Being the Shortest Day” in 1627 on the death of his
friend Lucy, Countess of Bedford and his daughter Lucy Donn.
 In his Sonnet X “Death be Not Proud”, he challenges the belief that those who die are sent to heaven to
live eternally. The famous line of the Sonnet is –
 “Death be not proud, though some called thee
 Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so.”
 Donne is considered a master of the metaphysical conceit & an extended metaphor. For example, in his
“A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” he compares two lovers who are separated to the two legs of
 He wrote a poem “The Canonization” in 1633 in which the speaker argues that his love will canonise him
into a kind of sainthood.
 T. S. Eliot mentioned Donne in his work – “Whispers of Immortality”
 Thomas Carew wrote “Elegy for John Donne”.
 Donne revolted against the tradition of Spenser.
 ‘Grierson’ quoted that “there are three distinctive strains in the love poetry of Donne – 1. Cynical, 2.
Platonic and 3. Conjugal.

Works of John Donne

 Biathanatos (1608): It was published after the death of Donne. It contains a heterodox defense of suicide
listing prominent Biblical examples.
 Pseudo-Martyr (1610): It is a polemical prose track in English by Donne. It was Donne’s first appearance
in print. It argued that English Roman Catholics should take the oath of Allegiance of James I of England.
 This work launched Donne into a career as a clergyman of the Church of England.

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 Ignatius his Conclave (1611): This work satirizes the jesuits. In the story St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder
of the jesuits is found to be in Hell.
 Ignatius is subsequently ejected from hell and ordered to colonize the moon where he will do less
 It also makes references to many scientists of the day, including Copernicus, Kepler, Brahe, and
 Devotions upon Emergent Occasions (1614)
 It is a prose work by Donne. It covers death, re-birth and the Elizabethan concepts of sickness as a visit
from god, reflecting internal sinfulness.
 The devotions is divided into 23 parts – each consisting of 3 sub-sections and called the
 Meditation
 the expostulation and
 a prayer
 Each section is in chronological order and reflection on a single day of illness.
 The 17th devotion includes the phrases –
“No man is an island” and
“For Whom the Bell Tolls”
 Holy Sonnets (1633)
 These are also called “Divine Meditations” or “Divine Sonnets”.
 It is a series of 19 poems by Donne. It was published posthumously. It is written in Petrarchan style,
consists of 2 quatrains (4 line stanza) and a sestet (6 line stanza).
 Sonnet XVIII, ‘Since she whom I loved hath paid her last debt’ is thought to have been written in
1617 following the death of his wife Anne More.
 In these sonnets Donne addresses religious themes of immortality, divine Judgment, divine love and
humble penance while reflecting deeply personal anxieties.
 The sonnets were written on Donne’s conversion to Anglicanism in 1615.
 Holy Sonnets appeared in three sequence
 Songs and Sonnets (1633); 12 Poems,
 Westmoreland MS (1620); 19 Poems &
 Divine Meditations (1635); 12 Poems.

 Sonnet X: “Death Be Not Proud”

 It appeared in all the three editions of Sonnets. 10th in Westmoreland edition, 11th in Songs and Sonnets
and 6th in Divine Meditation.
 Opening lines: –
“Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for, thou are not so,
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally
And death shall be no more, Death, thou shall die.”
 Donne suffered a major illness that brought him close to death during his eighth year as an Anglican

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 Sonnet XIV: “Batter My Heart”
 Opening lines: –
“Batter my heart, three – person’d God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine and seek to mend;…”

 Songs and Sonnets

It consists of the following poems:
 The Flea: It is dedicated to Ann More.
“Mark but this flea, and mark in this,
How little that thou deniest me is…
just so much honour, when thou yields’st to me,
Will waste, as this Flea’s death took life from thee.”
 The Good – Morrow
“I wonder, by my troth what thou and I
Did, till we loved? Were we not wean’d till then?

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest.”

 Go and Catch a Falling Star

“Go and catch a falling star
Get with child a mandrake root
And swear, no where
Lives a women true and fair
If thou find’st one, let me know
Such a pilgrimage were sweet.
Yet do not, I would not go,...”

 The Canonization
“For God’s sake hold your tongue and let me love
Or chide my palsy, or my gout …
That they did all to you epitomize –
Countries, towns, courts beg from above

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A pattern of your love.”
 A Valediction Forbidding Mourning
“As virtuous men pass mildly away,
and whisper their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say
Now his breath goes and some say ‘No’.
So let us melt, and make no noise
No-tear floods, nor sigh-tempests move
Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.”
 It was written for his wife Anne before he left a trip to continental Europe.
 The Progress of the Soul
 It contains an epistle and “Progress of the Soul: First Song”.

Other poems of John Donne are: –

 Woman’s Constancy
 The Undertaking
 The Sun-rising
 The Indifferent
 Love’s Usury
 The Triple Fool
 Lover’s Infiniteness
 Song: Sweetest Love, I do not go
 The Legacy
 A Fever
 Air and Angels
 Break of Day
 The Anniversary
 A Valediction of my Name, in the Window
 Twickenham Garden: Donne compares his lovers tear with the wine of love.
 Valediction to his Book
 Community
 Love’s Growth
 Love’s Exchange
 Confined Love
 The Dream
 A Valediction of Weeping
 Love’s Alchemy
 The Curse
 The Message
 A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy’s Day, being the shortest day
 Witchcraft by a picture

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 The Blossom
 The Dissolution
 Song: Soul’s joy now I am gone
 Farewell to Love
 A Dialogue between Sir Henry Wotton and Mr. Donne.

Epithalamion or Marriage Songs by Donne

 On the Lady Elizabeth and Count Palatine
 Being marries on St. Valentine Day.
“Hail Bishop Valentine, whose day this is;
All the air is thy diocese...”
 Eclogue: At the marriage of earl of Somerset
 Epithalamion Made at Lincoln’s Inn.

Elegies by John Donne

i) Jealousy
ii) The Anagram
iii) “O, Let me not Serve so, as those Man Serve”
iv) Nature’s lay idiot, I Taught Thee to Love
v) “Come, Fates; I Fear You Not!”
vi) His Parting from Her
vii) The Expostulation
viii) Elegy on his Mistress
ix) The Heavens Rejoice in Motion.
x) To his Mistress Going to Bed – (Elegy XIX)
“Come, Madam, come, all rest my powers defy,
Until I labour, I in labour lie.
The foe oft-times having the foe in sight,
Is tir’d with standing though he never fight.
Off with that girdle, like heaven’s Zone glistering,
But a far fairer world encompassing.
Unpin that spangled breastplate which you wear,
That th’eyes of busy fools may be stopped there.
Unlace yourself, for that harmonious chime,
Tells me from you, that now it is bed time.
Off with that happy busk, which I envy,
That still can be, and still can stand so nigh.

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Full nakedness! All joys are due to thee,
As souls unbodied, bodies uncloth’d must be,
To taste whole joys. Gems which you women use
Are like Atlanta’s balls, cast in men’s views,

To teach thee, I am naked first; why then
What needest thou have more covering than a man.”

Divine Poems of Donne

i. Temple
ii. Crucifying
iii. Re-Surrection

Letters to Several Personages

i. To the Countess of Bedford
ii. To Mr. Izaak Walton
iii. To Ben Jonson
Satires by Donne
 Of Religion
 Well; I may now Receive, and Die
 To Sir Nicolas Smyth


John Milton
 Milton was an English Poet, polemicist, man of Letters and a civil servant for the commonwealth of
England under Oliver Cromwell.
 He is best known for his Paradise Lost (1667 & 1674) written in Blank verse.
 He wrote in English, Latin, Greek & Italian and became internationally famous. Milton’s first Latin elegy is
‘Elegia Prima’.
 His Aeropagitica (1644) is among history’s most influential and impassioned defences of free speech and
freedom of press.
 William Hayley in his 1796 biography called him “the greatest English author”.

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 Dr. Samuel Johnson appreciated “Paradise Lost” as –
“A poem which… with respect to design may claim the first place, and with respect to performance,
the second, among the productions of human mind.”
 At Christ College Cambridge, Milton was called “Lady of the Christ”.
 In 1626, he wrote the first Latin elegy to Charles Diodati.
 He wrote another elegy, Lycidas (1638) on the death of his friend Edward King in the collection of elegies
- “Just a Edouardo King Naufrago”
 Samuel Johnson, in his “Life of the Most Eminent English Poets” wrote about Milton as –
“It appears in all his writings that he has the usual concomitant of great abilities, a lofty and steady
confidence in himself, perhaps not without some contempt of others; for scarcely any man ever
wrote so much, and praised so few.”
 His two masques Arcades and Comus were both composed for noble patrons’ connections of the Egerton
family and performed in 1632 and 1634 respectively.
 Milton’s first foray into polemics was – Of Reformation Touching Church Discipline in England (1641),
followed by Of Prelatical Episcopacy.
 In 1644 he wrote a short tract “Of Education” urging a reform of the national universities.
 At the age of 34, Milton married Mary Powell, a 16-years-old girl.
 In 1652 Milton went completely blind and his wife Mary Powell also died. He remarried in 1656 to
Katherine Woodcock.
 In 1659 he wrote “A Letter to a Friend, Concerning the Ruptures of the Commonwealth” in response to
General Lambert’s recent dissolution of the Rump Parliament.
 Upon the restoration in May 1660, Milton was briefly imprisoned.
 In 1663, Milton married for the third time with Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Minshull.
 Milton published minor prose works such as a grammar text book Art of Logic and History of Britain.
 In 1674, Milton died of Kidney failure.
 Milton’s first published poem was On Shakespeare (1630) and it was anonymously included in the second
folio edition of William Shakespeare in 1632.
 Milton collected his works in 1645 Poems, published by Humphery Mosley.
 His famous work Paradise Regained (1671) appeared along with another tragedy play Samson Agonistes
together in 1671.
 Milton’s theological views are presented in his De Doctrina Christiana, in this he also expresses support
for polygamy.
 In his 1641 treatise Of Reformation, Milton expressed his dislike for Catholicism and episcopacy.
 In 1643, he wrote The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce.
 John Dryden began the trend of describing Milton as the “poet of the sublime”.
 William Blake placed Edmund Spenser as Milton’s precursor, and saw himself as Milton’s Poetical son.
Blake in his poem Milton a Poem, used Milton as a character. Blake considered him a major poet. Blake
made the illustration on both poems L’Allegro (The Happy man) & Il Penseroso (The Melancholy man).
 William Wordsworth began his sonnet “London”, 1802 with –
“Milton! Thou should’st be living at this hour”.
and modelled his The Prelude, a blank verse epic on Paradise Lost.

 John Keats exclaimed that:

“Miltonic verse can not be written but in an artful or rather artist’s humour.”
 Harold Bloom in his The Anxiety of Influence wrote that –
“Milton is the central problem in any theory and history of poetic influence in English”.
 Milton’s ‘Aeropagitica’ is cited as the “First amendment to the United States Constitution”
 Quotation from ‘Aeropagitica’ –
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“A good book is the precious lifeblood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose
to a life beyond life.”
 In 1631, appeared his two narrative poems together L’Allegro and Il Penseroso. L’Allegro means “Happy
man” contrasting the comparison pastoral poem Il Penseroso, that means “melancholy man”.
 He also wrote a sonnet entitled “On His Having arrived at the age of 23”.
 L’Allegro is written in “Octosyllabic Couplet” (tetrameter couplet).
 His sonnet – ‘On his Blindness’ & ‘On the Late Massacre in Piedmont’ are written in Iambic pentameter.
 The elegy, Lycidas (1638) is written in irregular meter and rhyme.
 Dryden said –
“Milton was the Poetic son of Spenser”.

 Tennyson called Milton –

“The mighty mouthe inventor of harmonies – good gifted organ, voice of England”.
 Wordsworth said –
“The Sonnet in Milton’s hand becomes a trumpet”.
 His masque Comus (1634) is subtitled –
“A Masque presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634, On Michaelmas Night”.
 It is written in blank verse. It’s music is composed by Henry Lawes. It was first presented before
John Egerton, the 1st earl of Bridge Water.
 The masque Arcades (1632) was written in praise of Alice Spencer, Countess Dowager of Darby.
 The masques of Milton was influenced by the masques of Ben Jonson.
 Horton Poems: From 1635, Milton spent 6 years at Horton in intensive private study. The poems written
during this period are called Horton Poems. They are –
1. Upon the Circumcision
2. At a Solemn music
3. On Time
4. Arcades & Comus
5. Lycidas.
 Mathew Arnold called Milton’s style as “Grand Style”.
 Lycidas is written in 6 sections – a prologue, four main parts and an epilogue.
 “and calm of mind all passion spent” is a famous line from Samson Agonistes.
 Dryden called Milton “Poet of Sublime”.
 “Love virtue, she alone is free” – a line from Comus.
 “Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil” – from Lycidas.
 Dr. Johnson’s criticised Lycidas for the ‘inherent improbability’ of its pastoral convention.
 Dryden was the first to say that “Satan is the real Hero of Paradise Lost”.
 William Blake in his “Marriage of Heaven and Hell” said about Milton –
“… he was a true poet and of the devil’s party without knowing it.”
 William Hazlitt in the essay “On Milton’s Sonnet” said about Milton’s sonnet –
“Compared with Paradise Lost, they are like tender flowers that adorn the base of some proud column or
stately temple”.
 “Milton’s Grand Style” is a famous book by Christopher Rick.
 Milton has written 24 sonnets (19 in English and 5 in Latin). His sonnets are Pertachan Sonnets
comprising an octave and a sestet (Octave may be divided into two stanzas abba abba and sestet into two
stanzas of three lines each called tercet cdc cdc or cdecde).
 Spenser was Milton’s Master.

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 Wordsworth said– “The sonnet in Milton’s hand became a trumpet.”
 “Milton was the poetic son of Spenser” – Dryden
 Tennyson called Milton “The mighty mouthe inventor of harmonies- god gifted organ voice of England.”

Note: William Wordsworth wrote 523 sonnets, John Keats 67, S. T. Coleridge 48 and P. B. Shelley 18

Major Works of Milton

Poetry & Drama
 On Shakespeare (1630)
 L’Allegro (1631)
 Il Penseroso (1631)
 A Mask Presented at Lulow Castle (Comus) (1634)
 Lycidas (1638)
 Poems of Mr. John Milton, Both English and Latin (1645)
 When I consider How my Light is Spent (commonly known as “On His Blindness”) – 1652
 On the Late Massacre in Piedmont – 1655
 Paradise Lost – 1667 & 1674
 Paradise Regained – 1671
 Samson Agonistes (1671)
 Poems, & C upon Several Occessions (1673)

 Of Reformation (1641)
 Of Prelatical Episcopacy (1641)
 Animad Versions (1641)
 The Reason of Church government urged against Prelaty (1642)
 Apology for Smectymnuus (1642)
 Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce (1643)
 Judgement of Martin Bucer concerning divorce (1644)
 Of Education (1644)
 Aeropagitica (1644)
 Tetrachordon (1645)
 Colaterian (1645)
 The Tenuse of Kings and Magistrates (1649)
 Eikonoklastes (1649)
 Defensio pro Populo Anglicano (First Defense) – 1651
 Defensio Securda (Second Defense) – 1654
 A Treatise of Civil Power
 The Ready and easy way to establish a Free Commonwealth (1660)
 History of Britain (1670)
 Of true Religion (1673)
 De Doctrina Christiana (1823)
Paradise Lost
 It is an epic poem written in blank verse in 1667.

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 In consisted of ten books. A second edition followed in 1674 which was arranged into twelve books. On
the reader’s request and also to neatly match with Virgil’s Aenied which was also written into 12 books,
Book VII, and Book X was split into two, thus total 12 books.
 Milton’s purpose to write this book as per Book I, is to “Justify the way of god to man.”
 In 1674 edition Milton also added an introductory prose “argument” summarizing the plot of each book
to prepare readers for the complex poetry that was to follow.
 In Paradise Lost, Satan takes various shapes as:
 Comet or meteor
 Cherub
 Cormorant
 Toad
 Serpent/snake
 Milton opens his poem’s subject: Human kind’s first act of disobedience towards god.
 The act is Adam and Eve’s eating forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge.
 The first book of the bible is called Genesis.
 Milton asserts that the sin of Adam and Eve’s brought death to human beings for the first time, causing to
lose our home in paradise until Jesus comes to restore humankind to its former position of purity.
 Milton’s speaker announces that he wants to be inspired with this sacred knowledge because he wants to
show his fellowman that the fall of humankind into sin and death was part of the god’s greater plan and
that god’s plan is justified.
 Thus prologue finishes.

Book I

 Immediately after the prologue, Milton raises the question of how Adam and Eve’s disobedience occurred
and explains that their actions were tempted by Satan.
 Satan and his followers are residing in Hell after defeated by god. He turns himself into a serpent.
 The second-in-command of the hell is Beelzebub who stands in a lake of fire that gives darkness instead of
 Satan does not repent on his rebellion against god while Beelzebub now believes that God can’t be
 The two devils then decide to pervert god’s good works to evil purposes.
 All the devils who were following Satan were angels, but they choose to follow Satan in his rebellion and
turns into devils.
 God was allowing the devil’s intentions because god wanted the evils to turn good at the end.
 Satan believes that it is better to be a King in Hell rather servant in heaven. He also remarks that the mind
can make its own hell out of heaven.
 Satan appears like a comet or meteor, a fallen angel, in the beginning.
 The devils dig into the bowels of ground, unearthing gold and other minerals.
 With their inhuman power they construct a great temple in a short time, called Pandemonium (which
means “all the demons”).
 All the demons make Pandemonium as their meeting place.
 Being spirits, they compact themselves and thousands of demons enter in the Pandemonium.

Book II
 Satan opens the debate in Pandemonium, and claimed that heaven is not yet lost if they work together,
they can rise stronger against the god in the next battle.
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 Beelzebub says that rumors have been circulating that a new world is to be created by god with a race
called ‘man’ whom god will favour more than angels.
 All the devils plan to destroy this new race and Satan volunteers himself to find out about this new world.
 Satan flies off to find Hell’s gate and he sees nine gates– three each of brass, iron, and adamantine and two
strange shapes guarding them.
 Satan chooses to confront them (shapes) demanding passage through the gates.
 The shapes reveal that they are Satan’s own offsprings. Actually they were sin and death who were
guarding the Hell.
 Now they are ready to open the Hell’s gate when they listen to the plan of Satan.
 When Satan enters the dark Hell, he began to fall but was carried by a cloud of fire.
 There he meets Chaos who tells the way to where Earth has recently been created.
 They make a bridge from Hell to Earth so that all evils can travel to tempt mortals.

Book III
 The scene is Heaven, where god has been watching all of the events in Hell with his Son sitting at his right
 The god sees everything, past, present, and future.
 God says that a suitable sacrifice must be made, someone worthy must offer to die to pay for man’s sin.
 Satan lands on Earth in Mount Niphates (Now in China).
 From the Earth, Satan sees a high reaching structure in the distance, an enormous kingly gate in the sky
with stairs leading all the way to Earth.
 Satan when sees an angel Uriel, he changes himself to a Cherub, a low ranking angel.
 After talking with Uriel, Satan flies off with dark intentions.
Book IV (645 lines)
 Satan lands to Mount Niphates, just north of Paradise, the Garden of Eden.
 Uriel notices that Satan is not a cherub from his facial expressions.
 Satan now reached Garden of Eden, surrounded by a great thick wall.
 He sees there the tallest tree, Tree of Life and next to it, is Forbidden Tree of Knowledge. He sits on the
Tree of Life (highest in the garden) in the shape of a Cormorant.
 Satan notices two creatures erected among the other animals, they walk naked without shame and work
pleasantly in the Garden of Eden.
 The erect creatures are Adam and Eve.
 Adam tells Eve about god blessings, and asked her not to eat the fruit of Knowledge Tree.
 Uriel comes to Archangel Gabriel, at the Gate of Eden, and tells him about the shape of changing spirit.
 Gabriel sends search party into the garden. Two of his angels find Satan, disguised as Toad, whispering in
the ear of Eve when she sleeps.
 Satan is brought in front of Gabriel by the two angels, and Satan prepares to fight him.
 Their fight is stopped when they see a sign from Heaven– the appearance in the sky of a pair of golden
 Satan recognizes the sign, meaning as ‘he could not’ win and flies off.

Book V
 Adam awakes with a peaceful sleep.
 Eve explained her dream in which she hears a voice and follows it to the Tree of Knowledge.
 In Heaven, God calls Archangel Raphael and ordered him to warn Adam and Eve.
 Raphael meets with Adam and Eve and explains the difference between heavenly food and earthly food.
 Raphael describes of the things God created on earth.

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 The highest substance is spirit which God put into humankind.
 Below human are animals which have no spirit followed by plants and inanimate objects.
 Raphael says that man is the highest being on earth because his ability to reason, and warns Adam to be
 Raphael explains further– All hierarchies of angels were obedient to God. One day father announced
about birth of Son.
 While God’s announcement pleased most of the angels, but among them one was angry so he lost his
heavenly name and now called Satan.
 Satan erected his own throne in Heaven and told his followers that they should not allow themselves to be
unjustly ruled.
 One of the follower of Satan disagreed named, Abdiel.
 Abdiel returns to God’s side.

Book VI
 God appoints Gabriel and Michael the leaders of Heaven’s army.
 The battle begins between Satan and God.
 God decides that there will be no fighting on the third day and said that war must now be end.
 Satan including rebel angels were driven out of the Gate of Heaven through a hole in Heaven’s ground.
 They fall for 9 days through Chaos before landing in Hell.
 Raphael warns Adam that Satan has begun a plot for the doom of mankind.
 Raphael explains to Adam that they must fear Satan and must not yield to his evil plot.

Book VII (shortest book, 640 lines)

 In this book Milton asks Urania to ensure his safe transition from relating the story of war in Heaven back
to Raphael and Adam’s conversation on Earth.
 Adam then asks about his creation and creation of the new world, for which Raphael replies politely.
 Raphael replies that God decided to create Earth and humans, with the idea that Earth and Heaven will
eventually be joined together as one Kingdom through mankind’s obedience to God’s divine will.
 Raphael further said that God sent his Son down into Chaos to create Earth.
 The Earth first formed out of chaos and given light and dark (day and night) in equal measure.
 The creation on earth took six days and Adam and Eve were created last.
 God gives Adam one command, he must not eat the fruit from the Knowledge Tree, which gives
knowledge of good and evil.
 Son, after finishing his work of creation, hanged Earth beneath Heaven by a chain.
 Pleased with the work of his Son, God takes rest on the seventh day, which then becomes known as

 After Raphael finishes the story of creation, Adam asked him about the motions of the stars, sun, and
 Eve leaves them alone, so that she can hear the same conversation from Adam afterwards.
 Raphael mentions that it does not matter whether the Earth moves or the sun moves around the Earth, he
warns Adam that he should be satisfied with the knowledge that God has made available and to resist the
urge to gain further understanding outside of the limit he has set.
 After Raphael finishes, Adam tells him about his own creation.
 He explains that he desired to have a companion more like him with whom he can share his thoughts. So
God created Eve from a rib in Adam’s side while he slept.
 Adam instantly fell in love with Eve.

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 Raphael says that while Eve is more beautiful from outside, she is less worthy than Adam from inside.
 Her spirituality is weaker than Adam, her intellect is slightly less developed and her vanity is a serious
 Raphael again reiterates Adam to avoid temptations from Satan.
 Afterwards Raphael return to Heaven and Adam goes for a sleep.

Book IX (longest book, 1189 lines)

 The actual disobedience of Adam and Eve takes place in this book.
 Milton asserts that the fall of humankind is more heroic than the tales of Virgil and Homer.
 Satan returns after 8 days when he caught and banished by Gabriel.
 Satan feels jealous to see the beauty of earth that is even more beautiful than Heaven.
 Satan enters in the body of a snake and becomes a serpent.
 The next morning, because of much work to do, Adam and Eve decides to work separately.
 Satan speaks in a man’s voice to Eve who surprises to see such creature. She asked the serpent about how
he can speak and he tells that it is all the magic of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.
 Eve is convinced and eats the forbidden apple.
 Adam now thinks that Eve alone will be punished by God now, so he eats the apple too, because he loved
Eve so much.

Book X
 The scene is heaven where God knows about the guilt of Adam and Eve and he sends his Son to earth to
pass judgment on the couple.
 In Paradise, Son calls Adams along with Eve. They are embarrassed by their nakedness.
 The Son condemns the serpent for his evil act and order that all snakes will now have to crawl on their
bellies and they can never be upright again.
 Son also declares that Adam and Eve’s children will strike the serpent’s head while serpents will bite
humans forever.
 Now Son gives the punishment to couples, Eve and all women to follow, will give birth in pain and must
submit to their husband.
 Adam and all men after him, will have to labour to hunt and harvest food in cursed ground. Son returns to
 In Hail, Sin and Death remain at the gate of Hell where Satan left them.
 Sensing Satan has succeeded, they finish the linking bridge from Hell to Earth and travel towards Earth to
meet him.
 At the edge of Paradise, Sin and Death meets Satan. They congratulate him and promise him that they will
infect the earth.
 Death will corrupt all living things causing them to die, and sin will corrupt thoughts and deeds of
 Satan returns to Hell and speaks about his triumph from Pandemonium.
 All devils along with Satan are transformed to snake as Son’s curse.
 A grove of trees appears in Hell and when the snakes try to bite it, it turns to ashes.
 Sin and Death begin their work on earth.
 The God tells the angels that he will allow Sin and Death to stay on earth until judgment day. After that
they must return to Hell and will be locked forever along with Satan and other devils.
 God calls the angels to alter the universe. They tilt the earth’s axis or alter the path of sun.
 Now humankind will have to endure extreme hot and cold seasons.
 On the earth there was a fight between animals and to see that Adam reproaches himself and insult Eve’s
female nature.

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 Eve urges Adam not to leave her and says that unity and love can save them in a fallen world.
 They decides to obey God’s order and confess their sins and asks for forgiveness.

Book XI
 God hears the prayers of Adam and Eve and asked his Son to act as an advocate for humankind.
 The Father then calls all the angels together and tells about his plan. He commands Michael to go down to
earth and escorts out Adam and Eve out of Paradise because now they can’t live in a pure place because
they are impure now.
 But after death they can be reunited with God.
 Adam reassures Eve that she will be able to take revenge on Satan by being the mother of humankind.
 Michael arrives and asked Adam and Eve to leave the Paradise.
 They are shocked and sadden to know this but Michael comforts them saying that all of the earth has been
given to them under the eye of the Father.
 Michael takes Adam to a high hill to show him visions of humankind future while he puts Eve to sleep.
 From the high hill he sees the entire hemisphere of the earth.
 Adam sees two men offering sacrifice and watches one of them killed the other.
 Michael explains that those men are Cain and Abel, the first sons of Adam and Eve.
 Adam is shocked and dismayed at his first vision of death.
 The angel shows him the other ways that will take lives of man, i.e. disease, war, and old age.
 Adam asked about any alternative to death, Michael advises him to obey and living a virtuous life can allow
people to live long and fruitful lives till Heaven permits.
 Next vision appears of men and women enjoying dances, games, and amorous courting. Adam assumes
that vision is good but Raphael informs him that they are atheist, who lives for pleasure not for God.
 The next vision is about great armies slaughtering men by thousands and plundering cities.
 The next vision is about a single man preaching to others but he is ignored. He goes off to mountains and
constructs a giant boat, filling it with all the animals of the earth and his family.
 A great flood then comes wiping out all living things except those on the boat.
 The good man who built the boat is Noah.
 Michael tells that how God was angered by humankind’s sinful ways and decides to clean the earth.
 The God found one virtuous man and preserves humankind through him.
 At the end of the flood Adam sees a rainbow appear and God’s promise that he will never destroy the
earth again by flood.
 Adam feels reassured by this story and its promise that virtue and obedience to God will continue on earth
through Noah.

Book XII

 Michael continues relating the story of the future of humankind to Adam.

 After the flood, human now act obediently to God than before flood.
 After several generations later, a leader arrives with proud and ungodly ambition. This man is Nimrod, a
tyrant who forced many man under his rule.
 He constructs the Tower of Babel to reach to Heaven.
 As a result God gives punishment that men will speak different languages and will not be able to
understand each other.
 Continuing his story, Michael explains that God chooses Israel, as the one nation to rise above the rest.
 He takes one person Abraham, father of Israelites from the race that worships idols.
 At God’s command, Abraham sets off from his native land and travels to Canaan, the promised land.
 A man named Moses is born and he eventually leads the people out of Egypt.

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 After listening all these future stories Adam is relieved that God will bless a portion of humankind after
having it cursed for so long.
 Michael says that in Israel, after many different rulers, a King named David will appear and from his
descendants will eventually come a Messiah named as Jesus or Son, who will bring together Heaven and
Earth once again.
 However he will have to suffer a lot. He will be punished to death but his resurrection will fulfill the
prophecy of Son.
 Adam worries that the followers of the Jesus will be prosecuted.
 Michael replies that definitely they will be prosecuted but Messiah will send down Holy Spirit to provide
spiritual protection.
 The world will continue to accommodate evil and make it difficult for individuals to do good deeds.
 Adam is comforted and they prepare to leave Paradise. He comes down from the mountain. Eve awakes
and says that she had educating dreams.
 Adam and eve turn away from Paradise hand in hand with Michael.
 Note: Dr. Samuel Johnson praised Paradise Lost as “a poem which... with respect to design may claim the
first place, and with respect to performance, the second, among the productions of the human mind.”
 Dr. Johnson described Milton’s politics as those of an “acrimonious and surely Republican.”

Paradise Regained (1671)

 Paradise Regained is a poem by John Milton, but first published in 1671 by John Macock.
 The volume which contained it, also contained Samson Agonistes; a tragic closet drama (Agonistes means
 It is a sequel of Paradise Lost written in blank verse.
 It is published in 4 books.

Book I
 When the story of fall is complete, Milton declares his intention to write of Jesus.
 The book opens with baptism of Jesus by John.
 Satan and all the fallen angels meet to discuss what to do and Satan proposes to try “temptation and all
 After the baptism, Jesus feels the Holy Spirit leading him and after a brief recitation of his life wanders into
the desert.
 Forty days passes during which he neither eats nor feels the need.
 Finally, Jesus encounters an old man (Satan actually disguised as an Old man) gathering sticks; he suggests
that if he is the Son of God, he should miraculously change the stones into bread, so that he can eat.
 Jesus reveals the identity of Satan and he also admits. Jesus curses Satan for his evil acts.

Book II

 Satan returns to his council saying that Jesus is much more difficult to deceive than Adam.
 Belial, another fallen angel suggests about tempting Jesus with women as they had tempted Solomon.
 Satan rejects his plan saying “Only weak minds falls victims to this play and this time higher lures are
 In the desert, Jesus starts feeling hunger after forty days and in the night he again encounters Satan this
time disguised as richly dressed man.
 He offers food to Jesus but he rejects.

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 Then Satan offers him wealth and richness so that he can rise and feed an army of followers.
 Jesus rejects this offer as well.

Book III
 Satan now offers a new temptation: power. Jesus rejects this proposal also saying that it is wrong to seek
glory. But he says that for God it is right because he deserves it.
 After listening to this argument Satan is stunned and speechless.
 Following the conversation, Satan carries Jesus to a high mountain to where he shows him the great
kingdoms and armies of the world.
 Satan offers Jesus to have control of any of them in order to establish his own kingdom on earth and free
his people of Israelites, but Jesus rejects this too.

Book IV

 From the mountain, Satan also shows Jesus the capital city of Imperial Rome, and asks if he will not
overthrow the wicked current emperor, Tiberius Caesar, and take throne, but Jesus rejects this also.
 A flurry of further offers follows. Satan offers Wisdom and Philosophy from Greece but Jesus dismisses
 Satan offers music and art, Jesus rejects this offer saying the Hebrew’s music is already the best.
 Finally Satan asks “Since neither wealth, nor honour, arms nor arts, kingdom nor empire please thee, what
do you want in this world?”.
 He returns Jesus to the desert and troubles his sleep with dream of terrible storms and ghastly visions but
he does not succeed.
 In his last effort he brings Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem tempting him to prove his
divinity by casting himself down and having angels catch him, but Jesus refuses his offer.
 Satan now falls and flies away to the council of devils.
 Jesus is fed by an angelic banquet commemorating his victory and returns to his mother Mary’s house.
 Satan calls himself an unfortunate spirit.


Restoration Period
Brief Candles of Restoration Period

 In year 1660 King Charles II (exiled Stuart King) was restored to English throne. He became monarch of
England, Scotland, and Ireland.
 In 1685-1688 James II took the throne.
 29 May 1660 was made a public holiday because on this day Charles II was restored to throne, this day is also
known as ‘Oak Apple Day’.
 Venner Rebellion: On Jan 6, 1661 about 50 monarchists, headed by a wine cooper named Thomas Venner
tried to gain possession of London in the name of ‘King Jesus’. Most were killed or prisoned and 10 were

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 In 1688, King James II was overthrown from the throne by a union of English Parliamentarians with the
Dutch stadtholder William III of Orange (Mary was the daughter of James II).
 William III took the throne and married daughter of James II, Mary, and made her empress and ruled along
with her.
 Hanoverian period started in 1714 after accession of George I.
 Before the reign of Charles II, the role of women on the stage were played by men or young children but in
the time of Charles II woman come on stage for the first time.
 After accession of Charles II, in 1660, the theatres were reopened which were closed in 1642.
 Popular writers of restoration comedy were John Dryden, George Etherege, and William Congreve.
 The restoration was an age of poetry and drama.
 Sir William Davenant was first restoration poet to attempt an epic. His Gondibert (unfinished) and The Siege
of Rhodes are famous for it.
 The Hind and the Panther by Dryden praised the Roman Church above all others.
 Popish Plot: It was a fictious conspiracy concocted by Titus Oates between 1678-1681. Oates alleged that
there existed an extensive Catholic conspiracy to assassinate Charles II, accusations that led to the execution of
at least 22 men and precipitated the excursion bill crises.
 In 1707 under the ‘Union of Act’, England, Scotland, and Wales were united as United Kingdom.
 After Restoration, Thomas Killigrew and William Davenant were given royal patents to stage the theatres.
 Margaret Hughes/Hews is credited as the first professional actress on the English stage. At the age of 30, she
made a history in British theatre by becoming the first women to perform on an English stage at the Vere
Street Theatre. The date was 8 December 1660, when Margaret played a role of Desdemona in Othello
staged by Thomas Killigrew and King’s Company.


William Congreve
 William Congreve was an English playwright and poet.
 He was born in Bardsey, West Yorkshire, England.
 He met at Kilkenny College with Jonathan Swift who remained as his lifetime friend.
 He became disciple of Dryden.
 By the age of thirty he had written four comedies including The Way of the World, Love for Love, and one
tragedy The Mourning Bride.
 He was specialized in sexual comedy of manners.
 He was member of Kit-Kat Club.
 He was stung by critique Jeremy Collier ( in A Short View of the Immortality and Profaneness of the English
Stage) to the point he wrote a long reply– “Amendments of Mr. Collier’s False and Imperfect Citations”.
 Congreve never married.
 In 1710 he suffered from Gout and Cataracts and in 1728 he suffered a carriage accident from which he never
recovered and died in 1729 and was buried in Poet’s corner in Westminster Abbey.
 “Congreve is undoubtedly the greatest of the Restoration Comedy.” – Albert

Famous Quotes by Congreve

1. “O fie, miss, you must not kiss and tell.” – from All for Love
2. “Music has charms to soothe a savage breast.” – from The Mourning Bride

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3. “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.” – from The Mourning

Famous Works of William Congreve

1. The Old Bachelor (1693)
2. The Double Dealer (1694)
3. Love for Love (1695)
4. The Mourning Bride (1697)
5. The Way of the World (1700)
6. Epistle to Lord Halifax
7. Incognita: Love and Duty Reconcil’d (only novel by him)

1. The Old Bachelor

 It is the first play of Congreve written in 1693.
 Heartwell is the old bachelor who is a woman hater.
 He falls in love with Silvia, not knowing her to be forsaken mistress of Vainlove.
 He is lured to marry Silvia but he later discovers her true character as a prostitute.
 This comedy includes the amusing character Sir Joseph Wittol, a foolish knight, who allows himself to be
really married to Silvia under the impression that she is the wealthy Araminta.

2. The Double Dealer

 It is a comic play by Congreve written in 1694.
 The Double Dealer is also a magazine published from 1920.
 Mellefont, nephew and prospective heir of Lord Touchwood is about to marry Cynthia, daughter of Sir
Paul Plyant.
 Lady Touchwood, a violent and dissolute woman was also in love with Mellefont but he rejects her
 Lady Touchwood finds Maskwell, a double dealer who has been her lover; he pretends to be Mellefont’s
 He aspires to cheat Mellefont, of Cynthia and get her for himself.
 Maskwell leads Plyant to suspect an intrigue between Mellefont and Lady Plyant.
 He also leads Touchwood to suspect an intrigue between Mellefont and Lady Touchwood, and contrives
that Touchwood shall find Mellefont in his wife’s chamber.
 Mellefont is disinherited and now Cynthia is to be made over to Maskwell.
 Here the plot of Maskwell goes wrong because Lord Touchwood informs Lady Touchwood of
Maskwell’s intention to marry Cynthia.
 This awakens the jealousy of Lady Touchwood, so she finds Maskwell and rebukes him.
 Lord Touchwood also perceives Maskwell’s treachery and defeats his final attempt to carry off Cynthia.

3. Love for Love

 It is a comedy play by Congreve; written in 1695.
 Valentine has fallen under the displeasure of his father because of his extravagance, so was besieged by
 His father, Sir Sampson Legend offers him £4000 only enough to pay his debts and then he should sign a
bond giving his right of inheritance to his younger brother Ben.
 As Valentine was embarrassed, he signed the bond.
 Valentine was in love with Angelica, who possess a fortune of her own but she had not decided her
 Sir Sampson has arranged a match between Ben, who is at sea, and Miss Prue, an awkward country girl,
the daughter of Foresight, a superstitious old fool who claims to be an astrologer.

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 Valentine realized his ruin entailed by the signature on the bond, he tries to move his father by
submission, but fails.
 He then pretends to be mad and unable to sign the final deed of conveyance to his brother.
 Finally Angelica intervenes and induces Sir Sampson to propose marriage to her, pretends to accept, and
gets possession of Valentine’s bond.
 When Valentine is in despair at finding that Angelica is about to marry his father, declares himself to sign
 Angelica reveals the plot and tears the bond and declares her love for Valentine.

4. The Mourning Bride

 It is a tragedy written by Congreve and published in 1697.
 Congreve has written only one tragedy.
 The famous line “Music has charms to soothe a savage breast.” and “Heaven has no rage, like love to
hatred turn’d, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorn’d” appears in this tragedy.
 The play is about Almeria, daughter of King Manuel of Granada, who secretly marries Alphonso.
 Alphonso is the son of her father’s hated enemy King Anselmo of Valencia.
 Almeria is separated from her husband in a shipwreck but they are united again when Alphonso, in
disguise is captured by Manuel along with Queen Zara.
 Manual is mistakenly executed by his own orders.
 Zara commits suicide and Alphonso helps overthrow the government and publicly regains his bride.
5. The Way of the World
 It is a play by Congreve written in 1700. It is a five act play.
 Act I is set in a Chocolate house where Mirabell and Fainall have just finished card games.
 A footman informs them that Waitwell (male servant of Mirabell) and Foible (female servant of Lady
Wishfort) were married.
 Fainall encourages Mirabell to marry Millament as he was already in love with her.
 Mirabell is informed by Witwoud and Petulant that if Lady Wishfort marries, he will lose £6000 of
Millament’s inheritance.
 He will only get this money if Lady Wishfort gives her consent about the marriage of Mirabell and
 The act 2 is set in St. James’ Park.
 Mrs. Fainall and Mrs. Marwood are discussing about their hatred of man.
 Fainall appears and accuses Mrs. Marwood (with her, he is having an affair) of loving Mirabell (which she
 Mrs. Fainall (Mirabell’s former lover) tells Mirabell that she hates her husband.
 Mrs. Fainall and Mirabell plan to get consent of Lady Wishfort to marry Mirabell with Millament.
 Millament comes to know about Mirabell’s plan and expresses her displeasure about it.
 Mirabell asks the newly wed servants to execute the plan.
 Act 3, 4, and 5 are all set in the home of Lady Wishfort.
 Foible encourages Lady Wishfort to marry Sir Rowland, Mirabell’s uncle, so that Mirabell will lose his
 However Sir Rowland is actually Waitwell in disguise.
 Mirabell plan was to entangle Lady Wishfort in a marriage which cannot go ahead because it will be a
bigamy which is a social disgrace.
 Mrs. Fainall discusses this plan with Foible which is heard by Mrs. Marwood.
 Mrs. Marwood tells this plan to Fainall and then he decides to take his wife’s money and go away with
Mrs. Marwood.
 Mirabell and Millament discusses about their marriage in detail. This scene is called “Proviso Scene”
 Mirabell proposes for marriage to Millament and she accepts it.

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 Lady Wishfort arrives and Mirabell leaves and Lady Wishfort expressed her desire to marry Millament
with her nephew, Sir Wilfull Witwaud.
 Lady Wishfort comes to know about the plot put by Mirabell.
 Fainall arrests Waitwell and Mrs. Fainall tell Foible that, about her previous affair with Mirabell is now in
public knowledge.
 Lady Wishfort appears with Mrs. Marwood and thanked her for revealing the plot of Mirabell.
 Lady Wishfort offers Mirabell her consent to his marriage if he can save her fortune and honour.
 Waitwell brings a contract to Mirabell which is of time before the marriage of Fainall in which Mrs.
Fainall gives her all property to Mirabell.
 Mirabell restores Mrs. Fainall's property to her possession and then is free to marry Millament with
the full £12000 inheritance.
 In a conversation Millament said– “One’s cruelty is one’s power, and when one parts with one’s cruelty,
one parts with one’s power”.


John Bunyan
 He was an English writer and preacher and best remembered as the author of the religious allegory “The
Pilgrim’s Progress”.
 He wrote nearly sixty titles, many of them expanded sermons.
 He joined the parliamentary army at the age of 16 only. After three years in Army he returned to Elstow to
take up the trade of tinker which he had learnt from his father.
 Bunyan was arrested as he denied giving up preaching and spent 12 years in jail. He was released in 1672 and
obtained license to preach.
 In jail he wrote a spiritual autobiography “Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners”.
 In jail itself he started writing his book “The Pilgrim’s Progress”. It was his second brief imprisonment in 1677
for 6 months.
 He died at the age of 59 after falling ill on a journey to London and is buried in Bunhill Fields.
 In Grace Abounding, he indicated an incident an evidence of the grace of god.
“When I was a soldier I, with others were drawn out to go to such a place to besiege it. But when I was just
ready to go, one of the company desired to go in my room, to which I had consented, he took my place
and was shot to death.”

Works of Bunyan
1. The Pilgrim’s Progress; Part I (1678)
2. Life and Death of Mr. Badman (1680)
3. The Holy War (1682)
4. The Pilgrim’s Progress Part II (1684)
5. A Relation of My Imprisonment
6. The Saint’s Knowledge of Christ’s Love
7. Of Anti-Christ and His Ruin
8. An Exposition on the First Ten Chapter of Genesis
9. The Jerusalem Sinner Saved
10. The Work of Jesus Christ as an Advocate
11. John Bunyan Last Sermons

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12. The Barren Fig Tree
13. The Treatise on the Fear of God
14. The Resurrection of the Dead and Eternal Judgment
15. The Holy City or the New Jerusalem
16. Profitable Meditation (1661, first prison book)
17. Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners (1666, prison book)
18. The Holy City (1682, prison book)

The Pilgrim’s Progress; Part I (1678)

 Publisher: Nathaniel Ponder, later called Bunyan Ponder
 Full title: The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World to That which is to Come Delivered under the Similitude
of a Dream” (dream allegory).
 It is a Christian allegory. Its first part was written in 1678 while the second in 1684.
 It is regarded as one of the most significant works of religious English literature.
 Bunyan began this work while he was in Bedfordshire County Prison for violation of conventicle act (it
prohibited the holding of religious services outside the Church of England).
 The narrator defends the story by telling that it is framed as a dream.
 He explains that he fell asleep in the wilderness and dreamed of a man named Christian, who was
tormented by spiritual anguish.
 A spiritual guide named Evangelist visits Christian and urges him to leave the city of destruction, because he
claimed that salvation can only be found in the Celestial City, known as Mount Zion.
 Christian starts his journey alone leaving his wife and children, he falls into a bog, called “The Slough of
Despondence” but he is saved.
 He meets a Worldly Wiseman who urges him to lead a practical happy existence without religion but
Christian refused him.
 Christian is sheltered in Goodwill’s house who tells Christian to stop by Interpreter’s home, where Christian
learns many lessons about faith.
 When Christian sees Christ’s tomb and cross, his burden falls on the ground.
 One among the three Celestial creatures, hands him a rolled certificate to enter in the Celestial City.
 Christian falls asleep and loses his certificate, and he reproaches himself for losing the tickets to Celestial
 But he eventually found these certificates.
 On the way Christian, meets the four mistresses of the palace Beautiful who provides him shelter.
 After descending The Valley of Humiliation, Christian meets the monster Appolyon.
 Christian strikes Appolyon with a sword and then proceeds through the desert like Valley of the Shadow of
Death towards the Celestial City.
 Christian meets Faithful, a traveler from his own hometown, and they are accompanied by a third traveler
named Talkative.
 Evangelist arrives and warns them about wicked Town of Vanity and he tells them that in the town either
Faithful or Christian will die.
 When they enter in the Town of Vanity (Vanity Fair) they are tempted and mocked by town’s people. The
townsman imprisons Christian and Faithful.
 Faithful rises to heaven after death while Christian escapes and continues his journey.
 Now another fellow pilgrim named Hopeful befriends Christian and continues his journey.
 In the way Christian rejects the means of By-Ends who uses religion to get ahead in the world.
 The two enter ‘Plain of Ease’ where a smooth talker Demas tempts them with silver. They reject him and
 They meet Ignorance who believes that living a good life is sufficient to prove one’s religious faith. Christian
refutes him also.
 Then they meet Flatterer who snares them in a net and an Atheist who denies that the Celestial City exists.

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 Christian and Hopeful, gleefully approach the ‘Land of Beulah’ where Celestial City is located.
 To reach the gate into the city, they must first cross a river without a bridge.
 Christian nearly drowns, but Hopeful reminds him of Christ’s love and he emerges safely from the water.
 The residents of the Celestial City welcome the two pilgrims.
 In the conclusion, the narrator expresses hope that his dream be interpreted properly.
Note: John Bunyan himself is the narrator of this story, in first person.

Different Places in Pilgrim’s Progress

1. City of Destruction: Christian home, Representative of the World
2. Slough of Despond: A swamp on the way to Wicket Gate; one of the hazards of the journey to Celestial City.
In Part 1, Christian falls into it and sank under the weight of his sins.
3. Mount Sinai: A frightening mountain near The Village of Morality, that threatens all who would go there.
4. Wicket Gate: The entry point of the straight and narrow way to the Celestial City.
5. House of the Interpreter: A type of spiritual museum to guide the pilgrims to the Celestial City.
6. Hill Difficulty: Both the hill and road up is called Difficulty.
7. House Beautiful: A place that serves as a rest stop for pilgrims to the Celestial City
8. Valley of Humiliation: The place where Christian is protected by God’s armor meets Appolyon where
Christian got the victory.
9. Valley of the Shadow of Death: A valley filled with demons, dragons, fiends, satyrs, monsters, etc.
10. Vanity Fair: A city through which the King’s highway passes and yearlong Fair is held there.
11. The Celestial City: The ‘desired country’ of pilgrims, heaven, the dwelling place of the “Lord of the Hill”
god. It is situated on Mount Zion.

The Pilgrim’s Progress; Part II (1684)

 In the second part, Bunyan addresses the book as “Christiana”, the wife of Christian.
 This part tells the story of Christiana and her 4 children’s journey to Celestial City.
 Christiana is accompanied by Mercy a fellow townsman.
 On the way while they cross the ‘Slough of Despond’, they are blocked at the gate by an angry dog, but the
gatekeeper lets them free.
 On the way, the son steals fruit from the devil’s garden and two Ruffians threaten to rape women, but they
 The pilgrims are lodged in Interpreter’s house, who orders his manservant ‘Great Heart’ to accompany them
to the Beautiful house.
 Because of eating devil’s fruit, Matthew (son) falls ill but is cured by Dr. Skill.
 The pilgrims descend into the ‘Valley of Humiliation’ and cross the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
 They encounter the giant Maul and slay him.
 They meet the old pilgrim Honest and they take shelter with Gaius.
 They continue their journey and kill the giant Slay-Good, then rescue the pilgrims ‘Feeble-Mind’ and ‘Ready-
 Crossing the river of life they kill the giant Despair and greet the kind shepherd who welcomes them into the
delectable Mountains.
 Christiana meets a great fighter ‘Valiant-For-Truth’ who accompanies them.
 They cross the Enchanted Ground and meet the pilgrim Standfast.
 The pilgrims are welcomed in the Celestial City.
 Christiana goes to meet her maker, The Master.

The Life and Death of Mr. Badman (1680)

 Full title: “The Life and Death of Mr. Badman; Presented to the World in a Familiar Dialogue Between Mr.
Wiseman and Mr. Attentive”
 The two characters have a dialogue about sin and redemption over the course of a long day.

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 In his preface titled “The Author to the Reader”, Bunyan announces that Mr. Badman is a real man who is
 Bunyan says Mr. Badman did not earn four themes commonly part of a funeral for a great man.
i. There is no wrought image that will serve as a memorial and Bunyan’s work will have to
ii. Mr. Badman died without honour, so he earned no badges.
iii. His life did not merit a sermon.
iv. No one will mourn and lament his death.
 Bunyan then describes the sort of Hell awaiting Mr. Badman.


George Etherege
 He was an English dramatist.
 Soon after restoration in 1660 he composed his comedy “The Comical Revenge or Love in a Tub”.
 His last play is “The Man of Mode or Sir Fopling Flutter”, considered as the best comedy of manners.

Important Works of Etherege

1. The Comical Revenge or Love in a Tub
2. She Would if She Could (1668)
3. The Man of Mode or Sir Fopling Flutter

The Comical Revenge or Love in a Tub

 It is the first play of Etherege performed first in 1664.
 In this play, Etherege employs two separate language styles. It revolves around the love and honour plot
which has two couples, ‘Beaufort and Graciana’ and ‘Bruce and Aurelia’.

The Man of Mode or Sir Fopling Flutter

 It is a restoration comedy written in 1676.
 Dorimant is the protagonist and Sir Fopling is a marginal character.


Aphra Behn
 She was a British playwright, poet, translator, and fiction writer. She is also known as ‘Agent 160’.
 Charles II employed her as a spy in Antwerp.
 She is famously remembered in Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own.

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 Her grave is not included in Poet’s corner but in East Cloister.
 In her famous work ‘Oroonoko’, Behn gives herself the position of narrator.
 She is regarded as first English professional woman writer.
 She wrote 19 plays.
Important Works
1. Oroonoko (1688)
2. The Forced Marriage (1670)
3. The Amorous Prince (1671)
4. The Dutch Lover (1673)
5. Abdelazer (1676)
6. The Rover Part I & II: The Banished Cavaliers (Protagonist – Hellena)
7. The Roundheads
8. The Emperor of the Moon
9. Love-Letters Between a Nobleman and His Sister
Oroonoko (1688)
 It is a short prose fiction concerning love of Oroonoko, an enslaved African in Surinam.
 Oroonoko or the Royal slave is the grandson of an African King.
 Oroonoko falls in love with Imoinda the daughter of King’s top General.
 Coramantien people were also slaves.
 The King too falls in love with Imoinda, and commanded her to become his wife.
 She unwillingly spends time in king’s Harem.
 Imoinda is sold as a slave as she has lost her virginity, and the King falsely informs to Oroonoko that she
has been executed.
 In another tribal war, Oroonoko is captured by an English Captain, who planned to sell him and his men
as slaves.
 Imoinda and Oroonoko were carried to Surinam. The two lovers are reunited there with the new Christian
names Caesar and Clemene.
 Imoinda becomes pregnant and Oroonoko files petition to return homeland because he didn’t want his
baby to born in slavery.
 Oroonoko was ignored and he organizes a slave revolt.
 Slaves are hunted down and they surrender to Byam, a deputy governor.
 Oroonoko decides to kill Byam but to protect Imoinda from violation and subjugation after his death, so
he decides to kill her.
 Imoinda dies willingly by the hand of Oroonoko.
 Oroonoko is publicly ridiculed and executed.
 During his death by dismemberment, Oroonoko calmly smokes a pipe and withstands all the pain without
crying out.

William Wycherley
 He was an English dramatist of restoration age.
 He was born at Clive but later settled in Malappuram, India.
 Wycherley converted himself to Roman Catholicism while in France.
 His play ‘Love in a Wood’ was produced in 1671 in Drury Lane Theatre. It is his first play.

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 Major Works:
i) The Country Wife (1675)
ii) The Plain Dealer (1676)
iii) A Gentleman Dancing Master (1672)
 The other title of ‘Love in a Wood’ is ‘St. James Park’.
 In 1680, he secretly married a wealthy widow Countess of Drogheda, when Charles heard about his marriage
he lost the royal patronage forever.
 In 1681, when the duchess died, he was imprisoned for debt, but after the accession of James II in 1685, when
he watched the performance of “The Plain Dealer”, he arranged Wycherley’s release.
 Wycherley was a good friend of Pope, and Pope satirized him in is “Essay on Criticism” (1709).

The Country Wife (1675)

 It was controversial for its sexual explicitness. This play is a comedy of manner.
 There are three sources and three plots in this comedy.
 The protagonist Harry Horner pretends to be impotent so that he can tricks women or seduce many
respectable ladies.
 He spread false rumor of his impotence to convince married man that he can safely be allowed to socialize
with their wives.
 By his mass seduction campaign he could identify women who are secretly eager for extramarital sex.
 Horner’s rumor of impotence is a great success and he has sex with many virtuous lady.
 In last scene, through the well-meaning frankness of the young country wife Margery Pinchwife reveals
Horner impotence to be untrue.
 She reveals the truth of Horner in a public gathering. Horner never becomes a reformed character.
Note: Between 1753 and 1924, The Country Wife was considered outrageous to be performed at all and was
replaced on the stage by David Garrick’s cleaned up version “The Country Girl”.
The Plain Dealer
 It is a 1676 restoration comedy by Wycherley.
 It is based on Moliere “Le Misanthrope”.
 The title character is Captain Manly, a sailor who doubts the motive of everyone he meets except for his
sweetheart Olivia.
 When Olivia jilts him and marries Vernish, he attempts to gain revenge by sending a pageboy (who is
unknown to him, a girl in disguise and is in love with him) to seduce Olivia.
 When truth of page’s identity is discovered Manly marries her.


John Vanbrugh
 John Vanbrugh is an English architect and dramatist best known as the designer of Blenheim Palace and
Castle Howard.
 He wrote two argumentative and outspoken restoration comedies:
i) The Provoked Wife (1697)
ii) The Relapse (1696)

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 John Vanbrugh was the prime target of Jeremy Collier’s “Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the
English Stage”.
Other Major Works:
 A Journey to London: Vanbrugh had told his friend Colley Cibber that he intended in this play to question
traditional marriage roles.

Samuel Pepys
 He was an English novel administrator and Member of Parliament, is very famous for the diary he kept for a
decade i.e. 1660-1669.
 The diary is one of the most important primary sources of the English restoration period.
 On 1 January 1660 he began to keep a diary and recorded his daily life for almost ten years.
 The entries from the first few months are filled with the news of General George Monck’s march on London.
 He stopped writing diary in 1669, because he lost his eyesight.
Note: The Diary of John Evelyn covers the year from 1641 to 1697 (published in 1818)


George Farquhar
 He was an Irish dramatist.
 He is known for his play “The Recruiting Officer” and “The Beaux Stratagem” (1707)
 Farquhar’s first comedy was Love and a Bottle (1698).
 Beaux Stratagem is the sequel of Recruiting Officer.
 Captain Plume and Captain Brazen are the recruiting officers in “The Recruiting Officer.


Samuel Butler
 Samuel Butler was a poet and satirist chiefly known for his long satirical poem Hudibras.
 Hudibras is an attack against Puritanism. It takes its characterization from Don Quixote.
 The other writings of Butler are collected and printed by Robert Thyer in 1759.
 Of his verses, the best known is ‘The Elephant on the Moon”.

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Hudibras (1663, 1664, & 1678)
 It is a mock heroic narrative poem. It is a satire upon Roundheads, Presbyterians, Puritans, and many other
factions involved in the English Civil War.
 The work begun during the civil war and published in three parts in 1663, 1664, and 1678.
 The epic tells the story of Sir Hudibras, a knight errant who is described dramatically and with laudatory
 He is praised for his knowledge of logic despite appearing stupid throughout but his religious fervor is mainly
 The squire name of Sir Hudibras was Ralpho.
 Voltaire in his “Letters on the English” said about Hudibras– “I never found so much wit in one single book.”
 In this poem, Butler has coined the phrase– “Spare the rod and spoil the child”.


Neo-Classical Period
Characteristic of Neo-Classical Period
 This age is also called Augustan age because Augustus was the emperor of Rome (27 BC-14AD), and the
writers of the age followed writers of Augustan age.
 It is called the age of Pope or the age of reason and age of sensibility (by Arnold).
 Augustan age comes from the original Augustan writers Virgil, Horace and Ovid. The poet like Alexander
Pope was the most respected literary icon of this era, who was the follower of Horace, Virgil and Ovid. Hence,
the Alexander Pope age is called as Augustan Age.
 The desire for improvement was feature of the literature of this age particularly of by middle class writers.
 Arnold says, “Our excellent 18th century the age of prose”.
 To the authors of this period either prose or poetry life meant only the life of fashionable society of the town.
Therefore, the literature of this period is literature of manners only.
 The poets of this age were stuck to closed couplets.

Closed Couplet
 In poetics, closed couplets are two line units of verse that do not extend their sense beyond the line's
end. Furthermore, the lines are usually rhymed. When the lines are in iambic pentameter, they are
referred to as heroic verse. However, Samuel Butler also used closed couplets in his iambic
tetrameter Hudibrastic verse.
"True wit is nature to advantage dressed
What oft was thought, but ne'er so well express'd"
 This is an example of the closed couplet in heroic verse from Alexander Pope's Essay on Criticism.

 Jacobite Rebellion took place in 1715 between Hanoverians (1794-1901) and the Jacobites.

Stuart Dynasty in England (1603-1714)

 The beginning of Stuart Dynasty is dates back in 1371 with the accession of Robert II in Scotland.
 In England it started in 1603 when James VI of Scotland became James I of England.
 The last monarch of Stuart Dynasty is Queen Anne (1702-1714).
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 This period was proceeded by Tudor Period (1485-1603).

Hanoverian Period (1714-1837)

 This period started with Whig monarch

George I (1714-1727) followed by
George II (1727-1760)
George III (1760-1820)
George IV (1820-1830)
William IV (1830-1837)
Note: The year between 1811-1820 is called Regency Era because George III was unfit to rule so George IV
acted as his regent till his death in 1820.
 This period is followed by Victorian Period but sometimes Victorian Period is also counted in Hanoverian
 Victorian Period (1837-1901) is followed by Edwardian Period.


Alexander Pope
 He was an 18th century poet best known for his satirical verse as well as his translation of Homer.
 He is famous for using heroic couplet.
 He is the second-most frequently quoted writer in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotation, after Shakespeare.
 Pope was born to Alexander Pope Senior who was a linen merchant.
 He was a Catholic, so his education was affected by ‘Test Acts’ which upheld the status of the established
Church of England and banned Catholics from teaching, attending a university, voting, or holding public
 Initially he was taught by his aunt and later went to Catholic schools.
 In 1700, his family moved to Popeswood, because of strong anti-Catholic sentiment and a statute preventing
Catholics from living within 10 miles (16 km) of either London or Westminster.
 Pope described the countryside around his house in “Windsor Forest”.
 He educated himself by reading Horace and Juvenal, the epic poets Homer, Virgil, and English authors as
Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Dryden.
 Pope had a closed attachment with Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, and also had lifelong relationship with
Martha Blount.
 ‘The Translation of Homer’ brought Pope a financial independence and became first professional poet.
 His famous work “The Rape of the Lock” is dedicated to John Caryll.
 The first major work of Pope is “The Pastorals”.
 He was removed from the society as he was a Catholic.
 In May 1709 Pope’s Pastorals was published in sixth part of Tonson’s Poetical Miscellanies, when he was only
16 years old.
 In 1711 he wrote Essay on Criticism. (Don’t confuse with Essay in Criticism by Mathew Arnold).
 His friends were Tory writers along with whom he formed Scriblerus Club in 1713:
 John Gay

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 Jonathan Swift
 Thomas Parnell and
 John Arbuthnot
 The aim of the club was to satirize ignorance and pedantry in the form of fictional scholar Martinus Scriblerus.
 He also made friendship with Whig writers Addison and Steele.
 He translated Iliad of Homer.
 Jonathan Swift called Pope as “Paper saving Pope”.
 “Pope could fix in one couplet more sense than I can do in six.” – by Dr. Johnson.
 He has written a pamphlet on Shakespeare called ‘Shakespeare Restored’.

Essay on Criticism (1711)

 It is written in 3 parts.
 He took three years to complete this poem, and published in 1711.
 This poem was an attempt to identify and refine his own positions as a poet and critic.
 The poem is a response to a question of whether poetry should be natural or written according to predetermined
artificial rules inherited from the classical past. Pope exhorts his fellow poets to “follow nature”.
 Pope comments on the classical authors who dealt with such standards and the authority should be
accredited to them as per him.
 The final section discussed the moral qualities and virtues inherent in the ideal critic who are also an ideal
 Essay on Criticism has three parts.
 In the third part, Pope offers a tribute to Longinus: “The bold Longinus, all the nine inspire.”
 In this poem he also attacked John Dennis as “Appius” and finally a brief history from Aristotle to William

Important Quotes:
 “Little knowledge is a dangerous thing”
 “To err is human and to forgive divine”
 “True wit is nature to advantage dressed; what oft was thought, but never so well expressed.”
 “Authors are partial to their wit, ‘tis true; but are not critics to their judgment, too?”
 “Words are like Leaves; and where they must abound; Much Fruit of sense beneath is rarely found.”
 “First follow nature and tour judgment frame. By her just standard, which is still the same”.
 “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”
The Rape of the Lock
(1712 & 1714)
 It is a mock-heroic narrative poem first published anonymously in Linton’s Miscellaneous Poems in 1712
in 2 cantos.
 It is also an example of high Burlesque.
 It was expanded and re-issued in an addition “Written by Mr. Pope” in 1714 in 5 cantos, accompanied by
6 engravings.
 The final form of the poem was available in 1717 with the addition of Clarissa’s speech on good humour.
 The Poem was based on actual incident recounted by Pope’s friend John Caryll, Arabella Fermor, and her
suitor Lord Petre from Catholic families who suffered legal restrictions and penalties.
 Petre, lusting Arabella had cut off a lock of her hair without her permission and the consequent argument
had created a breach between the two families.
 Pope added the second edition, a dedicatedly letter to Arabella Fermor.
 Pope has used Supernatural Machinery in this poem.

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 In the beginning of the poem, Pope declared that a “dire offence” has been committed. A Lord assaults a
gentle belle and then he proceeds to tell the story.
 It begins with Belinda still asleep.
 Belinda’s dog name is Shock.
 Her guardian ‘Sylph’ named Ariel warns her while she sleeps, that some dread event is going to take place
that morning but heaven does not reveal how and where.
 Belinda then wakes up and gets ready for the day with the help of her maid Betty. Sylphs also contributes
in her dress up.
 Belinda appears very beautiful as she journeys to Hampton Court.
 Here Pope describes Belinda’s two locks of hair as “which graceful hung behind”.
 The Baron, one of Belinda’s suitors greatly admires these locks and conspire to steal one and possess it
for the long time.
 Ariel is disturbed by this event and summons many Sylphs and instructs them to guard Belinda from
anything that may befall her.
 These spirit hovers over Belinda when she reaches Hampton Court. There she is invited to play a game of
Ombre, which she wins.
 The Baron conspires to get her lock. When he tries to cut her lock he is intervened by blowing back of
the hair and snitching the diamond in her ear, thus Baron fails in his first attempt.
 Belinda thus looked around and Baron’s plan is failed and this happens three times but in the fourth
attempt he manages to cut off the lock. In doing so he cut a Sylph also in two but as an airy substance,
Sylph soon unites again.
 A gnome named Umbriel journeys to the cave of Spleen and from Queen he receives a bag of “sighs,
sobs, and passions, and the war of tongues” and a glass filled with “fainting fears, soft sorrows, melting
grieves, and flowing tears” and brings them to Belinda.
 Many people are moved by Belinda’s grief and they demand the lock of hair back but Baron refuses.
 Clarissa directs them to keep their good humour but they don’t listen and called her ‘prude’.
 All the men started a court battle with weapons as glares, songs, and wits.
 Belinda throws snuff in Baron’s nose to subdue him.
 She threatens him to kill with a bodkin (a sharp hair pin).
 She demands that he should restore the lock but they soon discover that it has been lost.
 They search everywhere for it but can’t find it.
 At the end Pope tells us that Belinda’s Lock of hair must have become a star. Even when we all are dead
and gone, Belinda’s lock of hair shall live on forever.
 The lock is actually cut in 3rd canto.
 Pope continuously compares Belinda with sun.
 Total numbers of lines in The Rape of the Lock are 794.
 The Supernatural Machinery in this poem is taken from “Le Comte de Gabalis” authored by Abbe
Nicolas-Pierre-Henri de Montfaucon de Villars.
 Rope of the Lock is inspired by:
Tassoni’s – Rape of a Bucket
Vida’s – Game of Chess
Boileau’s – Le Lutrin
 Dr. Johnson on Pope (in Life of Pope) – “If Pope be not a poet where is poetry to be found.”
 Pope also contributed to Joseph Addison’s “The Tatler”.
 Dr. Johnson acclaimed “Translation of Iliad” as “a performance which no age or nation could hope to
 In Ode on Solitude (1700) Pope wrote–
“Happy the man, whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound

World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 161

Content to breathe his native air,
In his own ground.”
 “Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady”, a work written in heroic couplet which was published in
1717 is only 52 lines long, it became Pope’s one of most celebrated pieces.
 Dr. Johnson translated Messiah in 1728 in Latin language. Pope’s Messiah deals with Virgil’s 4th eclogue
which was said to predict the birth of Christ. Walter Jackson Bate praised this work and called it a “major
 In 1715, after the Jacobite Rebellion, strict majors were taken against the Catholics so Pope moved from
London to Twickenham and came to be called “Wasp of Twickenham”.
 Voltaire said about Pope as– “The best Poet of England, and at present of all the world.”

Imitations of Horace (1733)

Important Quote:
“Time was a sober Englishman would knock his servants up and rise by five o’clock, instructs his family in
every rule, and send his wife to church, his son to school.”

Peri Bathous
 Peri Bathous is sub-titled ‘The Art of Sinking into Poetry”
 The main aim of this poem is to ridicule contemporary poets.
 It is a parody of Longinus’ “On the Sublime”.
 In this poem Pope introduced the term “Bathos”.
 This essay illustrates the lowest version of contemporary verse, the tendency for bathos and anti-climax,
drawing upon his enemies as examples.

Windsor Forest (1713)

 This pastoral combines a celebration of the rustic character Albion with a political affirmation of the peace
under Queen Anne.
 Describes the countryside around his house.
 Dr. Johnson called this kind of poetry as “local poetry”.

Essay on Man (1732-1734)

 It is a philosophical poem written in heroic couplets and published between 1732-1734.

 Pope intended this poem to be the centerpiece of a proposed system of ethics that was to be put forth in
poetic form.
 It is an attempt to “Vindicate the ways of God to man” a variation on Milton’s attempt in Paradise Lost “to
justify the ways of God to men”.
 The poem assumes that the man has fallen and must seek his salvation.
 It consists of four epistles that are addressed to Lord Bollingbroke.
 In this, Pope says that “no matter how imperfect, complex, inscrutable, and disturbing the universe
appears to be, it functions in a rational fashion according to the natural laws”.
 Voltaire called this work “The most beautiful, the most useful, the most sublime, didactic poem ever
written in any language.”
 Jean Pierre de Crousaz wrote a biting commentary on Essay on Man, where he found that Pope had
“reserved a place for him in The Dunciad”.
 Dr. Johnson attacked Essay on Man in Lite of Pope, “Never were penury of knowledge and vulgarity of
sentiment so happily disguised.”

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The Epistle to Doctor Arbuthnot (1735)

 It is a satire in poetic form addressed to John Arbuthnot, a physician, published in 1735. It was published
along with Imitation of Horace.
 Dr. John Arbuthnot is the one who created the character John Bull.
 It is regarded as an autobiographical work of Pope in which he defends his practice on the genre of satire
and attacks those who had been his opponents and rivals throughout his carrier.
 It is composed in heroic couplet.
 It is an introduction to the “Imitations”. It reviews his own literary carrier and includes the famous
portraits of Lord Hervey as “Sporus” and Addison “Atticus”.

Important Quotes
1. “But to no pride, inheriting no strife
Nor marrying discord in a noble wife
Stranger to civil and religious rage
The good man walked innoxious through his age”
2. “Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?”
3. “Shut, shut the door, good John; fatigued I said,
Tie up the knocker, say I’m sick, I’m dead.”
4. “Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer, and without sneering teach the rest to sneer.”
5. “Willing to wound but yet afraid to strike”

Dunciad and Moral Essays

 ‘Epistle to Burlington; on the subject of Architecture’ is first of four poems grouped under title Moral
 The Dunciad is a satire published in three different versions at different time published in 1728 in 3
First version – The “Three Book” Dunciad
Second version – Dunciad Veriorum
 The fourth book was added in ‘The New Dunciad’ in 1743. It was a reply of Lewis Theobald and later
Colley Cibber replaced Theobald.
 The Dunciad in four books is a revised version of first three books with a new character Tibbald. The
third part never finished. Here he attacked Pedantry and Dullness as associated with boredom and sleep.
Important Quote: “Thy hand great Dullness! Let’s the curtain fall.”

Other Major Works of Pope

1. Ode on Solitude or The Quite Life (1700)
2. The Works of Shakespeare in Six Volumes
3. Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady (1717)
4. Peri Bathous: The Art of Sinking in Poetry
 It is inspired by Longinus’ On the Sublime
5. Messiah (1712)
6. Windsor Forest (1713)

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Jonathan Swift
 Jonathan Swift was having different pen names as:
 M.B. Drapier
 Lemuel Gulliver
 Isaac Bickerstaff
 He was an Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer, poet, and cleric who became a Dean of St.
Patrick Cathedral, Dublin.
 He is known for being a master of two styles of satire, the Horatian Satire and Juvenalian Satire.
Horatian Satire: Named after Roman satirist Horace and criticizes some social vice through gentle, mild, and
light-hearted humour.
Juvenalian Satire: Named after Roman satirist Juvenal. It addresses social evil through scorn, outrage, and
savage ridicule.
 He was born in Dublin, Ireland, his father died when he was 7 months old.
 Glorious Revolution forced him to leave for England in 1688.
 In England he became an assistant of Sir William Temple.
 In 1708, he invented the character Isaac Bickerstaff which appeared in his series of essay “Predictions for the
Ensuing Year”.
 Swift’s intimate and playful ‘Letters to Stella’ were published posthumously.
 At his residence at Moor Park, he met Esther Johnson, and he acted as her tutor and given her a nickname
‘Stella’. They were having ambiguous relationship throughout life.
 During his visit to England, Swift wrote ‘A Tale of a Tub’ and ‘The Battle of Books’ (1704).
 He became editor of “The Examiner”.
 Swift recorded his experiences and thoughts during this difficult time in a long series of letters to Esther
Johnson, collected and published after his death as ‘A Journal to Stella’.
 He wrote Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift, his own obituary, published in 1739.
 Dryden told Swift, “Cousin Swift, you shall never be a poet.”
 At the time of James II reign, Swift left England and became secretary to Sir William Temple.
 He wrote ‘The Battle of The Books’ to defend his patron William Temple’s “Essay Upon the Ancient and
Modern Learning”. William Temple’s work was attacked by Richard Bentley and William Wotton.
 When Temple died in 1699, Swift returned to Dublin as Chaplin to Lord Berkeley, in 1701. Swift visited
London with Berkeley, and published “Discourse of the Contests and Dissensions in Athens and Rome”.
 Whigs returned to power after accession of George I in 1741. Thus Hanoverian Period is started.
 Swift wrote his own epitaph into Latin and W.B. Yeats translated it into English.

Major Works of Swift

1. A Tale of a Tub (1704)
2. Gulliver’s Travels (1726)
3. The Battle of the Books (1704)
4. The Drapier’s Letters (1724) – in Ireland
5. The Journal to Stella (1766) – total 65 letters
6. The Bickerstaff – Partridge Papers
7. A Modest Proposal
8. On the Death of Dr. Swift

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9. Poems to Cadenus and Vanessa (Esther Vanhomrigh is nicknamed Vanessa)
10. Meditation on a Broomstick (1710)

A Tale of a Tub (1704)

 About A Tale of Tub, Swift once said– “What a genius I had when I wrote that book.”
 A Tale of Tub begins with an apology followed by a letter by the bookseller To the Right Honourable
John Lord Somers and a dedicatory letter to Prince Posterity.
 It is a prose parody divided into sections of digression and tale of three brothers each representing one of
the main branches of Western Christianity. It is in 11 sections.
 The three brothers are Peter, Martin, and Jack
Peter  Named for Saint Peter for Roman Catholic Church
Jack  Named for John Calvin, but whom Swift also connects to John of Leyden, represents the various
dissenting Protestant churches such as Baptists, Presbyterians, Quakers, Congregationalists and
Martin  Named for Martin Luther represents the ‘via media’ of the Church of England (Anglican
 The brothers have inherited three wonderfully satisfactory coats (representing religious practice) by their
father (representing god) and they have his will (representing Bible) to guide them.
 The will says that they are forbidden from making any changes to their coats but they alter their coats from
the beginning.
 Thus this allegory is supposed to be an apology for the Anglican Church’s refusal to alter its practice in
accordance with Puritans demand and its continued resistance to alliance with Roman Church.
 When the three bothers inherit coat from their father, they take good care for it for seven years.
 But when they fell in love with three women they proceeds to commit all types of scenes.
 The three brothers want to put shoulder knot on their coats. They find some justification for alteration in
their father’s will.
 The three brothers’ story is interrupted in section 3, when a visitor discusses the nature of criticism and
makes a distinction between the ‘critic’ and true critic.
 He also discusses the difference between the ancient and moderns and their thoughts.
 Resuming the story, Peter claims that as the eldest brother he is due for all sorts of titles and honours.
 Peter becomes rich but has delusions about his self-importance when his brothers try to intervene; they
realize that they are unable to stop his fits of madness so they leave him.
 They revisit their father’s will by translating it into common speech, and then they came to know what their
father desired for them.
 Again there is a digression here about ancient and moderns.
 Peter is still rich and comfortable while his brothers are still poor but they live together for comfort.
 They return their coats and their father’s will trying to return entirely to their father’s desire.
 So they remove adornments affixed to the coat, tearing the court and thus begin to grow apart.
 A lot of digression appears including a digression concerning madness.
 Finally the story resumes in section 11, where jack has a very active imagination. Jack and Peter keep
running into one another in the city.
 Jack and Peter have teamed up against their brother Martin in order to serve their own agendas.
Nevertheless, when Peter gets into trouble, Jack abandons him and vice-versa.
 The conclusion declares that a work that is too long is as damaging as a book that is too short and that is
there is a place for every kind of book.

Drappier’s Letter (1724)

 Drapier's Letters is the collective name for a series of seven pamphlets written between 1724 and 1725 by
the Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin, Jonathan Swift, to arouse public opinion in Ireland against
the imposition of a privately minted copper coinage that Swift believed to be of inferior quality.

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 William Wood was granted letters patent to mint the coin, and Swift saw the licensing of the patent as
corrupt. In response, Swift represented Ireland as constitutionally and financially independent of Britain in
the Drapier's Letters.
 Since the subject was politically sensitive, Swift wrote under the pseudonym M. B., Drapier, to hide from

The Modest Proposal

 Full title: “A Modest Proposal For preventing the Children of Poor People From being a Burthen to
Their Parents or Country, and For making them Beneficial to the Publick”
 It is a masterpiece essay and satire by Swift.
 In this essay he proposes to solve the devastating poverty in Ireland by selling poor children as food for
wealthy family.
 Most famous line of the poem–
““I am assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London; that a young healthy child,
well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food; whether stewed, roasted,
baked or boiled, and I make no doubt, that it will equally serve in a fricassee, or ragout.”

Gulliver’s Travels (1726)

 Complete Title: Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. In Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver,
First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships
 It is written anonymously.
 It is a prose satire (Menippean satire) by Anglo-Irish writer and clergyman Jonathan Swift.
 Protagonist Lemuel Gulliver is a surgeon who becomes sailor.

Part I: A Voyage to Lilliput (4 May 1699 – 13 April 1702)

 The book begins with a brief outline of Gulliver’s life and history.
 During his first voyage, Gulliver is washed ashore after a shipwreck and finds himself a prisoner of a race
of tiny people, less than 6 inches tall, who are inhabitants of Lilliput (capital of Lilliput is Mildendo).
 He is given residence in Lilliput and becomes a favorite of the court. Lilliput represents England and
Blefuscu represents France.
 Gulliver roams around the city. He assisted Lilliputians to subdue their neighbors, Blefuscudians by
stealing their fleets but he refuses to reduce the island of Blefuscu to a province of Lilliput, displeasing
court and the King.
 He is convicted and sentence to be blinded.
 But with the help of his kind friend, he escapes to Blefuscu.
 In Blefuscu he retrieves an abandoned boat and sails out to be rescued and took a ship to home.
 This book is a topical political satire.

Part II: A Voyage to Brobdingnag (20 June 1702 – 3 June 1706)

 In search of fresh water Gulliver is forced to sail to Brobdingnag. He is abandoned by his companion and
found by a farmer who is 72 ft. (22 m) tall (the scale of Brobdingnag is about 12:1 compared to Lilliput
 Farmer brings Gulliver home and his daughter takes care of Gulliver. His daughter’s name was
Glumdalclitch who used to call Gulliver Grildrig.
 When Lemual fell sick, the farmer sold him to the queen of realm.
 The Queen asked for a small house to be built for him.
 He discusses the state of Europe with the King. King is not happy with Gulliver’s accounts.

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 On a trip to the seaside his travelling box is seized by a giant eagle which drops Gulliver and his box into
the sea.
 He is picked by sailors and returns him to England.

Part III: A Voyage to Laputa, Balnibarbi, Luggnagg, Glubbdubdrib and Japan

(5 August 1706 – 16 April 1710)
 This part is called a satire on the Royal Society.
 After Gulliver ship was attacked by pirates he is marooned close to a desolate rocky island near India.
 Fortunately he is rescued by the flying island of Laputa.
 Laputa is a kingdom devoted to the arts of music and mathematics but unable to use them practically.
 There is a custom at Laputa of throwing rocks down at rebellious cities on the ground seems as the air
strike (they oppress Balnibarbi, the land below them).
 Gulliver tours Balnibarbi, the kingdom ruled from Laputa (the Capital of Balnibarbi is Lagado).
 Gulliver is then taken to Maldonada, the main port to await a trader who will take him to Japan.
 While he was waiting for a passage, he makes a short trip to Glubbdubdrib.
 In Glubbdubdrib, he visits a magician dwelling and discusses history with ghosts of historical figures, the
most obvious restatement of the ancient versus modern theme in the book.
 In Luggnagg, he encounters the struldbrugs, who are immortals.
 Struldbrugs, the unfortunates don’t have the gift of eternal youth, but suffer the infirmity of old age and are
considered legally dead at the age of 80.
 After searching Japan, Gulliver asks the emperor “to excuse my performing the ceremony imposed on my
countrymen, of trampling upon the crucifix”, which the emperor does.
 Gulliver returns home, determine to stay there for the rest of his days.

Part IV: A Voyage to the Land of the Houyhnhnms (1710-1715)

 Here Swift satirizes the English society and human nature.
 As his intention earlier was to remain at home but he returns to sea once again as the Captain of a
merchant man, as he was bored with his employment as a surgeon.
 On his voyages, the crew does the mutiny and he was abandoned in a landing boat and comes upon a race
of hideous, deformed, and savage humanoid creatures to which he conceives a violent antipathy. There he
meets Houyhnhnms, a race of talking horses.
 Houyhnhnms are the rulers while deformed creatures are Yahoos, who are human beings in their base
 Gulliver becomes a member of a horse household and starts admiring them rejecting his fellow humans
 An assembly of Houyhnhnms rules, that Gulliver is a Yahoo and is a danger to their civilization so they
expelled him.
 He is rescued by a Portuguese ship and is surprised to see that Captain Pedro de Mendez, a Yahoo is a
wise courteous and generous person.
 He returns to his home England but is unable to reconcile himself to living among Yahoos and becomes a
recluse, remaining in his house, spending several hours a day speaking with the horses in his stables.
 Note: Houyhnhnms are a race of noble horses who live according to the ‘Laws of Reason and Nature’,
while Yahoos, a degenerated species of man are serving Houyhnhnms.
 George Orwell in his essay ‘Politics vs. Literature: An Examination of Gulliver’s Travels’, he argues that
the worlds of the Houyhnhnms is dreary.
 In genre, Gulliver’s Travel is social and political satire.
The Battle of the Books (1704)
 It is a short satire by Swift published as a part of the ‘A Tale of a Tub’ in 1704.
 It is an allegorical, mock heroic story set in the Royal Library of St. James in London.

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 Because of the satire “The Battle of the Books” has become a term for the Quarrel of the Ancients and
 In France at the end of 16th century a minor furor arose over the question of whether contemporary
learning had surpassed what was known by those in classical Greece and Rome.
 The moderns took the position that the modern age of science and season was superior to the
superstitious and limited world of Greece and Rome.
 In his opinion modern man saw farther than the ancients.
 The ancients for their part argued that, all that is necessary to be known was still to be found in the works
of Horace, Cicero, Homer, and Aristotle.
 The quarrel between the books is summarized by Aesop who identifies the Moderns with spider and
Ancients with the bee (who goes directly to nature and produces honey and wax which gives sweetness and
 Aesop’s verdict provokes the Moderns to attack their enemies, and a battle commences.
 Under the protection of Pallas, Homer leads the ancients against the moderns led by Milton and
patronized by Goddess Criticism.
 Virgil attacks his translator Dryden, Aristotle shoots Descartes while aiming at Bacon while Descartes and
Bacon went against Aristotelian method.
 In this work Swift has used the phrase “sweetness and light”. Later Arnold picked up this phrase and the
title of the first section of his 1869 book “Culture and Anarchy: An Essay in Political and Social Criticism”
where “sweetness and light” stands for “beauty and intelligence”.


John Gay
 Gay was an English Poet and dramatist and member of Scriblerus Club.
 He is remembered for his Beggar’s Opera written in 1728.
 In 1714 he wrote six pastorals. Pope had urged him to write it.
 In 1715 he produced “What d’ye call it?” a dramatic skit on contemporary tragedy with special reference to
Thomas Otway’s Venice Preserved.
 In 1716, he produced the comedy “Three Hours After Marriage”.
 Saintsbury called Gay “a kind of human lapdog”.
 Pope described Gay as “In wit a man, simplicity as a child”.
 Gay imitated Pope’s poem Windsor Forest in his ‘Rural Sport’.
 Pope wrote the epitaph of Gay as– “Life is a jest, and all things show it, I thought so once, and now I know it.”

The Beggar’s Opera (1728)

 It is a ballad opera in three acts written in 1728 with music arranged by Johann Christoph Pepusch under
the direction of John Rich.
 It is one of the watershed plays of Augustan drama.
 It was premiered at Lincoln’s Inn Fields Theatre on 29 January 1728 and ran for 62 consecutive

 It is a sharp satire on then P.M. Robert Walpole, thus called as a political satire.
 Narrator is a beggar.
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 Peachum, a fence and a thief catcher, justifies his actions while his wife Mrs. Peachum overheard of her
husband’s blacklisting of unproductive thieves, protest regarding one of them, Bob Booty (the nickname
of Robert Walpole).
 The Peachums (husband and wife) discover that Polly, their daughter has secretly married Macheath.
 Macheath is a highwayman and Peachum’s principle client.
 Peachum and his wife worries about how Polly will support such a husband in gaming, drinking, and
 They conclude that this match may make sense if Macheath can be killed. They go to carry out this
errand. However Polly hidden Macheath.
 Peachum is modeled on the historical character Jonathan Wild.
 Macheath goes to a tavern and is surrounded by dubious virtue’s women.
 Women were rather well mannered but from their conversation it is revealed that they are pickpocketers
and shoplifters.
 Two of them, Jenny Diver and Suky Tawdry have contracted Peachum for catching Macheath.
 Macheath was caught and prisoned in Newgate Prison, which is run by Lockit.
 Lockit’s daughter Lucy scolds Macheath for breaking his promise to marry her. She tells him that she will
be happy if he is tortured.
 At the same time Polly arrives and claims him as her husband, but Macheath tells Lucy that Polly is crazy.
 Ultimately Lucy steals her father keys and helped Macheath to escape.
 Lockit learns about Macheath’s promise to marry Lucy. He is worried that if Macheath is recaptured and
 Lockit and Peachum discover Macheath’s hiding place and plans to split his fortune.
 Polly visits Lucy to reach an agreement but Lucy tries to poison her but Polly narrowly avoids poisoned
 Macheath is again captured while awing to drunken Mrs. Diana Trapes.
 Both girls, Lucy and Polly plead their father for Macheath’s life.
 Now Macheath finds that four more pregnant women are claiming him as their husband.
 He himself declares that he is ready to be hanged but the audience demands beggar, the narrator, a happy
 Macheath is reprieved and all are invited to dance and celebrate Macheath’s wedding with Polly.

 It is a Sequel to Beggar’s Opera
 In 1729, John Gay wrote this sequel which is set in West Indies.
 Macheath is transported (banished) but he escaped and becomes a pirate.
 Mrs. Trapes is busy in white slaving and sells Polly to the wealthy plant Mr. Ducat. Polly also escapes
dressed as a boy and after many adventures marries the son of a Carib chief.
 This political satire was even more pointed in Polly than Beggar’s Opera, resulting in ban by Prime
Minister Robert Walpole, and it was not performed until 50 years.

Other Notable Works of Gay

1. Poems on Several Occasion (1720)
2. Trivia, or The Arts of Walking the Streets of London (1716)
3. Fables (1727) – also known as Fifty-one Fables in Verse
Part II (1738)
4. Achilles (1733)
5. Three Hours After Marriage (1717)
 It is a collaborative work of Gay, Pope, and John Arbuthnot.
 It is a satirical farce and the chief target is Richard Blackmore.

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 It tells the story of a scientist, Dr. Fossil, who has just married a much younger woman, she is immediately
beset by two suitors who try to win her affection.
 Then wife and suitors go to comical length to hide their intention from Dr. Fossil.
6. The Rural Sports
 It is dedicated to Pope.
 It also inspired Swift’s description of City Shower.
7. Shepherd’s Week
 It’s a parody of Ambrose Phillip’s Pastoral.


Jon Arbuthnot
 He was a Scottish, physician, and satirist, and polymath in London.
 He is best remembered as his contribution to Mathematics.
 He was a member of Scriblerus Club.
 From 1711 to 1713 Arbuthnot and Swift formed the “Brothers Club”.
 The Scriblerus Club met for only one year. Meeting of the Club used to take place at Arbuthnot’s home.
 When George I (in 1714) came to throne, Arbuthnot lost all his royal appointments and house.
 Book III of Gulliver’s Travels likely to come from hints of Arbuthnot.
 In 1731, Arbuthnot published a work of popular medicine, “An Essay Concerning the Nature of Ailments”.
 In 1735, he wrote another work of medicine, “An Essay Concerning the Effects of Air on Human Bodies”.
 He also wrote “The History of John Bull” (1712) which is a political satire.
 He created the character Bull in his pamphlet “Law in Bottomless Pit”.
 He helped Pope to write “The Dunciad”.


Colley Cibber
 He was an English actor, manager, playwright, and Poet Laureate (1730-1757).
 He wrote 25 plays for his own company at Drury Lane.
 He became famous when he was targeted by Alexander Pope in “The Dunciad” as a head of dull poetry along
with Lewis Theobald.
 He wrote his colorful autobiography “An Apology for the Life of Colley Cibber” in 1740.
 Samuel Derrick described The Careless Husband as “not only the best comedy in English but in any other
 In Congreve’s play “The Double Dealer”, Cibber played the role of Lord Touchwood.

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Major Works
1. Love’s Last Shift
 It is a celebration of the power of a good woman.
2. The Careless Husband (1704)
 It is a comedy and Cibber’s best play.
3. The Lady’s Last Stake (1707)
 It is about a bad tempered reply to critics of Lady Easy’s wifely patience in The Careless Husband.
4. The Provoked Husband (with Vanbrugh)


Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

 She was an English aristocrat and writer.
 She is chiefly remembered for her letters, especially Letters from Turkey.
 She is alluded in Pope’s The Dunciad.
 Pope attacked her again and again in his writings.
 London magazine printed numbers of her poems.
 In 1737 and 1738 she published anonymously a political periodical called “Nonsense of Common-Sense”,
supporting Robert Walpole government.
 She wrote a series of poems about society’s unjust treatment of women.
 She wrote– “Court Poems by a Lady of Quality”


Daniel Defoe
 He was an adventure novel writer.
 He as an English trader, writer, journalist, and pamphleteer, and spy born in 1600.
 He is most famous for his novel Robinson Crusoe.
 He was a pioneer of economic journalism. His original name was Daniel Foe.
 In 1685, Defoe joined Monmouth Rebellion but gained a pardon. He was anti-Jacobite (against of James II).
 Defoe was arrested for debts of £700.
 His first notable publication was “An Essay upon Projects”, a series of proposals for social and economic
improvement, published in 1697.
 His most successful poem “The True-Born Englishmen” defended the King.
 ‘The Storm’ (1704) includes a collection of witness accounts of ‘The Tempest’.
 He set up his periodical “The Review of the Affair of France” in 1704-1713. It ran three times a week, ran up
to 1713.

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 One pamphlet is entitled “A True Relation of the Apparition of one Mrs. Veal the Next Day after her Death
to One Mrs. Bargrave at the Canterbury 8th September 1705”.
 He was prosecuted for his pamphlet “The Shortest-Way with the Dissenters; Or, Proposals for the
Establishment of the Church”.
 He has also written “The History of the Union of Great Britain” in 1709.
 When he was released in 1703, he published a periodical “The Review” which initially appeared weekly but
later three times a week.
 Defoe is known to have used at least 198 pen names.
 Sir Leslie Stephan said about Defoe as– “Defoe gave his stories an air of reality and convinced his readers of
their authenticity. That is why they are appropriately called as ‘Fictitious Biography’ or ‘History minus the
 Daniel Defoe is called the Poet Laureate of Market Economy.
 The Rise of the Novel is written by Ian Watt

Other Major Works of Defoe

1. Appeal to Honour and Justice
2. The Family Instructor (1715)
3. Letters Writ by a Turkish Spy
4. Everybody’s Business is Nobody’s Business
5. The Complete English Tradesman
6. A Journal of the Plague Year
7. Colonel Jack (1722)
8. Moll Flanders (1722)
9. Roxana: The Fortunate Mistress (1724)
10. Robinson Crusoe (1719)
11. Captain Singleton
12. The Shortest-Way with Dissenters
 In this book Defoe ruthlessly satirized both the High Church Tories and those Dissenters who
hypocritically practiced so-called “occasional conformity” such as his Stoke Newington neighbor Sir
Thomas Abney.

Robinson Crusoe (1719)

 It is about the real life adventures of Alexander Selkirk narrated in first person as an autobiography.
 It is a historical fiction by Defoe published in 1719 by the publisher W. Taylor.
 Complete title: “The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner:
Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the
Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men
perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver'd by Pirates”
 Epistolary confessional and didactic in form, the book is presented as an autobiography of the title
character Robinson Crusoe.
 The story has been perceived to be based on the life of “Alexander Selkirk”, a Scottish who lived for four
years on the Pacific Island called “Mas a Tierra” which was renamed as Robinson Crusoe Island.
 Crusoe (the family name corrupted from German name “Kreutznaer”) set sail from Queen’s dock in Hull
on a sea voyage in August 1651, against the wishes of his parents who wanted to study him law.
 The journey ends in disaster as the ship is taken over by Sale pirates and he is enslaved by a Moor.
 Two years later he escapes in a boat with a boy named Xury, a captain of Portuguese ship. The ship
enroutes to Brazil.
 Crusoe joins an expedition to bring slaves from Africa, but he is shipwrecked in a storm and reaches an
island (he called this island, Island of Despair) near the mouth of the river Oroonoque in 1659.

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 At his arrival, only he and three animals, the captain’s dog and two cats were there, on September 1 1659.
 Before the ship wrecks he fetches arms, tools, and other supplies to make a habitat near a cave.
 By making marks in wood cross he creates calendar.
 On the island he hunts, grows barley, and rice, dries grapes to make raisins, learn to make pottery, raises
goats and adopt a parrot.
 The years pass and Crusoe discovers native Cannibals who occasionally visit the island to kill and eat
 Crusoe made a new companion named Friday as he was a prisoner and was helped by Crusoe while he
was escaping.
 Crusoe teaches him English and converts him to Christianity.
 When more natives arrived to participate in Cannibal’s feast, Crusoe and Friday kills most of the natives
and saved two prisoners. One is Friday’s father and the other Spaniard.
 He asked Spaniard to return his mainland with Friday’s father and bring back others and sail to Spanish
 An English ship appears in which the mutineers are planning to maroon their Captain on the island.
 Crusoe and Captain makes a deal in which Crusoe helps the royal sailors to retake the ship and leaves the
mountaineers on the island.
 He leaved the island on 19 December 1686 and arrived England on 11 June 1687.
 He learned that his family believed him dead so he was nothing left in his father’s will.
 Friday accompanies him and they go for one last adventure together to his island and finds that it is
governed by Spaniards.
 He survived for 28 years 2 months 19 days on this island.

The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1719)

 It is sequel to Robinson Crusoe and it is a historical novel by Defoe.
 Original title: “The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe; Being the Second and Last Part of His Life,
And of the Strange Surprising Accounts of his Travels Round three Parts of the Globe”
 The novel is followed by ‘Serious Reflections of Robinson Crusoe’.
 The book starts with the statements of Crusoe’s marriage in England and had three children, two sons,
and a daughter.
 In this book following voyages takes place:
 Crusoe’s return to his island
 Crusoe’s adventures in Madagascar
 Crusoe’s travels in Southeast Asia and China
 Crusoe’s travels in Siberia

Moll Flanders (1722)

 Full Title: "The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders, Etc. Who was born in Newgate,
and during a life of continu'd Variety for Threescore Years, besides her Childhood, was Twelve Year a
Whore, five times a Wife (whereof once to her own brother), Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported
Felon in Virginia, at last grew Rich, liv'd Honest and died a Penitent. Written from her own Memorandums."
 In 1722 he wrote it as picaresque novel written in first person.
 It is about the fall and eventual redemption of a lone woman in 17th century England.
 The heroine appears as a whore, bigamist, and thief, commits adultery, and incest.
 Moll Flanders is a convict in Newgate Prison.
 She is married to her sons.

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A Journal of the Plague Year (1722)
 In 1721, when the Black Death again threatened the European continent he wrote A Journal of the Plague
Year to alert the people about its horror.

Colonel Jack (1722)

 Full Title: The History and Remarkable Life of the truly Honourable Col. Jacque, commonly call'd Col.
Jack, who was Born a Gentleman, put 'Prentice to a Pick−Pocket, was Six and Twenty Years a Thief, and
then Kidnapp'd to Virginia, Came back a Merchant; was Five times married to Four Whores; went into the
Wars, behav'd bravely, got Preferment, was made Colonel of a Regiment, came over, and fled with the
Chevalier, is still abroad compleating a Life of Wonders, and resolves to dye a General.
 It is about an orphaned boy from a life of poverty and crime to Colonial prosperity, military and martials
complication driven by a problematic notion of becoming a gentleman.

Roxana: The Fortunate Mistress (1724)

 Full Title: The Fortunate Mistress: Or, A History of the Life and Vast Variety of Fortunes of Mademoiselle
de Beleau, Afterwards Called the Countess de Wintselsheim, in Germany, Being the Person known by the
Name of the Lady Roxana, in the Time of King Charles II.
 It is the final novel of Defoe.
 Roxana marries her landlord but could not bear a child so she sends her maid Amy to beget her a child.
 Roxana claims “the marriage contract is nothing but giving up liberty, estate, authority, and everything to the
 Roxana can be described as proto-feminist because she carries out her actions of prostitution for her own
ends of freedom.


Joseph Addison
 He was an English essayist, poet, playwright, and politician.
 He met his friend Richard Steele at Queen’s College, Oxford.
 After the Battle of Blenheim in 1704 he got a chance to write a commemorative poem and he thus produced
“The Campaign”.
 He was Member of Parliament from 1709-1713.
 He was also a member of Kit-Kat Club.
 He was the founder of the periodical ‘The Spectator’ first appeared in March 1711, it ran for one and a half
year and then ‘The Guardian’ took its place in 1714.
 His last undertaking was “The Freeholder”, a political paper in 1715-1716.
 Plays of Addison
i) Libretto (1707)
ii) Cato: A Tragedy (1713)
iii) The Drummer: A Comedy Play (1716)
 The prologue of Cato is written by Pope while epilogue by Dr. Garth.
 His political newspaper “The Freeholder” was much criticized and Pope in the “Dunciad” has objected him
as an inferior naming him “Atticus”.
 He was buried in Westminster Abby.

World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 174

 In the Tatler he contributed 42 essays while Steele 188 out of total 271.
 In The Spectator he contributed 274 essay while Steele 236 out of 555 total.
 Addison also assisted Steele in writing Guardian began in 1713.
 Spectator Club was introduced by Steele.
 Bonamy Darbee wrote an observation about Joseph Addison’s life and work as– “He is the perfect
representative of what the age was trying to be, the man who move than anybody else helped society to go the
way it wanted to go.”

Richard Steele
 He was an Irish writer and politicians.
 He became a Whig Member of Parliament in 1713.
 He was knighted in 1713 when King George I came to throne and he was given the responsibility of Royal
Theatre, Drury Lane, London.
 On account of his talent of writing political pamphlets he was awarded the position of “Official Gazetteer”.
 At Drury Lane, Steele wrote the sentimental comedy “The Conscious Lovers” which was an immediate hit.
 He was also a member of Kit-Kat Club.

Kit-Kat Club (1705): It was an early 18th century English Club in London with strong political and literary
association. This first meeting was held by Christopher Catt. The club name is derived from his mutton
pies. Firstly they met at Temple Bar.
Permanent Members: Congreve, John Locke, Vanbrugh, Addison, Steele including many politicians.

 Steele’s first published work is “The Christian Hero”, while Steele was in the army.
 ‘The Funeral’ is a comedy by him.
 In 1705 he wrote “The Tender Husband” with contributions from Addison.
 Steele’s First journal ‘The Tatler’ appeared on 12 April 1709 which appeared three times a week i.e.,
Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
 He wrote this periodical under the pseudonym ‘Isaac Bickerstaff’.
 The motive behind writing “The Tatler” was to expose the false arts of life and to recommend a general
simplicity in our dress, discourse and behavior.
 Tatler’s publication was closed to avoid the compilation of it being a Whig publication under Tory’s attack.
 Steele played a minor role in the novel “The History of Henry Esmond” by WM Thackeray.


Nahum Tate
 He was Irish poet, humanist, and lyricism.
 He was the Poet Laureate of England from 1692-1715.

World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 175

 Tate is known for his “The History of King Lear” (1681) an adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Lear.
 Brutus of Alba, or The Enchanted Lovers (1678); is a tragedy dealing with Dido and Aeneas. It was dedicated
to Charles Sackville.
 He also adopted Richard II as William Shakespeare’s Richard II.
 Addison protested the humiliation of King Lear by Tate, while Johnson defended.
 His farce “Duke and No Duke” was the adaptation of Aston Cockayne’s “Trappolin Supposed a Prince”.
 His Cuckold’s Heaven was derived from Eastward Ho by Chapman and Marston.
 ‘The Island Princess’ or The Generous Portugals was adapted from John Fletcher.
 ‘Injured Love or The Cruel Husband’ altered from Webster’s White Devil.
 Tate collaborated Dryden to complete his second half of the poem ‘Absalom and Achitophel’.
 His poems were sharply criticized by Pope in “The Dunciad”.
 His poem ‘Panacea, a poem on Tea” is very famous.
 Jeremy Collier attacked Nahum Tate in his pamphlet “A Short View of the Immortality and Profaneness of
English Stage” (1698) on the account of immortality and attack of clergy.
 Collier also attacked the comedies of Wycherley, Dryden, Congreve, Vanbrugh, and D’Urfey.
 Nahum Tate translated “The Psalm of David”.

The History of King Lear (1681)

 Unlike Shakespeare’s tragedy, Tate’s The History of King Lear has a happy ending. King Lear resumes the
throne and Cordelia marries Edgar.
 Edgar joyfully declares that –
“Truth and virtue shall at least succeed.”
 It is 800 lines shorter than Shakespeare’s play.
 The character ‘Fool’ is absent here.
 There is no description of French King, so Cordelia stays in England only. Tate gives her a servant Arante.
 Love affair of Edgar and Cordelia continues from start to end.
 Tate framed this play as per the impact of restoration.
 Gloucester is changed as ‘Gloster’
 In this the two sisters secretly poisons each other.


Nicholas Rowe
 He was a Poet Laureate of United Kingdom from 1715-1718.
 He was a poet, dramatist, and miscellaneous writer.
 His first play is “The Ambitious Stepmother” produced in 1700.
 He edited works of Shakespeare in 1709 as “The Works of Mr. William Shakespear; in Six Volumes.
Adorn'd with Cuts. Revis'd and Corrected, with an Account of the Life and Writings of the Author”.
 The Tragedy of Jane Shore is a 1714 play by Nicholas Rowe. It was an imitation of Shakespeare’s style.

- A Poem upon the Late Glorious Successes of Her Majesty’s Arms.
- Ode for the New Year MDCCXVI
- The Ambitious Stepmother (1700)
- Tamerlane (1702)
World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 176
- The Biter (1705)
- Ulysses (1705)
- The Royal Convert (1707)
- Lady Jane Grey (1715)

Thomas Parnell
 He was an Anglo-Irish poet and a friend of Pope and Swift.
 He was member of a Scriblerus Club and contributed to ‘The Spectator’.
 He also aided Pope in his translation of ‘The Illiad’.
 He was also one among Graveyard Poets.

Important Works
1. Battle of the Frog and Mice
2. The Hermit
3. Night Piece on Death (1721)
Graveyard Poets: It is a term applied to eighteenth century poets, who wrote poems usually set in a
graveyard on the theme of human mortality. For example,
- Thomas Parnell’s Night Piece on Death (1721)
- Edward Young’s Night Thought (1742)
- Robert Blair’s The Grave
- Thomas Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard (1751)


Edward Young
 He was an English poet best remembered for ‘Night Thoughts’.
 His first publication was “Epistle to … Lord Lansdoune” (1713).
 Between 1725-1728 he published a series of seven satires on The Universal Passion.
His Other Major Works
1. Poem on the Last Day – dedicated to Queen Anne (1713)
2. The Force of Religion or Vanquished Love (1714)
3. An Epistle to Joseph Addison
4. On the late Queen’s Death
5. His Majesty’s Accession to the Throne
6. Busiris (play) (1719)
7. Revenge (play) (1721)

Night Thoughts (1742-1745)

 Complete title: “The Complaint or, Night-Thoughts on Life, Death, & Immortality”
World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 177
 The poem is written in blank verse and published in 9 parts from 1742-1745.
 It describes the poet’s musings on death over a series of 9 nights, in which he ponders the loss of his wife
and friends.
 The nine night are each a poem of their own. They are:
i) Life and Death: dedicated to Arthur Onslow
ii) Time, Death, and Friendship: dedicated to Spencer Compton
iii) Narcissa: dedicated to Margaret Bentick
iv) The Christian Triumph: dedicated to Philip Yorke
v) The Relapse: dedicated to George Lee
vi) The Infidel Reclaim’d
vii) In Two Parts: both dedicated to Henry Pelham
- Glories and Riches:
- The Nature Proof
viii) Virtue’s Apology or The Man of the World Answered – no dedication
ix) The Consolation: dedicated to Thomas Pelham Holles


Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea

 Her full name: Anne Kingsmill Finch. She was an English poet.
 Anne wrote several love poems to her husband; most famous one is “A Letter to Daphnis”.
 In 1712 Anne became Countess of Winchilsea after the death of Charles Finch.
 The only major collection of Anne Finch work is “Miscellany Poems, on Several Occasions: written by a
Lady” (1713).
 Virginia Woolf argued that Finch’s writing is harassed and distracted with hates and grievances.
 ‘The Introduction’ is written by Finch.
 ‘The Spleen’, ‘The Prodigy’, and ‘A Natural Reverie’ are the works of Finch.


Matthew Prior
 He was an English Poet and a contributor to The Examiner.
 When Whigs regained power in 1714 he was impeached by Robert Walpole and was in closed custody for
two years (1715-1717).
 During his imprisonment he wrote a longest humorous poem “Alma; or, The Progress of the Mind”. It is an
imitation of Samuel Butler.

World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 178

 His other work is “Solomon, and other Poems on several Occasions” (1718). This volume awarded him a
present of £4000 from Lord Harley.
 He was a follower of Pope.
 In 1687 he wrote “The City Mouse and Country Mouse” in collaboration with Charles Montagu to ridicule
John Dryden’s The Hind and the Panther.
 He also contributed to the journal “The Examiner”.
 “Prior seems to me amongst the easiest, the richest, the most charmingly humorous of English lyrical poems.”
– by W.M. Thackerey.

 Other Works
- Henry and Emma
- To a Child of Quality
- The Nut Brown Maid


Laurence Eusden
 He became Poet Laureate in 1718.
 His famous work is “The Origin of the Nights of Bath” dedicated to William Augustus.
 “Know Eusden thirst no more for sack or praise, he sleeps among the dull of Ancient days.” – said by Pope.
 “Eusden set out well in life but afterwards turned out a drunkard and besotted his faculties.” – by Thomas


The Age of Johnson

Characteristic of The Age of Johnson
 The Age of Johnson is referred as the ‘Age of Sensibility’ that ranged from 1750-1798.
 Samuel Johnson, a poet, critic, and author of fiction is remarkable figure of this period.
 Writers of the age of Johnson focused on the quantities of intellect, reason, balance, and order.
 Notable publications of this age are:
- Edmund Burke’s A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful
- Johnson’s The Rambler (1750-1752)
- Goldsmith’s The Vicar of the Wakefield
 One of the most important legacy is “Dictionary of the English Language” (1755). It was most admired and
used till 1928, then comes Oxford Dictionary.

World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 179

 Johnson belief was that the language of the people should be used in literature and that a writer should avoid
using grammar and vocabulary that did not appeal to the common reader.
 Most of the poets belonging to the age of Johnson may be termed as precursors of the Romantic revival.
 The age of Johnson is also called the Age of Transition.
 Like the age of Pope, the poets of the age of Johnson are also stick to closed couplets.
 This is the period in which classical traditions were broken and new Romantic trends were followed.
 The fusion of aristocracy and middle class that began in the age of Pope was complete in the age of Johnson.
 The emergence of middle class led to the rise of sentimentalism, feelings, and emotions.

The French Revolution

 The French Revolution took place in 1789-1799.
 Outcome:
1. Abolition of the French Monarchy
2. Establishment of a secular and democratic republic that became authoritarian and militaristic.
3. Radical social change based on liberalism and other enlightenment principals.
4. Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte

The Age of Transition

 This period is clearly an age of transition. On one hand we have poets like Dr. Johnson and Goldsmith who
slavishly follow Augustan age tradition and emulate Pope while poets like Blake and Burns who herald the
new age of Romanticism and having nothing in common with Augustan school of poetry.
 Between these two extremes we have poets like Gray and Collins who are true transitional poets in the sense
that they share both the romantic and the classic characters. This double adherence of Classic and
Romanticism is called Transition.
 Liberalism supports freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free markets, civil right,
democratic societies, secular government, and international cooperation.
 It rejects the notion of hereditary privilege state religion, absolute monarchy and Divine rights of the King.

Seven Year War (1756-1763)

 It was fought between 1754-1763 but the main conflict occurring between 1756-1763.
 The fight was between the two major opponents France and Britain, but other countries like America, India,
were also affected.

American Revolutionary War or American War of Independence (1775-1783)

 The American Revolutionary War or The American War of Independence or simply Revolutionary War was
the conflict between Kingdom of Great Britain and 13 of its North American Colonies who declared
themselves independent “United States of America”.

The Adventurer
 It was an 18th century (1752-1754), bi-weekly newspaper in London. Contributed by Samuel Johnson and John

World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 180


Dr. Samuel Johnson

 He was an English writer who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist,
literary critic, biographer, editor, and lexicographer.
 Johnson was devoted to Anglican and committed to Tory. He received pension of £300 from George III.
 He is described as “arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history”.
 He is the subject of biographical art’s of James Boswell’s “Life of Samuel Johnson” (1791).
 He worked as a teacher, but later he moved to London where he began to write for The Gentleman’s
 His early works includes ‘Life of Mr. Richard Savage’, the poem ‘London’, ‘The Vanity of Human Wishes’,
and the play ‘Irene’.
 Johnson’s dictionary was published in 1755.
 His later works include “The Plays of William Shakespeare”, “The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia”.
 In “A Journey to the Western Islands to Scotland” he describes his travel to Scotland along with his friend
James Boswell.
 Johnson said about Shakespeare as– “Shakespeare has written without rules and he neglected the laws and
 Dr. Johnson wrote only one play ‘Irene’ and one novel The Rasselas.
 Towards the end of his life, he produced the massive and influential “Lives of the Most Eminent English
Poets”, which is a collection of biographies and evaluations of 17th and 18th century poets.
 After death he was buried in Westminster Abby.
 His London: A Poem was an imitation of the 3rd Satire of Juvenal, which describes the character Thales
leaving for Wales to escape the problems of London.
 In 1750, he decided to produce a series of essays under the title “The Rambler” that was published every
Tuesday and Saturday.
 One friend of Johnson, Charlotte Lennox included a defense of “The Rambler” in her novel “The Female
Quixote” (1752).
 Johnson also worked on “The Literary Magazine or Universal Review” in 1756.
 In 1758, he began to write a weekly series “The Idler” which ran from 15 April 1758 to 5 April 1760. “The
Idler” was not independent but was published in a weekly news journal “The Universal Chronicle”.
 Johnson describes Shakespeare as ‘the poet of nature’.
 Johnson’s Literature especially his “Lives of the most eminent poets” (52 poets, Milton being oldest and in 3
parts), 1779 – 82, is marked by various opinions on what would make poetic work excellent.
 Johnson told about Pope – “If pope is not a poet then who found poetry”.
 Johnson’s Circle (Literary Club) includes: Joshua Reynolds, Edmund Burk, Goldsmith, Garrick, Gibbon and
 T.S. Eliot about Johnson: “No poet can ask more of posterity then to be greatly honoured by the great and
Johnson’s words about Shakespeare are great honour”.

Major Works of Johnson

Essay, Pamphlet & Periodicals
1. (1750-1752) – The Rambler (Tue & Sat), total 208 articles
2. (1756) – The Literary Magazine or The Universal Review
3. (1758-1760) – The Idler (weekly)
4. (1775) – A Journey to the Western Island of Scotland
World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 181
5. (1781) – The Beauties of Johnson
6. (1752-1754) – The Adventurer (newspaper, biweekly)

1. Messiah (1728) – It is a translation in Latin of Pope’s Messiah
2. London (1738)
3. The Vanity of Human Wishes (1749)
4. Irene: a Tragedy (1749) – This is the only play of Johnson
5. A Voyage to Abyssinia, by Jerome Lobo (1735) – translated from French
6. Life of Mr. Richard Savage (1744)
7. Miscellaneous Observations on the Tragedy of Macbeth (1745)
8. Proposals for Printing, by Subscription, the Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare (1756)
9. Preface to the Plays of William Shakespeare (1765)
10. Lives of the Poets (1779-1781)

- Preface to a Dictionary of the English Language
- A Dictionary of the English Language
- The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia

 Important Quotes
1. “A book should help us either to enjoy life or to endure it.”
2. “Nothing add will do long Tristram Shandy did not last.”

London (1738)
 London is a first major work of Johnson written in 1738; total in 237 lines.
 It is the imitation of the third satire of Juvenal expressed by character Thales and he decides to leave London
for Wales.
 Johnson imitated Juvenal because of his fondness of Roman poets, so he is also popular as an Augustan poet.
 Pope praised Johnson for his first poem Messiah (Johnson’s Latin translation of Pope’s poem) as well as
 The poem describes the various problems of London, including an emphasis on crime, corruption, and
squalor of the poor.
 The characters of Malice, Rapine, and Accident conspire to attack those who live in London.
 Famous Line–
“I praise the hermit, but regret the friend,
Resolved at length from vice and London Far.”
 In this poem, Johnson focuses on the corruption of the court of George II.

The Vanity of Human Wishes (1749)

 It is the imitation of the tenth satire of Juvenal by Johnson.
 It was the first published work of Johnson which includes his name on the title page.
 The poem focuses on human futility and humanity’s quest after greatness like Juvenal but concludes that
Christian values are important to living properly.
 It emphasizes philosophy over politics.
 Walter Scott and T.S. Eliot considered it to be Johnson’s greatest poem.
 It is a poem of 368 lines, written in closed heroic couplet.

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Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets (1779-1781)
 “Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets” comprises short biographies and critical appraisal of 52 poets,
most of whom lived during 18th century and arranged approximately by date of death.
 Most important among 52 poets are Milton, Dryden, Pope, Addison, Swift, and Grey.
 In 1744, he wrote first serious “life”, the “Life of Mr. Richard Savage”, in honour of his friend Richard
 It is written in four volumes.
 Milton was the oldest among 52.
 The first poet who is depicted is, Abraham Cowley and last poet is Christopher Pitt
 In Life of Cowley, Johnson use ‘Metaphysical School of Poetry’ for the first time.
 Out of 52, 6 poets have been classified and edited separately by Matthew Arnold. They are– Milton, Dryden,
Pope, Addison, Swift, and Thomas Gray.

The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia

 The Prince of Abissinia, A Tale in Two Volumes was written by Johnson in 1759. It is only novel by
 Book’s original title was “The Choice of Life”.
 He had translated “A Voyage to Abyssinia” by Jerome Lobo in 1735 and used it as the basis for a
philosophical romance.
 Rasselas is the son of the King of Abyssinia (modern Ethiopia) was shut in a beautiful valley till order of
succession should call him to throne.
 Rasselas along with his sister Nekayah and attendant Pekuah and his poet friend Imlac escapes in search of
happiness and to see the world.
 They perceive the futility of their search and abruptly return to Abyssinia.
 “Dissertation upon Poetry” is the 10th chapter of Rasselas.
 It is modeled on “Arabian Nights”.

A Dictionary of the English Language (1755)

 In June 1746 a group of London booksellers contracted Johnson to write a dictionary for the sum of 1500
 Johnson took nearly 9 years to complete the work.
 It was written in two volumes with a 10 page preface.
 The title page reads: “A Dictionary of the English Language in which the words are deduced from their
Originals and illustrated in their different signification by examples from the best writers to which are prefixed
A History of the Language and An English Grammar by Samuel Johnson, A.M. in Two Volumes”
 Number of words in the dictionary: 40,000

A Journey to the Western Island of Scotland (1775)

 A Journey to the Western Island of Scotland is a travel narrative by Samuel Johnson about 83 days journey
through Scotland, in particular the Island of Hebrides, in the late summer and autumn in 1773.

Preface to Shakespeare and The Plays of William Shakespeare (1765)

 The Dramatic Work of Shakespeare was edited by Samuel Johnson and George Stevens.
 This edition was published in 1765.
 In the Preface to Shakespeare, Johnson justifies trying to determine the original language of Shakespeare
 Johnson described that– “Shakespeare famously neglect to observe Aristotle’s rule concerning the three
dramatic unities except ‘Action’, which Johnson believe that Shakespeare observed this unit of Aristotle most

World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 183


Oliver Goldsmith
 He was an Anglo-Irish novelist, playwright, and poet.
 He is best known for ‘The Vicar of Wakefield’ (1766), his pastoral poems, The Deserted Village (1770), and
his plays, The Good-Natured Man (1768), and She Stoops to Conquer (1771).
 He has also written the classic children tale “The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes” (1765).
 Horace Walpole given him epithet “Inspired Idiot”, Goldsmith’s essays were originally published as “The
Chinese Letters”.
 “All the motion of Goldsmith’s nature moved in the direction of the true, the natural, the sweet, the gentle.” –
These lines are written by Thomas De Quincey.
 The comedy Good-Natured Man was staged at Covent Garden Theatre.
 He was buried in “Temple Church” in London. The inscription reads “HERE LIES OLIVER

Major Works of Goldsmith

1. The Present State of Polite Learning (essay)
2. The Vicar of Wakefield (1766)
3. She Stoops to Conquer (1773)
4. The Deserted Village (1770)
5. Poems and Plays
6. An Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog
7. The Citizen of the World (in two volumes)
8. The Traveller
9. The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes (1765) – children’s tale
10. Description of an Author’s Bedchamber (poem)
11. The Village Schoolmaster (poem)

The Vicar of Wakefield: A Tale (1766)

 The Vicar of Wakefield: A Tale is supposed to be written by himself in 1766.
 It is a comedy novel by him. It is the only novel by him.
 The Vicar – Dr. Charles Primrose and his wife Deborah and their six children, lives an idyllic life in a
country Parish.
 He has invested his wealth to a merchant which he had received from a deceased relative, and thus is
 He donates £34 to local orphans and war veterans, this money he receives from his annual income of job.
 On the evening of his son George’s wedding to wealthy Arabella Wilmot, the Vicar loses all his money
because the merchant in whom he has invested, left the town abruptly as he was bankrupt.
 The wedding is called off by Arabella’s father, who is known for his prudence.
 The names of his children are George, Olivia, Sophia, Moses, Dick, and Bill.
 George is sent away to town and rest of the family moves to the land of Squire Thornhill who is known to
be a womanizer (a habitual seducer of women).
 Mr. Burchell, whom they meet at an inn rescues Sophia from drowning and thus she is attracted to him
but her mother doesn’t encourage her.
 Finally, Olivia is reported to be fled, actually deceived by Squire Thornhill.
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 He planned to marry her in a mock ceremony and leave her then shortly after as he had done the same
with many women before.
 When Olivia and her father return home, they find their house in flame and they lost all their belongings.
 Squire Thornhill asks for the rent but as Primrose couldn’t pay and he is brought to prison.
 A chain of dreadful occurrences takes place:
 Olivia is reported dead.
 Sophia is abducted.
 George is too sent to prison covered with blood because he challenged Thornhill to a duel when
he heard about his wickedness.
 Mr. Burchell arrives and solves all problems.
 He rescues Sophia and Olivia is also found not dead.
 It emerges that Mr. Burchell is in reality the worthy Sir William Thornhill, uncle of Squire Thornhill.
 In the end there is a double wedding, George marriages Arabella as he originally intended and Sir William
Thornhill marriages Sophia.
 The marriage of Olivia and Squire also found to be real.
 The wealth of the Vicar is restored as the bankrupt merchant is reported to be found.
 Important Quote: “I love everything that is Old; old friends; old times; old manners’ old books; old

She Stoops to Conquer (1773)

 It is a romantic comedy play by Goldsmith.
 Initially play was titled “Mistakes of a Night”.
 The events in the play take place in one long night.
 It was first performed in London in 1773.
 It is derived from George Farquhar’s Beaux Stratagem.
 ‘She Stoops to Conquer’ is a phrase made popular by Aphra Behn in her play “The Rover”.
 Prologue of She Stoops to Conquer– “All is not gold that glitters, pleasure seems sweet, but proves a glass
of bitters. When ignorance enters, Folly is at hand. Learning is better far than house and land. Let your
virtue trip; who trips may stumble. And virtue is not a virtue if she tumble.”
 A wealthy countryman Mr. Hardcastle arranges for his daughter Kate to meet Charles Marlow, the son of
a rich Londoner, hoping the pair will marry.
 On the first acquaintance with Kate, she realizes, she will have to pretend to be common because Marlow
is nervous around upper class women.
 Thus Kate “stoops to conquer” by posing as a maid, hoping to put Marlow at ease to fall in love with her.
 Marlow along with his friend George Hastings proceeds towards Hardcastle.
 George Hastings is an admirer of Miss Constance Neville.
 Tony Lumpkin plays a joke with these two men by saying that their destination is much away so they will
have to stay at an inn overnight.
 Tony Lumpkin is Kate’s step brother and cousin of Constance.
 The inn he directs is in fact the home of Hardcastle.
 The gentleman behaves disdainfully thinking it as an inn.
 Kate after learning her suitor shyness and Tony’s trick decides to masquerade herself as a serving maid.
 Marlow falls in love with Kate as a maid and plans to elope but as she appears of lower castes, she acts in a
bawdy manner.
 All misunderstandings are resolved by the end when Sir Charles Marlow (father of Marlow and friend of
Hardcastle) appears.
 At the end Marlow is married to Kate and Hastings is married to Constance Neville.

World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 185

Important Quotes:
1. “True Madam, those who have most virtue in their mouths, have least of it in their bosoms.” – Marlow to
2. “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
3. “Ask me no questions, and I’ll tell you no fibs.”
4. “I love everything that is Old; old friends; old times; old manners’ old books; old wines.” – by Mr.
5. “He who fights and runs away
May live to fight another day
But he who is battle slain
Can never rise to fight again”
6. “The comic muse long sick is now dying.” – It appears in The Prologue

The Citizen of the World

 Complete Title: The Citizen of the World or, Letters from a Chinese Philosopher, Residing in London, to
his Friends in the East.
The Deserted Village (1770)
 It is a poem by Goldsmith about social commentary and condemns rural population and pursuit of excessive
 The poem is written in Heroic couplet.
 It is a pastoral poem.


Robert Burns
 He is known by various names as:
 Robbie Burns
 Rabbie Burns
 Scotland’s Favorite Son
 Ploughman Poet
 Robden of Solway Firth
 Bard of Ayrshire
 He was a Scottish poet and lyricist.
 He is widely regarded as the National Poet of Scotland. He has written in Scots language, as well as in English.
 He is regarded as a pioneer of Romantic Movement and a source of inspiration to the founders of Liberalism
and Socialism.
 Burns was born in Ayrshire that’s why he is called ‘Bard of Ayrshire’.
 In 1786, John Wilson published the Volume of Works by Robert Burns in Scottish dialect as “ Kilmarnock
 At Kilmarnock, Burns’ poem was published with the title “Poems Chiefly in Scottish Dialect”.
 He used ‘Lowland Scots’ as poetic language from middle ages.
 Burns’ Poems and Songs were edited in three volumes by James Kinsley (1968).
 Robert Burns was praised and patronized as Ploughman Poet.

World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 186

Important Poems
 A Red Red Rose
 A Man’s a Man for A’ That
 To a Louse
 To a Mouse
 The Battle of Sherramuir
 Tam o’ Shanter (1790) – longer poem
 Ae Fond Kiss
 The Cotter’s Saturday Night – written in Spenserian stanza
 Holy Willie’s Prayer

A Red Red Rose

O my Luve is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve is like the melody
That’s sweetly played in tune.

So fair art thou, my bonnie lass,

So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,

And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only luve!

And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my luve,
Though it were ten thousand mile.

Tam o’ Shanter
 It is narrative poem by Burns in 1790. Tam is a farmer.


William Collins
Important Works:
 Oriental Eclogues (1742)
 Persian Eclogues
 Song from Shakespeare’s Cymbeline
 One on the Death of Thomson

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 Ode on the Popular Superstitions of the Highlands of Scotland
 Ode to Evening
 Odes (on Several Description and Allegorical Subjects)
 How Sleep the Brave
 He has written 12 Ode series.


Samuel Richardson
 Richardson has the credit of writing first modern novel.
 He was a printer as well. He had a natural talent of letter writing. He as frequently employed by working-girls
to write theirs love letters for them.
 His famous novel in the form of epistles is Pamela or Virtue Rewarded, an endless series of letters telling of
the trials, tribulations and finally happy marriage of two sweet young maiden published in four volumes in
 His other notable works are:
 Clarissa: or the History of a Young Lady (1748)
 The History of Sir Charles Grandison (1753) – It is written in 7 volumes.
 In “Seasonable Examination” (1735) Richardson supported a parliamentary bill to regulate the London
 Charles Grandison is written in response to Fielding’s “The History of Tom Jones”.
 The first known work by Richardson is “Apprentice’s Vade Mecum” or “Young Man Pocket Companion”
published in 1733.
 Richardson is not only known as the first novelist of character but also the first novelist of Feminine character.

Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded (1740-1741)

 It is an epistolary novel by Richardson written in 1740. It is written in 2 parts.
 It tells the story of 15 years old maid servant named Pamela Andrews, who works for Mr. Squire B.
 Mr. B a country landowner advances towards her after the death of his mother.
 He tries to seduce and rape Pamela but is unsuccessful.
 Pamela virtue is eventually rewarded when Mr. B sincerely proposes an equitable marriage to her.
 In the second part of the novel (in 1742), Pamela marries Mr. B and try to claim to be in upper class society.
 Joseph Andrew is the brother of Pamela.
 After the death of Richardson a four-volume edition of Pamela was published, that is assumed as final text of
the novel.

Clarissa or The History of a Young Lady (1748)

 It is also an epistolary novel by Richardson published in 1748 which tells a tragic story of a heroine whose
quest for virtue is continually thwarted by his families.
 It is one of the longest novels in English Language.

World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 188

 Clarissa Harlow is the tragic heroine of the novel, who dies at the end of the novel. She is 18 years old in the
 Dr. H is a physician in this novel.
 It is written in 8 volumes.
 It is in the form of letters written by Clarissa to her friend Anna Hewe and by Lovelace to his friend John
 The first two volumes appeared in 1747 and further 5 volumes in 1748.
 Clarissa is compared to ‘Angel’.
 Richardson depicted the heroine of this novel resembling the wife of Sir William Temple named Dorothy


Henry Fielding
 Fielding used the pen name “Captain Hercules Vinegar”.
 He was a novelist and dramatist.
 Using his authority as magistrate he founded London’s first police force named ‘Bow Streets Runners’.
 His younger sister Sarah also became a successful writer with the publication of The Adventure of David
Simple (1744).
 The particular play of Fielding that triggered the licensing act was the ‘Golden Rump’.
 His Joseph Andrews (1742) deals with Pamela’s brother Joseph.
 He is one of the four wheels of 18th century novelists (other three are: Richardson, Tobais Smollett, and
Laurence Sterne). They are called ‘Four Wheels’ by Saintsbury.
 In 1743, he published satire on criminal life– “Jonathan Wild the Great” and one more satire “A Journey
from This World to the Next”.
 In 1749 appeared Tom Jones.
 Licensing act 1737 ended the dramatic carrier of Fielding. All the theatres were closed except two i.e. Drury
Lane Theatre and Covent Garden Theatre.
 When the theatres were closed, Fielding was the manager of “Little Theatre” at Haymarket.
 He edited four periodicals:
i) The Champion (1739-1744)
ii) The Covent Garden Journal (1752) – under pseudonym Sir Alexander Drawcansir
iii) True Patriot (1745-1746)
iv) Jacobites Journal (1747-1748)
 In 1748 Fielding was made Justice for peace (magistrate) and his favorite pamphlet based in the subject of
crime is “Enquiry into the Cause of the Late Increase of Robbers” (1752).
 In 1754, he went to Portugal and died there leaving his “Journal of Voyage to Lisbon” published in 1755.
 Fielding is called father of English Novel.
 He saw the novels as Joseph Andrews and Tom Jones as ‘comic epic’.
 He wrote altogether 4 novels.
 Fielding’s political satire– “The Golden Rump” s considered as a main responsible factor for implementing
Licensing act by Prime Minister Robert Walpole in 1737.

World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 189

 The other political satires by Fielding are “The Historical Register for the Year 1736” (1737) and addendum
piece of the above supplement titled “Eurydice Hiss’d”.
 In “The Female Husband” a female transvestite was tried for duping another woman into marriage.

Major Works
1. Shamela or An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews (1749)
2. Joseph Andrews (1742)
3. Jonathan Wild the Great (1743)
4. Tom Jones (1749)
5. Journey from This World to the Next (1755)
6. Journal of Voyage to Lisbon (1755)
7. Amelia
8. The Roast Beef of Old England
9. The Modern Husband
10. Rape upon Rape (1730) – play
11. The Tragedy of Tragedies: or The Life and Death of Tom Thumb
12. The Covent Garden Tragedy
13. Don Quixote in England

Shamela, or An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews (1741)

 An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews is a satirical Burlesque, a novella written by Fielding.
 It was first published in 1741 under the name of Mr. Conny Keyber.
 It is a direct attack on the popular Pamela (1740).
 It is about a shocking revelation of the true events which took place in the life of Shamela.
 In Shamela, instead of being a kind humble and chaste servant girl as Pamela, Shamela is in fact a wicked and
lascivious creature and former prostitute scheming to entrap her master Squire Booby.
 It is also called anti-Pamela.

Joseph Andrews (1742)

 Original Title: History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews and his Friend Mr. Abraham Adams.
 It was a full length novel of Henry Fielding, and the first novel in English language.
 It is published in 1742 and defined by Fielding as “comic epic poem in prose”.
 It is the story of a good natured footman adventures on the road home from London with his friend and
mentor, the absent minded parson Abraham Adams.
 The novel represents the coming together of two competing aesthetics of eighteenth century literature; the
mock heroic and Neo-classical approach of Augustans as Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift and domestic
prose fiction of novelists as Daniel Defoe and Samuel Richardson.
 It is written in IV books.
 Joseph Andrews is the brother of Richardson’s Pamela.
 At the age of 10 years he found himself tending to animals as an apprentice to Sir Thomas Booby.
 After the death of Sir Thomas, Joseph finds that his lady’s affection has redoubled as she offers herself to
him in her chamber while on a trip to London.
 Lady Booby calls Joseph in her chamber for one last time to seduce him before she dismisses him from both
his job and his lodgings.
 Joseph sets out from London, and the narrator introduces the heroine of the novel Fanny Goodwill.
 Fanny Goodwill is the poor illiterate girl of extraordinary beauty.
 Joseph and Fanny had grown closer since their childhood.
 Joseph and Adams find an anonymous lady, Madam Slipslop, an admirer of Joseph.
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 When they pass the house of a teenage girl named Leonora, the anonymous lady is reminded of a story and
begins one of novels three interpolated tales, “The History of Leonora, or The Unfortunate Jilt”.
 At the end of the novel mystery was revealed that when Fanny was an infant she was indeed stolen from her
parents but the thieves left behind a sickly infant Joseph in return, who was raised as their own.
 It is immediately apparent that Joseph is the kidnapped son of Wilson and when Wilson arrives on his
promised visit, he identifies Joseph by a birthmark on his chest.
 Joseph is now the son of a respected gentleman.
 Fanny and Joseph are married by Adams in a humble ceremony.
 At the end of the novel the narrator assures the reader that there will be no sequel.

Tom Jones (1749)

 Original Title: The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling
 It is written in four volumes
 It is preceded by ‘The Female Husband’ or ‘The Surprising History of Mrs. Mary Alias Mr. George
 It is a comic novel by Fielding.
 The novel is both Bildungsroman and picaresque novel.
 It is divided into 18 smaller books.
 It is dedicated to George Lyttleton.
 The kindly and wealthy Squire Allworthy and his sister Bridget are introduced in Somerset.
 Allworthy returns from London after a business trip and finds an abandoned baby sleeping in his bed.
 He summons his housekeeper Mrs. Deborah Wilkins to take care of the child.
 Wilkins learns that Jenny Jones, servant of a school master is the mother of the baby and Partridge as father.
 Jenny is sent away from the country and Partridge leaves of his own accord.
 Bridget Allworthy marries Captain Blifil and they had a son named Blifil.
 Captain Blifil is jealous of Tom because he wanted his son Blifil to inherit all the properties of Allworthy.
 Captain Blifil falls dead of Apoplexy.
 The narrator skips 12 years.
 Blifil and Tom are brought together but given different treatment by other members of the household. But
Allworthy always shows affection to Tom.
 The tutor of the two boys Thwackum adores Blifil but despise Tom since Blifil is pious and Tom is wild.
 Tom always supports the family of Black George, Allworthy’s servant.
 The name of Tom’s horse is Meg.
 The people of the parish, hearing of Tom’s generosity towards Black George begin to speak kindly of Tom
and condemns Blifil.
 Tom spends much time with Squire Western, Allworthy’s neighbor as he is impressed by his sportsmanship.
 Sophia Western, Squire Western’s daughter falls in love with Tom but Tom wooing Black George’s
daughter Molly Seagrim and Molly becomes pregnant.
 Tom prevents Allworthy from sending Molly to prison and he is obliged to offer her protection.
 Tom then falls in love with Sophia.
 Tom’s status as a bastard causes Sophia’s father and Allworthy to oppose their love.
 Sophia’s father Squire Western was to marry Sophia to Master Blifil but she refuses, and escapes.
 Tom is expelled from Allworhty’s estate for his ill manners and starts his adventures across Britain, ending up
in London.
 There he meets Mrs. Waters and Lady Bellaston and very nearly kills a man in duel for which he is arrested.
 Eventually the secret of Tom’s birth is revealed. Tom’s real mother is Bridget who conceives him after an
affair with a school master, Summer.
 Hence he becomes true nephew of Squire Allworthy.
 Mrs. Waters appears as Jenny Johns.
World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 191
 Allworthy decides to bestow majority of his inheritance to Tom.
 Tom and Sophia marry.
 Sophia bears Tom a son and a daughter and the couple lived happily.

Jonathan Wild the Great (1682-1725)

 Full title: “The History of the Life of the Late Mr. Jonathan Wild, the Great”
 Jonathan Wild was born in 1682 and executed in 1725.
 He was one of the most notorious criminals of his age (so it is a criminal novel).
 He was executed at last according to the statue which made receivers of stolen goods equally guilty with the
Journey from This World to the Next (1755)
 It is dwelling on human nature.
 Fielding has produced a fantasy here that preaches deep moral lessons.

Amelia (1751)
 It is a sentimental novel by Henry Fielding.
 It was fourth and final novel by Fielding (the others three are Shamela, Tom Jones, and Joseph Andrews).
 It is written in four volumes.
 It follows the story of Amelia and Captain Booth, after they are married.
 It is domestic novel taking place in London in 1733, which describes the hardships suffered by a young couple
newly married.
 Amelia marries Captain William Booth, a dashing young Army officer.
 The couple runs away to London.
 William Booth is unjustly imprisoned in Newgate and subsequently seduced by Miss Matthews.
 During this time it is revealed that Amelia was in a carriage accident and her nose was ruined.
 Booth refuses to regard her as anything but beautiful.
 Amelia, by contrast, resists the attentions paid to her by several men in William’s absence and stays faithful to
 She forgives his transgression, but William soon draws them into trouble as he accrues gambling debts trying
to lift the couple out of poverty.
 He soon finds himself in debtor’s prison.
 Amelia discovers that she is her mother’s heiress and the debt being settled, William is released and the
couple retires to the country.

The Author’s Farce and the Pleasure of the Town

 Fielding wrote the play, “The Author’s Farce and the Pleasure of the Town” as the response to the rejection of
his earlier plays by Theatre Royal.
 In this play in Act II, Luckless seeks assistance to help to finish his play– The Pleasures of the Town. The
name of the play is The Author’s Farce but The Pleasures of the Town is a play within a play.

George Crabbe
 He was an English poet, surgeon, and clergymen.
 In 1770 Crabbe began his carrier as a doctor’s apprentice, later becoming a surgeon.
World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 192
 Edmund Burke became close friend of Crabbe and helped him in building literary carrier.
 Lord Byron described him as “nature’s sternest painter, yet the best”.
 Crabbe works included:
 The Village (1783)
 The Borough (1810) – It is a series of 24 letters.
 Tales of the Hall (1819)
 The Library (1781)
 His poetry was predominantly in the form of Heroic couplets.
 He is best known for his early use of realistic narrative, form, and description.
 Crabbe is known for his poem “The Village” written as a protest against Goldsmith’s The Deserted Island


Thomas Gray
 He was born in London and was educated at Eton College (with Horace Walpole) and Cambridge.
 Gray began seriously writing poems in 1742, mainly after the death of his close friend Richard West, which
inspired "Sonnet on the Death of Richard West".
 In 1747 he wrote the poem, “Ode on a Distant Prospect to Eton College. He was an important writer of
Pindaric odes.
 His entire fame rests upon a single small volume of poems which are divided in three periodicals.
i) First Period
a) Hymn to Adversity
b) Ode to Spring
c) Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College
ii) Second Period
a) The Progress Poisy – Pindaric odes
b) The Bard – Pindaric odes
c) The Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard (1751)
iii) Third Period
a) The Fatal Sisters
b) The Descent of Odin (1761)
c) The Candidate (1774)
 He was offered the post of Poet Laureate in 1757 but he refused.
 Altogether he wrote only 13 poems in his life time.
 Walpole writes of him, “He never wrote anything easily but things of humour.”.
 He is also known as Graveyard Poets.
Graveyard Poets: Graveyard poets are characterised by their gloomy meditations on mortality, "skulls and
coffins, epitaphs and worms" elicited by the presence of the graveyard. Moving beyond the elegy lamenting a
single death, their purpose was rarely sensationalist. As the century progressed, "graveyard" poetry increasingly
expressed a feeling for the "sublime" and uncanny, and an antiquarian interest in ancient English poetic forms
and folk poetry. The "graveyard poets" are often recognized as precursors of the Gothic literary genre, as well
as the Romantic movement. They are also called Churchyard Poets. The major writers include Goldsmith,
Parnell, Gray, Cowper, Macpharson, Robert Blair, Collins, Chatterton, Thomas Percy, Thomas Warton, and
Mark Akenside.
World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 193
 He also wrote a light verse– “Ode on the Death of Favorite Cat, Drowned in a Tub of Gold Fishes ”, a mock
elegy concerning Horace Walpole’s cat.
 Gray made friendship with Horace Walpole, Richard West, and Thomas Ashton at Eton. Their group is
called “Quadruple Alliance”.
 The scene of “Ode on the Death of Favorite Cat” is set in couplet as– “What female heart can golddespise?
What cat's averse to fish?”

Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard (1751)

 He began this masterpiece in the graveyard of St. Giles parish church in Stoke Poges in Buckinghamshire in
1742 and completed in 1750, published in 1751.
 It is one of the most popular and most frequently quoted poems in the English language. May be written on
the death of his best friend Richard West.
 It includes famous phrases as:
 “Far from the madding crowd” (It’s fourth novel of Thomas Hardy also.)
 “The unlettered muse”
 “A youth to Fortune and Fame unknown”
 “Celestial Fire”
 “Full many a flower is born to blush unseen”
 “The paths of glory leads but to the grave”
 It is supposed that Grey found inspiration of writing this poem by visiting the gravesite of his aunt Mary
Antrobus who is buried at the graveyard of St. Giles’ churchyard.
 It is written in quatrains and the last three stanzas are printed in Italic type and given the title “The Epitaph”.
 Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard moves from a meditation in a particular place upon the graves of the
poor to a reflection on the mortality of all human kind and on some of the benefits of being constrained by
 It is divided in 32 quatrains and 128 lines.
 In this poem Gray alludes to Milton, Cromwell, and Hampden.
 Opening Lines
“The curfew tolls the knells of parting day
The lowering herd wind slowly over the lea
The ploughman homeward plods his weary way
And leaves the world to darkness and to me”
 Here Curfew means “Ringing of Bells in the evening in the Church”.
 Important Lines from the elegy
“The boast of heraldry, the pomp of Power
And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave
Awaits alike the inevitable hour
The Paths of glory lead but to the grave”


William Cowper
 He was an English poet and hymnodist.
 S.T. Coleridge called him “the best modern poet”.
World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 194
 “God moves in a mysterious way/His wonders to perform”, a famous phrase from ‘Light Shining Out of
 He wrote a poem called “The Negro’s Complaint” (1788) which rapidly became famous and it was quoted by
Dr. Martin Luther King Junior in his Civil Rights Movement.
 William Wordsworth admired his poem Yardley-Oak.
 He wrote a number of anti-slavery poems.
 He was a friend of Newton.
 Cowper’s Hymns– A visit to Cowper’s grave.
 ‘The Task’ is a poem by Cowper written in 6 books in 1785. It is written in blank verse.
 The sub-title of The Task is “A Poem in Six Books” (1785).
 The six poems of ‘The Task’ are:

 The Sofa
 The Timepiece
 The Garden
 The Winter Evening
 The Winter Morning Walk
 The Winter Walk an Noon

 Last poem of Cowper is “The Castaway”.

 Cowper wrote “Olney Hymns” in conjunction with Newton.
 “I am the monarch of all I survey.” – It appears in Cowper’s Alexander’s Selkirk.
 “God made the country and man made the towns.” – It appears in The Task.
 “Absence of occupation is not rest
A mind quite vacant is mind distressed.” – from Cowper’s Retirement
 In 1785, Cowper wrote “The Diverting History of John Gilpin”.


James Boswell
 James Boswell was a Scottish lawyer, diarist, and author born in Edinburgh.
 Harold Bloom claims that Samuel Johnson’s biography by Boswell is the greatest biography written in English
 Boswell’s “Life of Samuel Johnson” was published in 1791.
 He was against slavery and his prominent display of its support depicted in his poem of 1791, “No Abolition
of Slavery” or “The Universal Empire of Love”.
 His famous journals are:
 London (1762-1763)
 The Great Biographer (1789-1795)
 The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides

World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 195

 His major works are:
 Life of Samuel Johnson (1791) – 2 vols.
 No Abolition of Slavery (1791)
 The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson (1785)
 The Cub at New Market
 Hypochondriac
 When “The Life of Samuel Johnson” began to write by Boswell, Johnson was 54 years old.


Edmund Burke
 He was an Anglo-Irish statesman born in Dublin.
 He was an author, orator, political theorist, and philosopher, who served for many years in “House of
Commons of Great Britain” as a member of Whig party.
 He is mainly remembered for his support of the cause of American Revolutionaries, Catholic Emancipation,
the impeachment of Warren Hastings from East India Company, and for his later opposition to the French
 ‘Reflection on the Revolution of France’ is written by Burke.
 His first published work is “A Vindication of Natural Society: A View of the Miseries and Evils Arising to
 In 1757, Burke signed a contract with Robert Dodsley to write “History of England from the Time of Julius
Caesar to the End of the Reign of Queen Anne”.
 Mathew Arnold considered him– “as our greatest prose writer”.


Edward Gibbon
 He was an English historian and a member of parliament.
 His most important work is “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” (the first historical
work in England).
 It was published in 6 volumes between 1776-1788.
 He is also called man of letters.
 Gibbon said– “I sighed as a lover but I obeyed as a son.”

World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 196


Tobias Smollett
 He was a surgeon by profession.
 He was a Scottish poet and author and best known for his picaresque novel “The Adventures of Roderick
Random” (1748) and “The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle” (1751).
 The Adventures of Roderick Random was modeled on Le Sage’s Gil Blas.
 ‘The Regicide’ is a tragedy by Smollett.
 In 1753 he wrote “The Adventures of Ferdinand Count Fathom”.
 In 1756 he became editor of The Critical Review.
 Dr. Johnson called Smollett as– “the great cham of literature”.
Major Works
1. The Tears of Scotland
2. A Complete History of England (1757-1765)
3. The Life and Adventures of Sir Launcelot Graves (1760)
4. Travels Through France and Italy (1766)
5. The Expedition of Humphry Clinker (1771) – last novel, it is in epistolary form
6. The Adventures of Roderick Random (1748) – Picaresque novel
7. The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle (1751) – Picaresque novel
8. The Adventure of Ferdinand Count Fathom
9. Translation of ‘The History and Adventure of the Renowned Don Quixote”


Laurence Sterne
 He was an Anglo-Irish novelist and an Anglican clergymen.
 He is best known for his novel ‘Tristram Shandy, Gentleman’ and ‘ A Sentimental Journey Through France
and Italy’.
 He also wrote many sermons and memoirs.
 In 1759, Sterne wrote ‘A Political Romance’ which was later called ‘The History of Good Warm Watch-
 Sterne’s friend John Hall Stevenson wrote the sequel of Sentimental Journey titled “Yorick’s Sentimental
Journey Continued: To Which is Prefixed Some Account of the Life and Writings of Mr. Sterne”.
Major Works
Life and Opinion of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1759-1767)
 Tristram Shandy’s style is marked by digression, double entendre (double meaning), and striking graphic
devices. The important characters in the book are his father Walter, his mother, his uncle Toby, Toby’s
servant Trim, the chamber maid Susannah, Doctor Slop, Yorick (Sterne’s favorite nom de plume/pen

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 The novel accounts of the four comical mishaps which shaped the course of his life from an early age.
 First: Tristram’s implantation within his mother’s womb was disturbed. His mother asked his father if
he had remembered to wind the clock. The distraction and annoyance led to the disruption of the
proper balance of humors necessary to conceive a well favored child.
 Second: One of his father’s pet theories was that a large and attractive nose was important to a man
making his way in life. In a difficult birth Tristram’s nose was crushed by Dr. Slope’s forceps.
 Third: Another of his father’s theories was that a person’s name exerted enormous influence over that
person’s nature and fortune with worst possible name being Tristram. Tristram’s father decreed that
his boy would receive an especially auspicious name, Tristemegistus but Susannah while conveying the
name to the curate mangled the name and the child was christened Tristram.
 Fourth: As a toddler, Tristram suffered an accidental circumcision when Susannah let a window sash
fall as he urinated out of the window below because his chamber pot was missing. This accident caused
his circumcision.
 A Sentimental Journey to through France and Italy
 Yorick is the protagonist of this novel (narrator also).
 It was a reply to an unsentimental Smollett’s Travels Through France and Italy.


James Macpherson
 He was a Scotch schoolmaster.
 In 1760 he published “Fragments of Ancient Poetry collected in the Highlands”.
 He has written two famous epic poems:
1. Fingal (1762): in 6 books
2. Temora (1763)
 He is known as the “translator” of the Ossian Cycle of Poems.
 But when few critics led by Johnson demanded the original manuscript, Macpherson refused to produce them
and he was branded as a forgery.
 He translated this work from Gaelic language.


Thomas Chatterton
 He was an English poet and forger of pseudo-medieval poetry.
 He wrote his first literary work when he was 12 years old and it was the dialogue of “Elinoure and Juga”.
 Chatterton conceived the romance of Thomas Rowley, and imaginary monk of 15th century and adopted the
pseudonym Thomas Rowley.
 He committed suicide by poison on 24 August 1770.
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 Major Works
1. An Elegy on the much Lamented Death of William Beckford (1770)
2. The Execution of Sir Charles Baldwin (1772)
3. The Poetical Works of Thomas Chatterton
 The oil painting ‘The Death of Chatterton’ which has enjoyed lasting fame is painted by Henry Wallis (Pre-
Raphaelite artist).
 John Keats wrote sonnets “To Chatterton”.
 Keats inscribed ‘Endymion’ to the memory of Thomas Chatterton.


Thomas Percy
 In 1765, he published “Reliques of Ancient English Poetry” (3 vols.)
 Johnson & William Shenstone encouraged Percy to publish Reliques of Ancient English Poetry.
 The most valuable part of this work is the collection of the English and Scottish Ballad as:
 Chevy Chase
 Nut-Brown Maid
 Children of the Wood
 Battle of Otterburn etc.
 Percy wrote another good work “Northern Antiquities” (1770) translated from the French of Mallet’s History
of Denmark.


James Thomson
 He is remembered for three poems:
1. Rule Britannia – It is the national song of England.
2. The Castle of Indolence
3. The Seasons
 His other major work is “The Seasons” (1726-1730). It is written in blank verse.

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Fanny Burney
 Her actual name is Frances Burney but famous with Fanny Burney and after marriage as Madame d’Arblay.
 She was an English novelist, diarist, and playwright.
 Her first entry in her journal was made in 1768 addressed to ‘Miss Nobody’.
 Dr. Johnson called her “his little character monger”.

Important Works
1. Evelina or The History of a Young Lady’s Entrance into the World
 It is a novel by Fanny Burney, published anonymously in 1788.
 It is a 3 volume epistolary novel (sentimental also).
 The protagonist Evelina, daughter of Lady Caroline Belmont. She is deemed “a very pretty modest-
looking girl” by Lord Orville and “angel” by Sir Clement.
 Reverend Arthur Villars is the man who raised Evelina as his own and refers to her as the “child of his
 Sir Clement Willoghby courts Evelina very forwardly. Evelina marry to Lord Orville at the end.
2. Cecilia: Memoirs of an Heiress (1782)
 It is the second novel of Burney set in 1779.
 The novel is about the trials and tribulations of a young upper class woman who must negotiate London
society for the first time and who falls in love with a social superior. It belongs to the genre of the novel
of manners.
3. Camilla: A Picture of Youth (1796)
 It deals with the matrimonial concerns of a group of young people: Camilla Tyrold, and her sisters.
4. The Wanderer or Female Difficulties (1814)
 It is the last novel of Burney. It is a historical novel.
5. Journals and Letters
 It is the diary that she started at the age of 15 until the end of her life.
6. The Witlings


R.B. Sheridan
 Richard Brinsley Butler Sheridan was an Irish playwright and poet.
 He was a longtime owner of Royal Theatre and Drury Lane Theatre London.
 He is known for his plays:
 The Rivals (1775)
 The School for Scandal (1777)

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 The Duenna
 A Trip to Scarborough
 For 32 years he was a Whig member of the British House of Commons.
 In 1758 his family moved permanently to London.
 In 1775 his first play The Rivals was produced at London’s Covent Garden Theatre.
 The Duenna, an opera was jointly composed by Sheridan and his father-in-law Thomas Linley the Elder.
 His most famous play ‘The School for Scandal’ (1777) is considered one of the greatest comedies of manners
in English, followed by The Critic (1779).
 In 1778 Sheridan wrote ‘The Camp’ which commented on the ongoing threat of a French invasion of the
 In 1794 his Drury Lane Theatre was burned down, at the same moment he was caught drinking a glass of
wine. Sheridan famously reported– “A man may surely be allowed to take a glass of wine by his own fireside.”
 In 1816 he died in poverty and was buried in the Poet’s Corner of Westminster Abbey.
 In 1825, an Irish writer Thomas Moore produced his biography as– “Memoirs of the Life of Richard Brinsley

Major Works of Sheridan

1. The Rivals (1775)
 The Rivals is a comedy of manners in 5 acts. It was first performed at Covent Garden Theatre in 1775.
 In this play the term ‘Malapropism’ was coined in referenced to the character Mrs. Malaprop.
 The play is set in Bath in the 18th century. Bath was a town legendary for conspicuous consumption and
fashion. Wealthy and fashionable people went there to “take the waters” which were believed to have
healing properties.
 The Plot centers on the two young lovers Lydia and Jack.
 Lydia, who reads a lot of popular novels of the time, wants a purely romantic love affair.
 To court Lydia, Jack pretends to be “Ensign Beverly”, a poor officer.
 Lydia is enthralled with the idea of eloping with a poor soldier, in spite of the objections of her guardian,
Mrs. Malaprop, a moralistic widow.
 Mrs. Malaprop is the chief comic figure of the play.
 Lydia had two other suitors– Bob Acres and Sir Lucius O’Trigger.
 Sir Lucius pays Lucy (Lydia’s maid) to carry love notes between him and Lydia (who uses the name
Delia), but Lucy is swindling him; Delia is actually Mrs. Malaprop.
 As play opens, Sir Anthony Absolute (a wealthy baronet) arrives suddenly in Bath.
 He has arranged a marriage of Jack but Jack denied saying he was already in love. Later he came to know
that the marriage arranged by Sir Anthony is in fact with Lydia.
 Jack makes a great show of submission to his father Sir Anthony, and is presented to Lydia with Mrs.
Malaprop’s blessing.
 Jack confides to Lydia that he is only posing as Sir Anthony’s son.
 Lydia annoys Mrs. Malaprop by loudly professing her eternal devotion to “Beverley” while rejecting Jack
 Jack’s friend Faulkland is in love with Julia.
 Bob Acres tells Sir Lucius that ‘Beverley’ is courting the lady of his choice (Lydia). Sir Lucius
immediately declares that Acres must challenge ‘Beverley’ to a duel and kill him.
 Acres tells his intent to Jack and he agrees to deliver the duel note to ‘Beverley’.
 Mrs. Malaprop again presents Jack to Lydia but this time with Sir Anthony, exposing Jack’s pose as
 Lydia is enraged by the puncturing of her romantic dreams and spurns Jack contemptuously.
 Sir Lucius learned of the proposed marriage of Jack and Lydia and determines to challenge Jack. He
meets Jack, who smarting from Lydia’s rejection, agrees to fight him without knowing the reason.

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 They plan to meet at the same time as Acres scheduled to fight ‘Beverley’.
 At the dueling ground, Acres is very reluctant to fight but Sir Lucius will have no shirking.
 Jack and Faulkland arrives. Acres learns that ‘Beverley’ is actually his friend Jack and begs off from their
 Jack now is quite willing to fight Sir Lucius and they cross swords.
 David (Bob Acres’ servant) informs Mrs. Malaprop, Lydia, Julia, and Sir Anthony about the duel and the
all rush to stop it.
 Sir Lucius explains the cause of his challenge but Lydia denies any connection to him and admits her love
for Jack.
 Mrs. Malaprop announces that she is Delia. Sir Lucius recoils in horror realizing that he has been
 Sir Anthony consoles Mrs. Malaprop, Julia is reconciled to Faulkland, and Acres invites everyone to a

2. The School for Scandal (1777)

 This play of Sheridan was first performed at Drury Lane Theatre in 1777. It is written in 5 acts.
 Its epilogue is written by George Colman the Elder to be spoken by “Lady Teazle”.
 The concluding line assures the audience that “even scandal dies, if you approve”. It is written in comedy
of manners.

 Lady Sneerwell, who in her youth was the target of slander, has set her life upon a course to reduce the
reputations of other women to the level of her own.
 Sneerwell is aided by her intimate Snake, she intrigues to involve the Teazles in scandal to bring Joseph
Surface’s true character to light, to wreck the love between Charles and Maria, and gain Charles for herself
along with Sir Oliver’s fortune.
 To Lady Sneerwell the world consists of nothing but scandal and scandalous intrigues, and she does her
best to make her vision a reality.
 She is not successful, however, when she abuses Charles Surface to Sir Peter Teazle’s ward Maria, who
refuses to listen to her.
 Sir Peter Teazle ponders the wisdom of his marriage to his young wife Lady Teazle doubting the judgment
of being an old bachelor.
 Sir Oliver Surface is concerned about his two nephews.
 One day Sir Peter and Lady Teazle quarrel because Sir Peter violently objects to her attendance at the
home of Lady Sneerwell.
 At the end of the play Charles gets the hand of Maria and his uncle’s inheritance as well.
 Lady Sneerwell is exposed by Snake who is paid double to speak the truth.
 Lady Teazle returns her diploma to the school for scandal, of which Lady Sneerwell is the president.
 Everyone is happy except Lady Sneerwell and Joseph Surface.
3. St. Patrick Day: The Scheming Lieutenant
4. The Duenna (1775)
5. A Trip to Scarborough – based on Vanbrugh’s ‘The Relapse’ (1696)
6. The Camp
7. The Critic: A Tragedy Rehearsed (1779)
8. The Glorious First of June
9. Pizzaro
10. Clio’s Protest (Written–1771, Published–1819)

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Age of Romanticism
(1798 – 1850)
Characteristics of the Age of Romanticism
 Romanticism is the name of a dominant movement in literature and other arts particularly music and
painting in the period from 1798 – 1850.
 The main feature of this age is importance of self expression and individual feeling. It emphasises the truth
of imagination rather than scientific truth.
 Shelley was an atheist while Wordsworth was Pantheist (God is in everything).
 Thomas Chatterton is considered as first romantic poet in English.
 The German critic Friedrich Schlegel is said to have been the first to use the term “Romantics” for
describing school of poets and writers opposed to the classics.
 “Wordsworth” is known as – Poet of Nature

 “Coleridge” as – Super-natural poet

 “Byron” as – Poet of Humanism
 “Shelley” as – Poet of Love
 “Keats” as – Poet of Beauty
 “Scott” as – Poet of Medieval Love
 War of Peterloo occoured in 1819.
 F. L. Lucas gave 11,396 definition of Romanticism in “The Decline and Fall of Romantic Ideal”.
 Victor Hugo’s called Romanticism as “liberalism in literature”.
 Goethe said “Romanticism is disease, classicism is Health”


William Wordsworth
(1770 – 1850)
 He was a major English romantic poet, who along with S. T. Coleridge helped to launch Romantic age in
English literature with their joint publication of lyrical ballads in 1798.
 Wordsworth’s ‘Magnum Opus’ in considered to be “The Prelude”, a semi-autobiographical poem of his
early years. It was posthumously titled and published but before it was called “The Poem to Coleridge”.
 He was 2nd among the 5 children born to John Wordsworth and Ann Cookson on 7 Apr 1770, in Lake
 His sister Dorothy Wordsworth was also a poet and diarist.
 Wordsworth’s father was a legal representative of James Lowther, 1st earl of Lonsdale.
 Wordsworth made his debut as a writer in 1787 when he published a sonnet in the European Magazine
when he began attending St. John’s college, Cambridge for his graduation.
 In 1791 he visited Revolutionary France and there he fell in love with ‘Annette Vallon’ who gave birth to
his daughter ‘Caroline’.

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 He could not marry her as he returned to England in lack of money. Later he married Mary Hutchinson.
 He wrote a sonnet “It’s a Beautius Evening, Calm and Free” recalling a seaside walk with 9 year old
 The year 1793 saw the publication of poems by him in the collections “An Evening Walk” and
“Descriptive Sketches”.
 In 1795 he met Coleridge.
 In 1798 Wordsworth and Coleridge together published Lyrical Ballads.
 None of the writers had the name on the first publication of Lyrical Ballads.
 In the first edition (1798) were Wordsworth’s Tintern Abbey and Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient
Mariner. It starts with Mariner and ends with Tintern Abbey.
 The second edition was published in 1800, and it listed Wordsworth as an author and included a preface
to the poem.
 In the preface he has used “Real language of man rather than 18th century verse”.
 Between 1795-97 his only play “The Boarders, A Verse Tragedy” set during the reign of Henry III of
 He wrote number of famous poems including “The Lucy Poems”. It is a collection of 5 poems which are

Strange Fits of Passion have I Known

She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways

I Travelled among Unknown Men

Three Years She Grew in Sun and Shower

A Slumber did My Spirit Seal.
 He wrote “The Prelude” when he was in Germany with Coleridge and Dorothy.
 Finally Wordsworth along with Southy and Coleridge settled in Lake district and thus called Lake Poets.
 He planned to write a larger philosophical poem called “The Recluse” so he wrote “Poem to Coleridge”
to make an appendix of “The Recluse”.
 ‘Poem to Coleridge’ is referred as the first version of ‘The Prelude’ completed in 1805.
 He has also written a shorter work “Line Written above Tintern Abbey”.
 In 1807, Wordsworth published “Poems in Two Volumes” including “Ode: Intimation of Immortality
from Recollections of Early Childhood”.
 In 1814 Wordsworth published “The Excursion” as the 2 of three part work of “The Recluse” and even

though he had not completed first and third part ever in his life.
 He wrote a poetic prospectus to “The Recluse”.
 London, 1802 is addressed to Milton.
 In 1838, Wordsworth received an honorary doctorate in Civil Law.
 In 1842 he was awarded a civil list pension of £300, a year.
 After the death of Southy in 1843, he became Poet Laureate
 He became the only poet laureate to write no official verses.
 After death he was buried at St. Oswald Church, Grasmere.
 His wife Mary Hutchinson published his lengthy autobiographical poem “The Prelude” after his death in
 The Prelude is also called “Growth of Poet’s Mind”.
 “Grasmere Journal” is written by Dorothy Wordsworth.
 Browning and Hazlitt called Wordsworth “A Lost Leader”.
 Wordsworth is called giant of English poetry by J. C. Ransom.
 Wordsworth wrote 523 sonnets.
 In an 1817 review of Coleridge’s Biographia Literaria, Francis Jeffrey coined the term “Lake school of
poets” indicating Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southy as Lake Poets.

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 In 1802 Wordsworth praised Milton’s sonnet for the – “energetic and varied flow of sound crowding into
narrow room more of the combined effect of rhyme and blank verse that can be done by any other kind
of verse that I know of.”

Major Works of Wordsworth

1. Lyrical Ballads (1798)
2. Lines Composed A Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey
3. Lyrical Ballads along with Preface to Lyrical Ballads (1800)
4. Lucy Grey (Lucy Poems) or Solitude
a. It is a collection of 5 poems.
5. Poems in Two Volumes (1802).
6. "The World Is Too Much with Us" is a sonnet by Wordsworth. In it, he criticises the world of the First
Industrial Revolution for being absorbed in materialism and distancing itself from nature. Composed in
1802, the poem was first published in Poems, in Two Volumes(1807). Like most Italian sonnets, its 14
lines are written in iambic pentameter.
7. I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, also called Daffodils (1807, Poem in 2 vols).
8. Ode: Intimation of Immortality
9. The Solitary Reaper (1804, Poems in 2 Vols)
a. “The world is too much with us”
10. London, 1802 (1807, Poems in 2 Vols)
11. To The Cuckoo
12. The Excursion (1814) (written in 9 books)
13. The Prelude (1850): in 14 books, autobiographical
14. The Boarderers (only play): verse tragedy – 1842
15. Michael: (a pastoral poem) a part of Lyrical Ballads 1800 edition
16. Descriptive Sketches
17. My Heart Leaps up When I Behold (1807, Poems in 2 Vols)
18. Repentance: A Pastoral Ballad
19. Ode to Duty (1807, Poems in 2 Vols)
20. To a Skylark
21. The Recluse
22. Laodamia (1815, 1845)
23. Peter Bell (1819)
24. Guide to the Lakes (1810)
25. Elegiac Stanzas (1807, Poems in 2 Vols)
26. Resolution and Independence (1807, Poems in 2 Vols)
27. The Leechgatherer: Resolution and Independence
28. ‘Nuts Fret Not at their Convert’s Narrow Room’. (Prefatory sonnet, 1802) Petrarchan sonnet
a. Rhyme scheme – ABBA ABBA CDD CCD
b. Also called ‘Sonnet upon sonnet’
29. The Tables Turned (1798, Published in Lyrical Ballads)

Criticism on Wordsworth
i. Mathew Arnold referred Wordsworth as –
“He is not fully recognised at home: he is not recognised at all abroad. Yet I firmly believe that, the
poetical poem of Wordsworth is, after that of Shakespeare and Milton, undoubtedly most
considerable in our language.”
ii. John Keats called him – “Egoistic Sublime”.
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iii. Tennyson called Wordsworth –
“He has uttered nothing base”.
iv. Browning on Wordsworth: “Moral Eunuch”.
v. Shelley criticised Wordsworth – “Simple and dull”.
vi. Hardy on Wordsworth –
“William Wordsworth has a deep influence on Thomas Hardy. According to Hardy, “The
Leechgatherer” by Wordsworth was his “best cure for despair”.
vii. William Hazlitt – “Wordsworth was not a truly great poet and the spoil child of disappointment”.

Lyrical Ballads
(1798 & 1800)
 It contains total 23 poems, 19 by Wordsworth & 4 by Coleridge
 Lyrical Ballad, with a few other poems is a collection of poems by Wordsworth and Coleridge published
in 1798.
 Most of the poems of Lyrical Ballads were written by Wordsworth while Coleridge contributed only 5
including “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” (Qty – 4 in the first edition and one in the second.)
 The second edition appeared in 1800 along with Preface to Lyrical Ballads in two volumes.
 Another edition was published in 1802.
 Wordsworth added an Appendix titled “Poetic Diction” in which he expanded the ideas set forth in ‘the
Preface’ in edition of 1802.
 French revolution had a greater influence on Lyrical Ballads.
 The poem “The Convict” (by Wordsworth) was there in 1798 edition but was omitted in 1800 edition and
added Love (by Coleridge).
 In the Preface, Wordsworth claims that “the rigid aesthetics of Neo-classical poetry are arbitrary and
distort the freedom and naturalness of poetic expression”.
 The 1798 edition has a short “Advertisement” as an introduction to ascertain how far the language of
conversation in the middle and lower class of society is adapted for the purpose of poetic pleasure.
 In Lyrical Ballads Wordsworth said –
“Poetry is the breath and a finer spirit of all knowledge”.
 The Preface is also called Manifesto of Romantism.

Works Contributed by Coleridge in Lyrical Ballads

 The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
 It remained in all four editions of Lyrical Ballads i.e. 1798, 1800, 1802 and 1805.
 The Foster Mother Tale
 It is a dramatic fragment from Coleridge’s 1797 play ‘Osorio’ called Foster-Mother Tale

 The Nightingle
 It is included in 1798 edition.
 The Dungeon
 Love
 It was added in 1800 edition, and “The Convict” by Wordsworth was omitted.
 ‘Michael’, ‘Ruth’ and ‘The Brothers’ are the poems that appeared in the 1800 edition of Lyrical Ballads.
 In this work Wordsworth gave his famous definition of poetry –
“Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerfull feelings; it takes it’s origin from emotion recollected
in tranquility”.
 Wordsworth stated the purpose in publishing ‘The Lyrical Ballads’ in his preface as –

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“To choose incidents from common life and to relate or describe them thoughout as far as possible in
a selection of language really used by men.”
Quotes from Lyrical Ballads
i) “Nature Never did betray
a. The heart that loved her”.

ii) “Rest and be thankful”.

iii) “Come grow old with me. The best is yet to be”.
iv) “Bliss it was in that Dawn to be alive
a. but to be young was very heaven”.

Other Quotations by Wordsworth

i) “The child is the father of man; and I could wish my days to be bound each to each by natural piety.
– My Heart Leaps Up When I behold
ii) My heart leaps up when I behold a rainbow in the sky.
– My heart leaps up when I behold
v) “The poet binds together by passion and knowledge the vast empire on human society”.
vi) “The flower that smells the sweetest is shy and lowly”.
vii) “All things that love the sun are out of doors.”
viii) “Poetry is the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge, it is the impassioned expression which is the
countenance of all science”.

Preface to Lyrical Ballads

 It is an essay composed by Wordsworth published in second edition in Jan 1801 (often called 1800
edition) of Lyrical Ballads.
 The essay’s opening lines: –
“The first volume of these poems has already been submitted to general persual. It was published as an
experiment, which I hoped might be of some use to ascertain, how far, by fitting to metrical arrangement a
selection of the real language of men in a state of a vivid sensation, that short of pleasure and that quantity
of pleasure may be imparted which a poet may rationally endeavour to impart.”
 The preface was written to explain the theory of poetry guiding Wordsworth’s composition of the poems.
 Wordsworth defends the unusual style and subjects of the poems as experiments to see how far popular
poetry could be used to convey profound feeling.
 Here Wordsworth defines his aesthetic as –
“I have therefore altogether declined to enter regularly upon this defence.”
 In preface he discusses his ideas of what the poet is?, what the poetry is?, and most importantly what the
language of poetry is?.
 Wordsworth first implies that ‘a poet is one who arranges language expressing ideas in metrical form. This
language he arranges is in a state of vivid sensation’.
 Wordsworth also tells about What a poet is not. He says that anti-poets think that “they become honoured
poets this way but really only ‘furnish food’ for poor taste that has no solid bearings and is ‘fickle’”.
 Regarding poetry, Wordsworth implies that poetry is in part a matter of what is customary. Poetry is the
spontaneous overflow of powerfull feelings, it takes its origin from emotion recollected into tranquility.

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 According to Wordsworth – Poetic language is the language of common people speaking everyday
expressions and expressing everyday sensations of rural people in an idealised rural life.
Ode: Intimations of Immortality (1807)
 “Ode: Intimation of Immortality from Recollection of Early Childhood” is a poem by Wordsworth
Completed in 1804 but published in 1807 in Poems in Two Volumes.
 The poem was completed in 2 parts.
 The first part of the poem was completed in 1802 and a copy was provided to Coleridge who responded it
with his own poem Dejection: An Ode as well as “Resolution and Independence”.
 The poem is in irregular Pindaric Ode in 11 stanzas that combines aspects of Coleridge’s conversation
poems, the religious sentiments of the Bible and the works of St. Augustine and aspects of the elegiac and
apocalyptic traditions.
 Last lines:
“Thanks to human heart by which we live
thanks to its tenderness, its joys and fears,
To me the meanest flower that blows can give,
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.”
The Prelude
 The Prelude or Growth of a Poets Minds: An Autobiographical Poem is a conversation poem in blank
 It is an extremely personal and riveling work on the details of Wordsworth’s life.
 He began to work on ‘The Prelude’ in 1798 and continued to work on it throughout his life.
 On a letter to Dorothy he referred to it as “The poem on the growth of my own mind.”
 Initially Wordsworth titled it – Poem to Coleridge
 It contains 14 books. The first version appeared in 1805.
 Book 1 is about “Introduction: Childhood and School Time”, Book 2 – “School Time” (contd); Book 3 –
‘Residence at Cambridge’, Book 4 – Summer Vacation, Book 5 – ‘Books’, Book 6 – Cambridge and the
Alps, Book 7 – Residence in London, Book 8 – Retrospect: Love of Nature Leading to Love of Man,
Book 9 – Residence in France, Book 10 – The Residence in France (contd), Book 11 – France
(concluded), Book 12 – Imagination and Taste: How impaired and restored, Book 13- Imagination …
(concluded), Book 14 – Conclusion.
 In the Prelude, there is a description of Cambridge university.
 Famous Quote –
“Bliss was in it that down to be alive, but to be young was very heaven”.
 Wordsworth coined the famous phrase “Spots of time” in The Prelude (in Book 12) as –
“There are in our existence spots of time that with distinct pre-eminence retain a renovating virtue,
whence, depressed…”
 In Prelude there is an appearance of Boy of Winander who is affected by Muteness in Book 5, ‘Books’ –
“There was a boy; ye know him well, ye Cliffs
And Island of Winander”! – many a time

At evening, when the earliest star began…

Blew mimic hootings to the silent owls.
 In the above lines it is clear that the boy of Winander is suffering of muteness. This boy is actually a dwarf
(tiny) man.
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 First version of Prelude in 2 books – 1799
Second version in 13 books – 1805
Third version in 14 books – 1850
Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tindern Abbey
“For nature then
The Curser pleasures of my boyish days
And their glad animal movements all gone by
to me was all in all.”
 In the above lines Wordsworth is talking about both first and second stage in his relationship with nature.
 Full title – “Lines Written a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during
a tour, July 13, 1798”

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
(1772 – 1834)
 He was an English poet, literary critic and philosopher who with his friend Wordsworth was a founder of
the Romantic movement.
 He was one among ‘Lake poets’. This term was coined by Francis Jeffrey in 1817.
 He wrote the poems “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and “Kubla Khan” as well as a prose work
“Biographia Literaria”.
 He helped in introducing German Idealists philosophy to English speaking culture.
 Coleridge coined the term “Willing Suspension of Disbelief”.
 Throughout his ‘adult stage’, he had crippling bouts of anxiety and depression. He had bipolar disorder.
 He was an Opium addict.
 He wrote about his loneliness at school in the poem “Frost at Midnight”.
 In March 1796, Coleridge published a journal “The Watchmen”, to be printed every 8 days to avoid a
weekly newspaper ‘Tax’. But in May in the same year it was ceased.
 Coleridge wrote 48 sonnets.
 His conversation poems (It’s a group of 8 poems) are: –
 The Lime Tree Bower
 Frost at Midnight
 The Nightangle, etc.
 He translated the dramatic triology “Wallenstein” of German poet Friedrich Schiller.
 Coleridge wrote his ballad poem ‘Love’ addressed to Sara Hutchinson who is the sister of Mary
Hutchinson (wife of Wordsworth).
 In 1809, Coleridge again published a journal entitled “The Friend”.
 Coleridge gave a series of lectures in London and Bristol, those on Shakespeare.
 In 1817 he wrote Biographia Literaria.
 Lord Byron, William Hazlitt and Wordsworth are Coleridge companion in a fanciful scheme to establish
a Utopian community of free love in the bank of Susquehanna river.
 The term psycho-somatic was coined by Coleridge.
 Coleridge introduced Christabel meters, the octosyllabic couplet, and full of skillful and rhythmic
 Coleridge is also referred as “High Priest of Romanticism”.

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 Coleridge said that he had “a smack of Hamlet in himself”.
 He used the phrase “the high road of life”.
 ‘Motiveless Malignity’ is a phrase used by Coleridge for ‘Iago’ in Othello.
 Coleridge wrote a review of Anne Radcliffe’s “The Mad Monk”.

German Idealist: It was a philosophical movement emerged in Germany in late 18 and early 19 th th

century. The most notable thinkers of the movement were:

Friedrich Schelling
Friedrich Hegel, etc.

Willing Suspension of Disbelief:

 This term was coined by Coleridge in 1817.
 It means suspending one’s own critical faculties and believe the unbelievable or sacrifice of realism and
logic for the sake of enjoyment (eg. watching circus).
 Through in this term he suggested that if a writer could infuse a “human interest and a similar truth” into
a fantastic tale, the reader would suspend judgement concerning the validity of the narrative.
 Cognitive estrangement in fiction involves using a person’s ignorance or lack of knowledge to promote
suspension of the disbelief.
 For example, In a circus an audience is not expected to actually believe that a woman is cut in half.
Definition of Primary and Secondary Imagination by Coleridge
 According to Coleridge, Imagination has three forms (mentioned in Chapter 13):

 Primary
 Secondary
 Fancy
 Primary Imagination: It is the power of receiving impressions of the external world through senses. It is
perceiving the object of sense both in their part and as whole. The primary imagination is universal and it
is possessed by all.
 The Secondary Imagination: This imagination may be possessed by others but it is peculiar and distinctive
of the artist. It requires an effort of the will volition and conscious effort. It works upon what is perceived
by the primary imagination. It’s raw material is the sensation and impressions supplied by the primary
 This definition of imagination is given by Coleridge in his Biographia Literaria.
 In ‘Biographia Literaria’ Coleridge wrote that –
“The PRIMARY imagination I hold to be the living power and prime agent of all human perception, and
as a repeatition in the finite mind of the eternal act of creation in the infinite I AM.”

 When the human minds receives impressions involuntarily and unconsciously then it is primary
imagination, while secondary imagination requires consciousness so it is the root of all poetical activity.
 Coleridge called secondary imagination a magical cynthatic power.
 Coleridge on secondary imagination: –
“The secondary imagination I consider as an echo of the former (primary imagination) co-existing with the
conscious will yet still as identical with primary in the kind of its agency, and differing only in degree, and
in the mode of operation. It dissolves, diffuses, dissipates, in order to recreate or where this process is
rendered impossible, yet still at all events it struggles to idealise and unify. It is essentially vital, even as all
objects are essentially fixed and dead.”

Imagination & Fancy (from Chapter 13 of Biographia Literaria)

 Coleridge has described the difference between imagination and fancy in his Biographia Literaria (1817).
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 Imagination and fancy are the activities of two different kind.
 Fancy is not a creative power at all. It only combines what is perceived into beautiful shapes, but like
imagination it does not fuse and unify.
 The difference between the two is same as the difference between a mechanical mixture and a chemical
compound. In a mechanical mixture, a number of ingredients are brought together, they are mixed up but
they doesn’t lose their individual property, they still exist as separate identities.
 While imagination is a chemical compound, the different ingredients are combined to form a new
compound. The different ingredients no longer exist as separate identities. They loose their respective
properties and fuse together to create something new and entirely different.
 Fancy is not creative. It brings together the images that continue to retain their separate and individual
 Fancy is the absence of imagination, it is just reconfiguring already existing things or ideas.
 Coleridge on Fancy – “Fancy on the contrary, has no other counters to play with but fixities and definities.
The fancy is indeed no other than a mode of Memory emancipated from the order of time and space
while it is blended with, and modified by that empirical phenomenon of the will which we express by the
word CHOICE. But equally with the ordinary memory the Fancy must receive all its materials ready made
from the law of association.”

 Coleridge coined the term ‘ESEMPLASTIC’ to describe “power of poetic imagination” in Biographia
Literaria. This is a power synthetic in nature higher than fancy, effecting a fusion of the rational with the
magical or supernatural.
 Esemplastic derived from Greek that means “to shape”. Coleridge explained that it referred to the
imagination ability. “To shape into one, having to convey a new sense”
 Coleridge describes a organic form as “innate” he says that –
“The organic form is ‘innate’; it shapes as it develops itself from within and the fullness of its development
is one and the same with perfection of its outward form.”

Major Works of Coleridge

i) Lyrical Ballads (1798)
ii) The Statesman’s Manual or The Bible the best guide to political skill and foresight: A Lay Sesman (1816)
iii) Christabel (1816)
iv) Kubla Khan: A Vision (1816)
v) The Pains of Sleep (1816)
vi) Biographia Literaria (1817)
vii) Aids to Reflection in the Formation of A Manley Character.
viii) Confession of an Inquiring Spirit.
ix) Hints Towards the Formation of more Comprehensive Theory of Life (1848)
x) Seven Lectures upon Shakespeare and Milton (1850)
xi) Frost at Midnight
xii) Asra Poems
xiii) ‘Osorio’ is a tragedy in blank verse by S. T. Coleridge in 1797 but could not be performed due to rejection
by Drury Lane Theatre. Coleridge revised it and recast the play 16 years later with the new title –
xiv) France: an Ode
xv) Conversation Poems (Total 8 Poems)
xvi) Dejection: an Ode
xvii) It is originally a verse letter to ‘Sara Hutchinson’ a woman with whom Coleridge was desperately in love.

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Criticism on Coleridge

 According to T. S. Eliot
“Perhaps the greatest of English critics, and in a sense that last.”
 Charles Lamb called Coleridge “A Damaged Archangel”.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
 The Rime of The Ancient Mariner is the longest major poem by Coleridge written in 1797-98 and
published in 1798 in the first edition of Lyrical Ballads.
 It is written in VII parts. It has total 625 lines.

 An old ancient mariner (he is unnaturally old, with skinny, deeply tanned limbs and glittering eyes), stops a
wedding guest who is on his way to a wedding reception with two companions and starts narrating his story.
 They try to resist the Mariner but Mariner compels them to listen to his wonderful tale.
 Mariner starts his tale as a narrator.
 One day when he was young, he set sails with two hundred other sailors from his native land.
 The day was sunny and all were in cheer mood until the ship reached equator.
 Suddenly a terrible storm hit and drove the ship southwards into a “rime” – a strange icy patch of ocean.
 The towering, echoing “rime” was bewildering until an albatross appeared out of the mist.
 Albatross flew alongside the ship and helped the sailor to sail towards a safe place; however the ancient
mariner shot and killed the albatross.
 Suddenly the wind ceased and the ship was stagnant on the ocean.
 The other sailors alternately blamed the mariner for making the wind die and praised him for making the
strange mist disappear.
 The things start getting worse, the sun became hot and there was no drinkable water in the mid of ocean.
(“Water, water everywhere not a drop to drink”)
 The sailors went dumb from their thrust and sunburned lips.
 They hung the Albatross around the Marine’s neck, as a symbol of his sin.
 After a painful while, a ship appeared on the Horizon, and the Mariner bites his arm and sucked the
blood so that he could cry out to the other sailors.
 The ship was strange, it sailed without wind.
 When the ship neared, the Ancient Mariner could see that it was a ghost ship manned by death in the
form of a man and life-in-death in the form of a beautiful naked woman.
 They were gambling for the ancient Mariner soul.
 Life-in-death won the Mariner’s soul, and other sailors were left to die.
 The sky went black immediately as the ghost ship sped away.
 Suddenly all of the sailors cursed the ancient mariner with their eyes and dropped dead on the deck.
 Their souls zoomed out of their bodies, taunting the Ancient Mariner with a sound like that of his
 The Mariner drifted on the ocean in this company unable to prey.
 One night he noticed some beautiful water snakes. Watching these creatures brought him unprecedented
joy and he blessed them without meaning.
 When he was finally able to prey, the Albatross fell from his neck and sank into the sea.
 He could finally sleep and dreamed of water.
 When he awoke, it was raining, and an awesome thunderstorm began.
 He drank his fill and the ship began to sail in the wind direction.
 The dead sailors awoke and sailed the ship without speaking.

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 Once the ship reached equator again, the ship shook abruptly and Mariner fell unconscious.
 In his swoon, he heard two voices discussing his fate, that he would continue to be punished for killing
Albatross who was loved by a spirit, and then they disappeared.
 When the mariner awoke, the dead sailors were grouped together all cursing him with their eyes, but
suddenly they disappeared.
 The Ancient Mariner spotted his native country shore and he was overjoyed to see a Pilot, his boy, and a
Hermit rowing a small boat out of the ship.
 He planned to ask the Hermit to absolve him of his sin, but Mariner’s ship was sunk in a vortex in the
 The rescuers pulled the Mariner out of the water and thought him to be dead.
 They all sailed the boat but the Pilot and Pilot’s boy lost their mind.
 The hermit asked the Mariner, what kind of man he was, then he told his entire tell to the Hermit.
 The Mariner tells the wedding guest that he wanders country to country to tell his tale.
 After he tells the story he is temporarily relieved of agony.
 He tells the wedding guest that “the best way to become close with god is ‘to respect all of his creatures
because he loves them all’”
 He then vanishes.
 The wedding guest is stunned and returns home instead of going to the wedding. He awakes the next day
sadder and wiser for having heard Mariner’s tale.
Quotations from Rime of the ancient Mariner
 “Water, water everywhere,
and all the boards did shrink.
Water, water everywhere,
nor a drop to drink”.
 “Day after day, day after day
we stuck, nor breadth, nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
upon a painted ocean”.
 “He prayth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small
For the dear god who loveth us
He made and loveth all”.
 “Alone, alone, all, all, alone,
Alone on a wide wide sea!
And a never a Saint took pity on
My soul in agony”.
 “The fair breeze blew
the white foam flew
and the furrow followed free,
We were the first that ever burst into the Silent sea”.
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 In above lines, the poet states that after killing the albatross, the weather became favorable for
sailing their ship in the sea. The breeze started blowing and the sails were raised which helped the
ship to sail in the forward motion as they entered the silent sea. The word ‘furrow’ here describes
the motion of the ship and indicates that the ship was sailing by making a trail in the sea.

Kubla Khan: A Vision in Dream

 Kubla Khan or A Vision in Dream is a poem by Coleridge written in 1797 but published in 1816.
 According to ‘Preface’ of Kubla Khan the poem was composed one night after he experienced an Opium
influenced dream after reading a work describing Xanadu, the summer palace of Mongol ruler and
Emperor of China, Kublai Khan, i.e. Purcha’s Pilgrimage.
 Upon waking he set for writing but he was interrupted by a person from Porlock (for business discussion),
thus he forgot the lines.
 At the prompting of Lord Byron it was published in 1816.
 He wrote this poem under the influence of Purcha’s Pilgrimage.
 It is subtitled ‘Fragment’.
 The poem is originally in two stanzas.
 The first stanza of the poem describes Khan’s pleasure dome built alongside a sacred river fed by a
powerful fountain.
 In the second stanza there is narrator’s response to the power and effects of an Abyssinian maid’s song.
 It is written in 54 lines.
 The poem begins with a fanciful description of Kublai Khan’s capital Xanadu placed near the river Alph.
 In the poem Kubla Khan hears voices of the dead and refers to a vague war that appears to be
unreferenced elsewhere in the poem.
 The narrator turns prophetic, referring to a vision of an unidentified “Abyssinian maid” who sings of
“Mount Abora”.
 It starts with: –
“In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
a stately pleasure dome decree
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.”
 It is a long narrative poem by Coleridge in 2 parts, the first written in 1797 and the second in 1800.
 He had planned 3 additional parts but not completed.
 Coleridge prepared first two parts to be included in “Lyrical Ballads” but on the suggestion of
Wordsworth it was left.
 It was published in a pamphlet in 1816.

 The story concerns a central female character “Christabel” who encounter with a stranger Geraldine, who
claims to have been abducted from her home by a band of rough man.
 Christabel goes into the wood to prey by the large Oak tree where she hears a strange noise.
 While looking behind the tree she finds Geraldine who says that she has been abducted from her home
by men on horseback.
 Christabel pities her and takes back Geraldine to her home.
 Supernatural signs (as a dog barking, a mysterious flame on a dead fire) seem to indicate all was not well.

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 They spend nights together but while Geraldine undresses she shows a terrible but undefined mark
“Behold! Her bosom and half her side – /A sight to dream of not to tell!/ And she is to sleep by
 Her father Sir Leoline becomes enchanted with Geraldine ordering a grand procession to announce her
 The poem was published in the collection of three poems in 1816:
 Christabel
 Kubla Khan: A Vision
 The Pains of Sleep
 The poem starts with: –
“Tis the middle of night by the Castle clock
And the owls have awakened the crowing cock
Tu– Whit! Tu Whoo.”
Frost at Midnight
 It is a poem by Coleridge written in 1798 as part of the conversation poems.
 The poem discusses Coleridge’s childhood experience in a negative manner and emphasizes the need to
be raised in the countryside.
 Poem expresses hope that Coleridge’s son Hartley would be able to experience a childhood that his father
could not and become a true child of nature.
Biographia Literaria
 Biographia Literaria is also called Biographical Sketches of My Literary Life and Opinions.
 It is an autobiography in discourse by S. T. Colerigde, published in 2 volumes written in 1817.
 It has 23 chapters.
 Chapter XIV is the origin of the famous critical concept “Willing Suspension of Disbelief”.
 Coleridge discarded the mechanical system for the belief that mind is not an active agency in the
apprehension of reality.
 He believed in the self-sufficing power of absolute genius and talent as between “an egg and an eggshell”.
 The book has numerous essays on Philosophy. In particular, it discusses and engages the Philosophy of
Immanuel Kant, Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling.
 Later Chapters deals with the nature of poetry and with the question of diction raised by Wordsworth.
 Important Quote – “Now it is clear to me, that in the most interesting of the poems, in which the author is
more or less dramatic as ‘The Brothers’, ‘Michael’, ‘Ruth’, ‘The Mad Mother and Others’, the person
introduced are by no means taken from low or rustic life in the new common acceptance of those words.”
 In these lines, Coleridge is contradicting the statement of Lyrical Ballads with these poems.

Charles Lamb
(1775 – 1834)
 He was born in London.
 He was an English writer and essayist best known for his Essays of Elia and for the children books “Tales
from Shakespeare” which he produced with his sister Mary Lamb (1764 – 1847).

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 He tried his hand in poetry, romance and drama as well. His friend William Godwin promoted him to
write Tales from Shakespeare.
 He wrote a poem in 1798 called Blank Verse along with Charles Lloyd.
 His father was a lawyer’s clerk.
 Charles Lamb worked in accountant’s office for British East India Company for 25 years.
 Rosamund Grey is the story of a young man named Allen Clare who loves Rosamund Grey but their
relationship comes to nothing because of sudden death for Miss Grey.
 Both Charles and Mary suffered a period of mental illness.
 Mary’s illness was the strongest in which she stabbed her mother (in 1796) in rage and admitted in a
mental hospital Fisher House.
 Charles wrote a letter to Coleridge about matricide in 1796, because he counted Coleridge as his best
 Lamb’s first publication was in 1796 when 4 sonnets by “Charles Lamb of India House” appeared in
Coleridge’s poems on various subject.
 His tragedy John Woodwil was published in 1802.
 His farce Mr. H. was performed at Drury Lane in 1807.
 In 1807, ‘Tales from Shakespeare’ was published in which Charles Lamb wrote tragedies while Mary
wrote comedies.
 Charles Lamb never married in his life.
 His collected essays were published in 1823 under the title “Essays of Elia”
 Lamb used the pen name Elia as a contributor to London Magazine.
 Essays of Elia was criticized by Robert Southy in Quarterly Review entitled “The Progress of Infidelity”.
 ‘The Last Essays of Elia’ was published in 1833.
 Coleridge called Lamb ‘the general hearted Lamb’
 Lamb wrote a letter of Matricide to Coleridge
 The principal biographer of Lamb was E. V. Lucas.
 Lamb first fell in love with Ann Simmons.
 In Juvenile Library William Godwin contributed with Lamb.
 ‘The South Sea House’ is the first essay in Essays of Elia. In this essay he used the pseudonym Elia for
himself whereas Mary Lamb appears as Cousin Bridget
 Lamb composed a poem “A Farewell to Tobacco”.
 Lamb spoke his father under the name of ‘Lovel’.
 In his essay ‘Elia on the Old Benches’ he created a portrait of his father.

Major Works of Charles Lamb

1. Essays of Elia
It includes: –
(i) The Two Races of Man
(ii) Mrs. Bottle’s Opinion on Whist
(iii) My First Play
(iv) Sanity of True Genius
(v) Confession of a Drunkard
(vi) A Bachelor’s Complaint of the Behaviour of Married People etc.
(vii) Dream Children a Reverie
2. A Tale of Rosamund Grey (1798)
3. Poor Blind Margret
4. Blank Verse
5. John Woodwil (Poetic drama)

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6. Mr. H.
7. Tales from Shakespeare (1807)
8. The Adventures of Ulysses
9. Specimens of English Dramatic Poets Who Lived about the Time of Shakespeare
10. On the Tragedies of Shakespeare
11. Witches and Other Night Fears


Leigh Hunt
(1784 – 1859)
 James Henery Leigh Hunt is commonly known as Leigh Hunt.
 He was an English critic, essayist, poet and writer.
 His poems were published under the title Juvenilia.
 In 1807 he wrote for newspaper and published a volume of theatre criticism, and a series of classic tales,
with critical essays on authors.
 Hunt’s early essays were published by Edward Quin, editor and owner of ‘The Traveller’.
 In 1808 he became editor of a newspaper, founded by his brother John Hunt, ‘The Examiner’.
 In 1813, through his newspaper he attacked Prince Regent which resulted in prosecution and a sentence
of two years.
 A number of essays were written between 1814 & 1817 in “The Examiner” under the series titled “The
Round Table”, published in 2 volumes, in 1817.
 12 essays were by Hunt
 40 essays were by Hazlitt
 In 1810-11 he edited a quarterly magazine “The Reflector”. In this he wrote “The Feast of the Poets”
which offended many contemporary poets.
 In 1819-21 Hunt edited “The Indicator” a weekly magazine published by Joseph Appleyard.
 In 1816, he made a mark in English by publishing “Story of Rimini” based on the tragic episode of
Francesca da Rimini told in Dante’s Inferno.
 In 1818 appeared a collection of poems entitled “Foliage”.
 In 1819 appeared Hero and Leander, Bacchus and Ariadne.
 He published a book “Poetical Works” that contains his two works:
 The Story of Rimini
 The descent of Liberty
 He had a group named Hunt circle or Cocony School. It includes: –
 Leigh Hunt
 John Keats
 William Hazlitt
 P. B. Shelley
 Charles Lamb
 Bryan Procter
 John Hamilton Reynolds
 Walter Coulson
 C. W. Dilke
 Charles Cowden Clarke

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 Some popular Hunt’s poems are: –
 Jenny Kiss’d Me
 Abou Ben Adhem
 A Night Rain in Summer
 In 1828 he published “Lord Byron and Some of His Contemporaries”.
 He also wrote ‘London Journal’
 He also edited “Monthly Repository”
 In 1818, Tory Blackwood Magazine called him “the meanest, the filthiest and the most vulgar of Cockney
 The original title of his poem ‘Jenny Kissed Me’ is Rondeau.
 ‘The Story of Rimini’ is based on the tragic episode of ‘Francesca da Rimini’.


Thomas De Quincy
(1785 – 1859)
 Thomas Penson De-Quincy was an English essayist best known for his Confessions of an English Opium
Eater (1821)
 De-Quincy inaugurated ‘Addiction Literature’ in England.
 He was a son of a merchant.
 He was born in Manchester, England.
 After reading Lyrical Ballad he was relived from depression.
 In July 1818, De-Quincy became editor of the “Westmorland Gazette” a Tory newspaper. He resigned
from the post in Nov 1819.
 De-Quincy’s Confession of an English Opium Eater and Lamb’s Essays of Elia both appeared together in
the “London Magazine” in 1823.
 Susperia de Profundis (1845) and The English Mail Coach (1849) appeared in Blackwood Magazine.
 ‘Joan of Arc’ was published in Tait’s Magazine.
 22 volumes of De-Quincy’s writings were issued from 1851 to 1859.
 In 1850, De Quincy was a regular contributor to Edinburgh periodical called ‘Hogg’s Weekly Instructor’.
 The 1856 edition “The Confession of an English Opium Eater” was prepared for the inclusion in
“Selections Grave and Gay” published by James Hogg.
 The first volume of “Selection Grave and Gay” appeared in May 1853 and fourteenth and last appeared in
 De Quincy’s diary was published in 1827.
 ‘Literary Reminiscences’ is his famous critical work. This contains brilliant appreciation of Wordsworth,
Lamb, Shelley, Keats, Hazlitt and Landor.
 On the Knocking at The Gate of Macbeth (1823) is his brilliant critical essay.
 “On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts” (1827) is a humorous essay by De-Quincy.
 A series of 30 articles were collected by him in 1853 called Autobiographic Sketches.
 Logic of Political Economy, The Essay on Style and Rhetoric and Philosophy of Herodotus are also
important works by him.
 Encyclopedia Britannica was an article on Goethe, Pope, Shiller and Shakespeare.
 His Famous Quote “Not to sympathies is not to understand”.
 De Quincy is known for living for ten years in 5 cottages.
 De Quincy addresses the problem of plagiarism in Coleridge work.
World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 218
Major Works of De Quincy
1. The Confession of an English Opium Eater (1821)
2. Letters to a Young Man
3. Joan of Arc (1847)
4. The Revolt of Tarters (1840)
5. English Mail Coach (1849) (In 3 parts)
6. Dream Fuge (Last work of De Quincy)
7. Suspiria De-Profundis (1845) ; It means ‘Signs from the depth’.
8. Klosterheim or The Masque (Novel)
9. Autobiographic Sketches (30 Articles) (1853)
10. Logic of Political Economy
11. The Essay on Style and Rhetoric
12. Philosophy of Herodotus
13. Encyclopedia Britannica
14. On the Knocking at The Gate of Macbeth (1823)
15. On Murder, Considered as One of the Fine Arts (1827)
16. Lake Reminiscences (Literary Reminiscences)
17. Revolt of Tarters.
18. Recollection of the Lake poets.
The Confession of an English Opium Eater
 It is written by De-Quincy on the account of his Opium and alcohol addict.
 It was the first major work of De-Quincy
 Firstly it was published anonymously in Sep 1821 in London Magazine, but it was released in 1822 in the
book form.
 It was organized in two parts.
 Part I begin with a notice “To the Reader, I here present you courteous reader, with a record of
remarkable period in my life...”
 A revised edition was published in 1856 for the publisher James Hogg. This edition was spoiled by

On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts

 It is an essay by De-Quincy, first published in 1827 in Blackwood Magazine.
 It was a fictional and satirical essay and addressed to a gentleman’s club concerning the aesthetic
(beautiful) appreciation of murder.
 It focuses particularly on a series of murders allegedly committed by John Williams in 1811.
 This work followed the sequels as one of the fine arts in 1839 and ‘Postscript’ in 1854.
 De-Quincy also referred to the Williams murder in his “On the Knocking at the Gate of Macbeth”
Suspiria de Profundis
 It is a Latin phrase that means “Signs from the depth”.
 It was published in fragmentary form in 1845.
 It is a collection of short essays in psychological fantasy.
 De Quincy called Psychological fantasy as impassioned prose but not termed as “Prose Poetry”.
 First it appeared in Blackwood’s Magazine in 1845.
 It is an incomplete work.

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English Mail Coach
 This essay is written in 3 Parts:
i. The Glory of Motion
ii. The Vision of Sudden Death
iii. Dream Fuge: Founded on The Preceding Theme of Sudden Death

Autobiographic Sketches
 It is also called Autobiography of Thomas De Quincy.
 This autobiography was not deliberately written but it was a collection of unpublished articles.

Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1792 – 1822)
 He was a finest lyric and epic poet in the English language.
 He is best known for classic poems as

 Epipschidion
 Ozymandias
 The Triumph of Life (Unfinished)
 Ode to the West Wind
 Prometheus Unbound (1820)
 To a Skylark
 Adonius
 Music
 The revolt of Islam
 When Soft Voices Die
 Alaster
 The Cloud
 Queen Mab (Long Visionary Poem)
 The Masque of Anarchy
 The Cenci (1819): a verse drama

 William Godwin was the father in law of P. B. Shelley.

 Shelley’s theory of economics and morality has a profound influence on Karl Marx, Leo Tolstoy and
Mahatma Gandhi.
 Civil Disobedience Movement by Henery Thoreau is also influenced by Shelley.
 He was born in England’s Sussex.
 His first publication was a gothic novel Zastrozzi: A Romance (1810).
 In 1810, Shelley published “Original Poetry by Victor and Cazire” along with his sister Elizabeth.
 At Oxford he issued a collection of verses Posthumous Fragments of Margaret Nicholson with Thomas
Jefferson Hogg.

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 Mathew Arnold assessed Shelley as an “Ineffectual angel”.
 Shelley’s ‘The Cenci’ is dedicated to Leigh Hunt.
 In ‘Mont Blanc’ Shelley claims to have pondered questions of historical inevitability.
 Shelley dedicated his The Revolt of Islam to “Mary Shelley”.
 Byron introduced Shelley to Keats.
 Shelley’s death came in 1822 by drowning while sailing across the bay of Spezzia.
 Hudson called Shelley dreamers of dreams.
 In 1811, Shelley published his second gothic novel St. Irvyne or “The Rosicrucian” and a pamphlet called
“The Necessity of Atheism”.
 After the publication of “The Necessity of Atheism” he gained the attention of the Oxford University’s
 He was asked to stop the pamphlet but he refused and was expelled from the University on 25 March
1811, along with Hogg.
 On 28 Aug 1811, Shelley eloped with Harriet Westbrook to Scotland.
 Shelley called Elizabeth Hitchner, a 28 years old unmarried school teacher the “sister of my soul” and “my
second self”.
 Shelley was totally unhappy with his marriage to Harriet, and abandoned her in 1814. Harriet committed
suicide in 1816.
 Godwin was Shelley’s mentor.
 At Eton College he was nicknamed “Mad Shelley”.
 Shelley married Mary Wollstonecraft, Godwin’s daughter.
 He was buried in the Protestant cemetery in Rome.
 On his grave, the following lines from Shakespeare’s The Tempest was inscribed –
“Nothing of him that doth fade
but doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange”.
 He wrote preface to his wife’s Frankenstein.
 A. C. Swinburne called Shelley ‘A perfect singing god’.
 His famous line –
“Our sweetest songs are those
that tell the saddest thought”
– To a skylark
 Shelley wrote 18 sonnets.
 In Shelley’s ‘Necessity of Atheism’ Shelley wrote –
“There is no god. This negation must be understood solely to affect a creative deity. The hypothesis of a
pervading spirit co-eternal with the universe remains unshaken.”
 Shelley’s “The Devil’s Walk: A Ballad” is a satirical attack and criticism of the British government by
Shelley. It was a major poetical work published in 1812.
 ‘Epipsychidion’ is the Greek title that means “little soul”. It is a major poetical work published in 1821
subtitled: – “Verses Addressed to the Noble and Unfortunate Lady, Emilia V…, now imprisoned in the
convent of ...”. In this poem Shelley celebrates his platonic love for Beatrice, a beautiful young Italian girl.
 Shelley’s famous quote from ‘To a Skylark’ –
“Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought”.
 “Hope is strong; justice and truth their winged child have found” is the epigraph on the cover page of ‘ The
Masque of Anarchy’, is taken from “The Revolt of Islam”.

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 Shelley remarked about a poet as: “A poet is a nightingale who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own
solitude with sweet sounds, his auditors are as men entranced by the melody of an unseen musician, who
feels that they are moved and softened but know not whence or why”.

Major Works of Shelley

 Zastrozzi : A Romance (1810)
 Original Poetry by Victor and Cazire (1810)
 St. Irvyne; or The Rosicrucian (1811)
 The Necessity of Atheism (1811)
 The Devil’s Walk: A Ballad (1812)
 Queen Mab: A Philosophical Poem (1813)
 Alastor or the Spirit of Solitude (1815)
 The Daemon of the World or Mont Blanc (1816)
 Hymn to Intellectual Beauty (1817)
 Leon and Cythna or The Revolution of the Golden City; A Vision of The Nineteenth Century (1817)
◦ It was edited and reissued as:
The Revolt of Islam: A Poem in 12 Cantos (1817)
 Ozymandias (1818) – Sonnet written in Iambic Pentameter
 Preface of Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus (1818)
 Rosalind and Helen: A Modern Eclogue (1818)
 The Cenci, A Tragedy Written in V Acts.
 Ode to West Wind
 The Masque of Anarchy
 Julian and Maddalo (1819)
 Prometheus Unbound, A Lyrical Drama in Four Acts (1820)
 To a Skylark. Clouds (1820)
 Adonias (1821)
 A Defence of Poetry
 Epipsychidion Hellas, A Lyrical Drama (1822)
 The Triumph of Life (Unfinished)
 ‘England in 1819’; It is a sonnet

 It appeared after the death of John Keats in 1821
 Keats death was because of Tuberculosis but Shelley got the impression that his death was due to brutal
criticism of his poetry.
 So he wrote Adonais to mourn the death of Keats.

A Defense of Poetry
 It was originally written in 1821 in response to Thomas Love Peacock: The Four Ages of Poetry, but
published in 1840.
 Shelley begins his essay by distinguishing between Reason and Imagination.
 He defines reason as logical thought and imagination as perception.
 He states that poetry is the ‘expression of imagination’ of the poet.
 As per Shelley,
“A poem is the very image of life expressed in its eternal truth...

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Poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which is distorted.”
 As per Shelley, “The poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world”.
 Gerald Lucas states that Shelley believes poetry to be divine since it “provides the seed for all of
humanity’s creation: religions, institutions, politics, philosophy and technology.”
 As per him, poetry’s primary purpose is to focus on revealing the beauty in the world that is apparently
hidden from people.
Ode to the West Wind
 It was written in 1819 but published with the volume of Prometheus Unbound in 1820.
 It is written in Terza Rima (consisting a stanza of three lines) aba bcb cdc.
 He wrote a note about this poem –
“This poem was conceived and chiefly written in a wood that skirts Arno near Florence and on a day when
that tempestuous wind whose temperature is at once mild and animating was collecting the vapours, which
pour down the autumn al rains”.
 The poem is addressed to the west wind.
 The poet appeals to the west wind to infuse him with a new spirit and a new power to spread his ideas.
 The west wind is personified both as ‘a preserver’ and ‘a destroyer’.
 The speaker describes the effect of west wind on land, air and water.
 The speaker wants to be like wind’s lyre and implores the wind to blow his thoughts over the universe so
that they might become seeds to cause a new birth.
 Opening lines of ‘Ode to the West Wind’ –

“O wild west wind thou breath of Autumn’s being

Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead.”

 The speaker invokes the ‘wild west wind’ of autumn, which scatters the dead leaves and spreads seeds so
that they may be nurtured by the spring and asks that the wind “the destroyer and preserver”.
 The speaker calls the wind the “dirge” (of the dying year) and describes how it stirs up violent storms and
again implores it to hear him.
 Important line –
“If winter comes can spring be far behind.”

Queen Mab
 It is the earliest poetic work of Shelley, produced in 1813.
 The poem is immature and contains much of Shelley’s cruder atheism. It represents the Shelley’s mind
for which he was expelled from Oxford.
 The poem is an attack on dogmatic religion, government, industrial tyranny and war, in which poet
presents a world of his dreams free from tyranny of kings and barons.
 The poet hopes that soon there will be the dawn of a new millennium where everything will be for the
good of mankind, in which the force of tyranny, oppression and cruelty will disappear.
 He hopes that in the new world lion and lamb shall live together –
“The lion now forgets the thirst for blood:
There might you see him sporting in the sun.”

 It consists of 9 cantos.
 After substantial re-working, a revised edition of a portion of the text was published in 1816 under the title
‘The Daemon of the World’.

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Alaster or The Spirit of Solitude
 It was published in 1816.
 It is a kind of spiritual autobiography, in which the chief character, a shadowy projection of Shelley’s own
moods travels through a wilderness in quest of the ideal beauty.
 The poem represents the wandering of a traveler (Shelley himself) in search of ideal beauty.
 The traveler wanders through Athens, Babylon and Jerusalem till he comes to the valley of Kashmir,
where he sees a vision.
 In the vision a beautiful girl emerges before him and the traveler is captivated by her beauty.
 The vision soon disappears and the traveler moves ahead passing through all barriers but success doesn’t
greet him.
 But he doesn’t lose courage and continues ahead in search of great secrets of life. A faint picture of it he
got in Kashmir.
 After passing through many attractive and dreadful sites the traveller is exhausted and unable to go ahead.
 Death ends his life and the lifelong quest of the traveler thus ends in tragedy.
The Revolt of Islam
 The chief characters are Loan and Cythna.
 They have dedicated their lives to the cause of liberty and freedom.
 They are presented as true freedom fighters.
 The main theme of the poem is to glorify liberty and work for the liberation of mankind.
 Cythna’s united work with Loan rouses the spirit of revolt among the heroic souls who rise against their
tyrants and try to throw off the oppression exercised upon the people prophesying Islam.
 The revolt is temporarily successful.
 Soon the tyrants come back with increased forces and bring desolation, famine and plague with them.
 The Loan and Cythna are burnt alive.
England 1819
 It is a 14 line sonnet metered in an Iambic pentameter.
 Famous Quote: –
“Religion Christless, Godless – a book sealed;
a senate, times worst statue,
Unrepealed – are graves from which a glorious
phantom may burst to illuminate our tempestuous day.”

Prometheus Unbound
 It is a 4 acts lyrical drama by Shelley, published in 1820.
 It is concerned with the torments of the Greek mythological figure Prometheus who defies the gods and
gives fire to humanity, for which he is subjected to eternal punishment and suffering at the hands of Zeus.
 It is inspired by the classical “Promethia” a trilogy of plays by Aeschylus.
 It is a closet drama.
 Shelley’s play concerns Prometheus release from captivity but unlike Aeschylus’ version there is no
reconciliation between Prometheus and Jupiter (Zeus).
 The play begins (Act I & II) in the Indian Caucasus where titan Prometheus is bound to a rock face and
he is surrounded by the Oceanides Panthea and Lone.
 Act III scene takes place in heaven. Act IV opens a voice fills the forest near Prometheus cave as Lone
and Panthea sleep.
 Shelley compares his Romantic hero Prometheus to Milton’s Satan from Paradise Lost.

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Lord Byron
(1788 – 1824)
 Full name George Gordon Noel Byron.
 Lord Byron is famous for his lengthy poems Don Juan, Child Harold Pilgrimage and the short lyric “She
Walks in Beauty”.
 He lived in Italy for seven years.
 He joined the ‘Greek War of Independence’ for which he revered as national hero.
 He died at the age of 36 of fever.
 He was castigated in his life for his aristocratic excesses, including huge debts, numerous love affairs with
people of both sexes, rumours of a scandalous liaison with half-sister and self-imposed exile.
 At the age of 10 he inherited the English “Barony of Byron of Rochdale”, becoming Lord Byron and
inherited the ancestral home Newstead Abbey.
 He became a celebrity in 1812, after the publication of two cantos of Child Harold Pilgrimage.
 He fell in love with Lady Caroline Lamb, who called him “mad, bad and dangerous to know”.
 He felt isolated as he was being teased for his withered leg and his Scottish accent.
 In order to escape his debts he went to foreign exile in 1816.
 Child Harold Pilgrimage’s: It’s canto is an autobiographical epic poem showing influence of Spenser. He
wrote first canto in London.
 He wrote other Cantos of Child Harold and Don Juan in Italy.
 He traveled to Greece in 1823 to participate in Greek Nationalism to fight against the Turks.
 He died in Greece.
 Goethe called his “Don Juan” a work of boundless genius.
 Goethe said about him “He has a sharp and penetrating view of the world – and song of his own”.
 Byron wrote “I awoke and found myself famous” after publication of first two cantos of Child Harold
Pilgrimage in 1812.
 In 1822, Byron, Leigh Hunt and Shelley travelled to Italy, where they published a political journal ‘ The

Don Juan
(1819 – 1824)
 It is a satiric poem of Byron called Magnum Opus.
 It is written in 17 cantos, so it is called an epic.
 He published first two cantos anonymously in 1819.
 In Canto 3, he expresses his determination for poets as Wordsworth and Coleridge.
 In a letter to Francis Hodgson, Byron referred to Wordsworth as “Turdsworth”.
 It is about the legend Don Juan who is easily seduced by women.
 He could not complete its 17th canto because of his death in 1824.
 It starts with the birth of Don Juan who has an affair with a friend of his mother.
 On finding, Juan is sent to Cadiz where his ship wrecks and he survived but then meets a pirate’s daughter
whose men sell Juan as a slave.
Major Works of Byron
 The Child Harold Pilgrimage
 The Giaour
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 Parisina
 The Siege of Corinth
 Don Juan: Picaresque Novel in Verse. (1819-24)
 Hours of Idleness
 English Bards and Scotch Reviewers (1809)
 Child Harold Pilgrimage (1812)
 Hebrew Melodies
 Prometheus (1816)
 Manfred (1817)
 Beppo: in Ottava Rima
 The Vision of Judgment (It is a Parody of Southy, written in reply to ‘A Vision of Judgment’) It is written
in Ottava Rima.
 She Walks in Beauty
 The Bride of Abydos (1813)
 Cain: A Mystery (drama; 1821)


W. S. Landor
(1775 – 1864)
 Full name – Walter Savage Landor
 He is famous for his prose “Imaginary Conversations” and the poem “Rose Aylmer” (love poems).
 He is described as a Poet’s poet and author of greatest very short poems in English.
 Landor’s prose is best expressed by the Imaginary Conversations.
 He was born in Warwick, England.
 Rose Aylmer and Rose Paynter both are written by Landor.


Mary Shelley
(1797 – 1851)
 ‘Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’ was an English novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer
and travel writer.
 She is best known for her gothic novel Frankenstein: or The Modern Prometheus.
 Her father was William Godwin and mother was Mary Wollstonecraft.
 Her mother died when she was 11 days old.
 She became pregnant to P. B. Shelley without marriage.
 They married in 1816 after the suicide of P. B. Shelley’s first wife Harriet.
 Mary read her father’s book “Memoirs of the Author of a Vindication of the Rights of Women” (1798),
while A Vindication of the Rights of Women is by her mother Mary Wollstonecraft.
 Frankenstein was published anonymously in 1818.
 Claire Clairmont was Mary’s stepsister and Byron’s mistress.

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 Mathew Lewis called ‘Mary’ as the first poetess of romantic fiction.
 Valpegro is the historical novel of Mary.
 Frankenstein was dedicated to William Godwin.
 A semi-autobiographical novel ‘Lodor’ under the title “The Beautiful Widow” was published in 1835.

Frankenstein (Novel)
 Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus was written in three volumes.
 It is about a young science student – Victor Frankenstein.
 Shelley started writing this novel when she was 17 and completed at the age of 20.
 The first edition was published in London in 1818.
 Shelley’s name appeared on the second edition published in France in 1823.
 It’s multiple narrative science fiction.
Note: Brian Aldirs has argued that it should be considered first true science fiction story.
 P. B. Shelley, Mary, Byron and Polidori decided to have a competition to see that who could write the
best horror story and after thinking for many days Mary wrote Frankenstein.
 The novel contains Captain Walton’s introducing frame narrative and Victor Frankenstein narrative
followed by Captain Walton’s concluding frame narrative.
Robert Walton’s Frame Narrative
 It starts with Captain Robert Walton who is writing letter to his sister. The event taking place in 18 th
 The novel is written in epistolary form documenting between Captain Robert Walton and his sister
Margaret Walton Saville.
 Walton is a failed writer who sails out to explore the North Pole, and expand his scientific knowledge.
 During the voyage, the crew spots a dog mastered by a gigantic figure.
 Few hours later the crew members rescue a nearly frozen man named Victor Frankenstein.
 Frankenstein was the man in pursuit of the Gigantic figure as observed by the crew members.
 Frankenstein starts recovering and he recounts his life story to Walton.
Frankenstein’s Narrative
 Victor begins by telling of his childhood that he was born in Naples.
 Victor was obsessed with studying outdated theories that focus on simulating natural wonders.
 He fell in love with an orphan, Lavenza, an orphan adopted by his parents.
 His mother dies before he leaves for the university.
 At university he developed a secret technique to import life to non-living matters which eventually leads to
his creation of Monster.
 Because of the difficulty in replicating the minor parts of the body, he made the creature about 8 feet tall.
 The dream of Frankenstein remains incomplete because he could not make beautiful creations. He was
unsatisfied by creature’s yellow eye and skins, so he flees.
 The creature became sad by Victor’s rejection and disappears.
 Victor falls ill but recovers and returns home where he learned about the death of his brother William.
 He finds the monster at the crime scene. He believed that monster was responsible for the crime. The
monster plants a picture on Justine, William’s nanny, to frame her for this crime.
 Victor is ravaged by grief and guilt, he retreats into the mountains.
 The monster locates him to hear his tale.
 Creature says that his encounters with people led to his fear of them, driving him in wilderness.

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 Creature, while living near a cottage, grew fond of the family living there. He learned to speak by listening
to them.
 He found his physical reflection was hideous when he saw his reflection in a pool.
 The creature burnt the cottage in rage because no one in the cottage was agreeing to make friendship with
him and thus he also killed his brother William.
 The monster demands a female companion like himself.
 He promised Victor that he will disappear into South American wilderness if he accepts his request.
 He started working on the female creature on the Orkney Islands but he is plagued by premonitions of
disaster, particularly the idea that creating a mate for the creature would breed a race that could plague
 He destroys the female creature after he finds the creature (Monster) looking through the window.
 The monster kills Henry Clerval (Friend & schoolfellow of Victor) but Victor is imprisoned for Clerval’s
murder and suffers a mental breakdown in the prison.
 After released he returns home with his father.
 In Geneva, Victor plans to marry Elizabeth. The night before their wedding, Victor asks Elizabeth to stay
in her room while he looks for the monster.
 While Victor searches ‘Monster’ in the house and ground, the creature murders Elizabeth.
 Victor is grieved stricken to see monster through the window killing Elizabeth.
 Victor’s father dies of grief through the death of William, Justine, Clerval and Elizabeth.
 Victor pursues the monster to the North Pole but he does not kill his creation. Creature vanishes after few
Captain Walton’s Concluding Narrative

 Walton’s crew insisted him to return home; while they head for home, Walton discovers the creature on
the ship, mourning over Frankenstein’s body.
 The monster vows to kill himself in his own funeral pyre so that no others will ever know of his existence.
 Walton drifts away on an ice raft that lost in darkness, never to be seen again.
 Famous quote from Frankenstein –
“How I then a young girl came to think of, and to dilate upon, so very hideous an idea.”


Ann Radcliffe
(1764 – 1823)
 She was nicknamed Ann Ward.
 She is regarded as the representative of Gothic Novel.
 She married William Radcliffe, a journalist who encouraged her literary pursuits.
 She only journeyed to Holland and Germany,
 Her journey was described in “A Journey Made in The Summer of 1794” (1795).
 Her first novel “The Castle of Athlin and Dunbayne” (1789) and A Sicilian Romance (1790) were
published anonymously.
 She achieved her fame through her third novel “The Romance of the Forest” a tale of 17th century France.
 Her last work is “The Italian”.
 Jane Austen parodied Radcliffe in her Northanger Abbey.
 “She died of Pneumonia”
 She is called ‘Shakespeare’ of romance writers.

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 She is regarded as pioneer of Gothic Novel.
 Altogether she published 6 novels.
 Sir Walter Scott called her “Founder of a Class or School”.
 Jane Austin parodied Radcliffe’s novel The Mystery of Udolpho in her Northanger Abbey.
 Her later novel ‘The Italian’ was written in a response to Mathew Gregory Lewis’s The Monk.
 After Radcliffe’s death her husband released her unfinished essay “On the Supernatural in Poetry”, which
gives a detailed view of Radcliffe’s terror and Lewis’s horror.
Major Works of Radcliffe

1. The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794)

 Published in 4 volumes. Protagonist – Emily St. Aubert
2. The Italian (1797)
 It was written in response to Gregory Lewis’s The Monk
3. The Romance of the Forest (1791)
4. A Silican Romance
5. The Castle of Athlin and Dunbayne (1789)
6. Gaston de Blondeville (1826)
 It is a historical romance published by her husband after death.


Maria Edgeworth
(1768 – 1849)
 She was an Anglo-Irish writer of adults and children literature.
 She is a significant figure in the evolution of the novel in Europe.
 The Double Disguise (1786) is an unpublished Juvenalia manuscript.
 Castle Reckrent (1800) is a regional narrative by her. (Her first novel also). It’s first historical novel.
 Edgeworth’s first published work was “Letters for Literary Ladies” (1795).
 Her work “An Essay on the Noble Science of Self-justification” (1795) is written for self-justification of
 Her first children book was “The Parent’s Assistant” which included the celebrated short story “The
Purple Jar”.
 She wrote Belinda in 1801, and it became controversial for its depiction.
 Practical Education is a progressive work on education that combines the idea of Lock and Rousseau with
scientific enquiry.
 Belinda (1801) is a 3-volume work published in London. It is first full length novel by her.
 “Tales of Fashionable Life” (1809 and 1812) is a two series collection of short stories which often focus on
the life of a woman.
 Harrington (1817) was written as an apology to the Jewish community. The novel was a fictitious
autobiography about overcoming anti-semitism and includes first Jewish character in an English novel.
 Helen (1834) is Maria’s final novel, the only one she wrote after her father’s death.

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Sir Walter Scott

 Sir Walter Scott was a historical novelist, playwright, and poet.
 He collaborated with Gothic novelist “Monk Lewis” – in Tales of Wonder in 1801.
 Coleridge’s poem Christabel which is written in 8 syllable couplets inspired him to write poems in the same
metre, between 1805-1815 he produced a succession of narrative poems, which made him famous.
 He was the first novelist in English to present characters as a part of society.
 He was the inventor of true historic novel.
 In politics he was strongly attached to ‘Tories’ and helped to find a great Tory Review “ The Quarterly” in
 He was knighted in 1820 and published all his novels anonymously until 1827.

Major Works of Scott

1. Ivanhoe or The Beastmen of Glen Glammoch

2. Rob Roy
3. Old Mortality
4. The Lady of the Lake
5. Waverly
6. The Heart of Midlothian
7. The Bride of Lammermoor
8. The Lay of the Last Minstrel - (1805)
9. Marmion – (1808)
It is about the enmity of Scottish highlander and Scottish lowlander
10. Minstrel of the Scottish Boarder
11. Kennilworth
12. The Betrothed
13. The Talisman
14. History of Scotland
15. Bizzaro; this is incomplete novel of Scott.
16. The Chase of William and Helen

The Lady of the Lake (1810)

 It is a narrative poem by Sir Walter Scott first published in 1810.

 It is composed of 6 cantos each of which concerns the action of a single day.
 The poem has three main plots; the contest among three men:
i) Roderick Dhu
ii) James-Fitz James
iii) Malcolm Graeme

Ivanhoe: A Romance (1820)

 It is a historical novel in three volumes first published in 1820.

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Waverly Novels (1814-1832)

 The Waverly novels are a long series of novels.

 As Scott did not publicly acknowledge authorship until 1827 then took its name Waverly.
 The first novel of the series was released in 1814.
 The later books bore the words “by the author of Waverly” on their title pages.

The Heart of Midlothian

 It was published in 4 volumes under the title “Tales of My Landlord” in 1818.
 Jeanie Deans is the heroine of the novel.

Rob Roy (1817)

 It is a historical novel narrated by Frank Osbaldistone, the son of an English merchant.

 The narrator travels first to north of England and subsequently to the Scottish Highlands to collect a debt
stolen from his father.
 On the way he encounters the larger-than-life title character Rob Roy MacGregor.

Regency Era: It is the period between 1811 and 1820 when King George III was deemed unfit to rule and his
son the Prince of Wales ruled as his proxy as Prince Regent.
 King William IV is also known as “The Sailor King”.
 Slavery was removed from Britain through the reform act of 1832.


Robert Southey
(1774 – 1843)
 He was an English poet of the Romantic school and one among three lake poets.
 He was Poet Laureate of England from 1813 to 1843 (till his death), and succeeded by William Wordsworth.
He became Poet Laureate after Walter Scott refused the post.
 His biographies includes the life and work of:
- John Bunyan
- John Wesley
- William Cowper
- Oliver Cromwell
- Horatio Nelson
 He was also a renowned scholar of Portuguese and Spanish literature.
 His most enduring contribution to literary history is the children’s classic “The Story of Three Bears”, the
original Goldilocks story first published in his prose collection “The Doctor”.
 He was born in Wine Street, Bristol, England.
 Along with S.T. Coleridge he wrote “The Fall of Robespierre” in which he wrote his first collection of poems
in 1794.
 He used pseudonym ‘Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella’ to write “Letters from England”.
 His famous Fairy Tale is Goldilocks and The Three Bears.

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 Southy and Coleridge were involved with early experiments with Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) conducted by
the scientist Humphry Davy.
 He married Edith Fricker who was sister of Sara Fricker (wife of Coleridge).
 He became Poet Laureate in 1813 after refused by Walter Scott.
 From 1809, Southy contributed to “The Quarterly”.
 About Charlotte Bronte, he said- “Literature can’t be the business of a woman’s life.”
 The epitaph of Southy is written by William Wordsworth.
 William Hazlitt was most savage critic of Southy. Southy replied his critics in a radical play “Wat Tyler”.
 He is also famous for writing children’s nursery rhymes-
“What are little boys made of?
What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails
And puppy-dogs tails”
 While he was in university he wrote “All I learnt was a little swimming… and a little beating.”

Major Works of Southy

1. The Fall of Robespierre (1794) (It is written in collaboration with ST Coleridge)
2. Joan of Arc: An Epic Poem (1796);
 Joan of Arc is also written by G.B. Shaw and Mark Twain.
3. Thalaba, The Destroyer (1801)
4. The Life of Nelson (1813)
5. Roderic, the Last of the Goths (1814)
6. The Doctor (1837)
7. Madoc
8. The Curse of Kehama (1810)
9. A Tale of Paraguay
10. A Vision of Judgment

Thalaba, The Destroyer (1801)

 It is an epic poem. It was completed while Southy travelled Portugal.
 The story describes how a group of Sorcerers work to destroy the Hodeirah family in an attempt to
prevent a prophecy of their future doom from coming true.

The Curse of Kehama (1810)

 It is an epic poem composed by Southy.
 The origin of the poem can be traced to Southy’s school days when he suffered from insomnia along
with his memories of dark and mysterious schoolmate that later formed the basis for one of the poem’s

Joan of Arc: An Epic Poem (1796)

 It is an epic poem by Robert Southy.
 Coleridge also helped him writing this poem of 1798 edition but in later editions Coleridge’s collections
was deleted.
 The poem is divided into two-halves.
 First describing Joan’s quest to meet Charles, the Dauphin of France. Finally, she got the Dauphin support
and begins to lead the French military.
 The secondary half describes the French defeat of the British army at ‘Orleans’.
 The poem ends with Charles crowned as King of France.

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Curse of Kehama
 The poem is divided into 12 books. Half part of the book describes how the evil priest Kehama is able to
gain significant amounts of demonic power on a quest of becoming a god.
 The poem describes Hindu Myth. It is heavily influenced by Zorastrian trilogy.
 It focuses on India stems from the recent British colonial expansion into India and the increasing interest
by British citizens in Indian culture.

Satanic School
 The term ‘Satanic School’ was a name applied by Robert Southy in his “A Vision of Judgment” to a class
of writers headed by Byron and Shelly because according to him, their productions were “characterized
by a satanic spirit of pride and audacious impiety”.
 Southy was mocked by Lord Byron in his 3rd canto of Don Juan including Wordsworth and Coleridge.


William Blake
(1757 – 1827)
 He was an English poet, painter, and printmaker, born in London.
 He is known for the visual arts of the Romantic age.
 The 19th century scholar William Rossetti characterized him as a “glorious luminary”.
 He was apprenticed to an engraver.
 He used to draw drawing of the monuments of Westminster Abbey.
 He was greatly influenced by Gothic Style.
 A collection of his verse and prose collected in “Poetical Sketches” by his friends in 1783. It was the first
printed work of Blake.
 He earned his living as a professional engraver for at least 20 years.
 He married Catherine Boucher (Illiterate), daughter of a gardener. She died childless in 1831.
 Blake wrote a satire “An Island in the Moon” (1785) in which he ridiculed those distinguished people whom
he had met during the year 1783-1787, and disgusted Blake.
 In 1788, he began to experiment with a new method of printing from etched copper plates, which developed
with the production of Songs of Innocence, with a lyrical poem etched on copper with decoration coloured
by hand which well sold for a few schillings.
 He completed his series of 537 water color designs – for Edward Young’s “Night Thoughts”.
 His significant poem is “The Four Zoas”.
 In 1784 he set up a print shop with a friend and former fellow apprentice, James Parker.
 He published his most popular “Songs of Innocence” in 1789 and Song of Experience in 1794. Both books
of song were having an illuminated copper manuscript, finished by hands in watercolour.
 In whole life he stayed outside England only for 3 years in Felpham where he worked with William Hayley.
 S.T. Coleridge was lent a copy of “Songs of Innocence and of Experience”, considered him “Man of
 Robert Southy attended Blake’s exhibition and included the “Mad Song” from poetical sketches in his
miscellany, “The Doctor”.
 His final years were full of great poverty but were cheered by a group of younger artist friends who called
themselves “The Ancients”.

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 In 1805, Blake joined the engraver Cromek, for producing a series of engravings for Robert Blair’s “The
Engrave”, but Cromek deceived him and thus Blake fell in depression.
 His only criticism was in “The Examiner” by Leigh Hunt.
 He was admitted in a mental hospital and in 1811, Southy declared him, insane.
 His most known work in creative art is “Illustrations of the Book of Job” and a symbolic work “Jerusalem”.
 Blake was asked to make illustration of Dante’s Divine Comedy and to engrave them. While doing this work
he died in 1827.
 His first full biography is written by Alexander Gilchrist. He refers him as Stormy Times.
 Coleridge defined Poetic Imagination in his Biographia Literaria as –
“A repetition in the finite mind of the eternal act of creation in the infinite I AM.”
 Quote:
“Love seeketh only self to please,
To bind another to its delight”
– The Clod and the Peeble
 In Blake’s “The Human Abstract” the fragmented world of experience is symbolized in the image of the
‘fruit of deceit’.

Major Works & Poetries

1. All Religions are One (1788)
2. America; a Prophecy (1793)
3. Europe; a Prophecy (1794)
4. For Children: The Gates of Paradise (1793)
5. For the Sexes: The Gates of Paradise (1793)
6. Poetical Sketches (1783)
(Written between 1769 to 1777)
7. Songs of Innocence (1789)
8. Songs of Experience (1794)
9. The Book of Ahania (1795)
10. The Book of Los (1795)
11. The First Book of Urizen (1794)
12. The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
13. Illustrations of the Book of Job
14. Jerusalem (prophetic book)
15. The Visions of the Daughters of Albion; Prophetic book in II parts
16. Milton (1804-1815) ; Prophetic book
17. The Chimney Sweeper
18. The Book of Thel (Will or wish)

Songs of Innocence & Experience (1789)

 When Songs of Innocence & Songs of Experience were combined it was titled “Songs of Innocence and of
Experience, Showing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul.”
 It appeared in two phases. First copies were printed and illuminated by Blake himself in 1789.
 In 1794 some other poems were also included.
 “Innocence” and “Experience” are definitions of consciousness that re-think Milton’s existential mythic states
of “Paradise” and the “Fall”.
 In the title “Contrary States” means contrasted titles in the poem as –
In Innocence – Infant Joy
In Experience – Infant Sorrow

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In Innocence – The Lamb
In Experience – The Fly and The Tyger

 The poem from Songs of Experience was set to music in 1965 by Benjamin Britten, in 1965.
 Only 28 poems were published during his life time and 16 appeared posthumously.

Songs of Innocence
 It is a complete work of Blake first printed in 1789.
 It is a collection of 19 poems.
 Song of Innocence is more or less a child’s world which is full of simplicity, purity, and happiness where the
adult world is misery and guilt sometimes intrudes here.
 From the child’s world, fear is completed absent and when danger threatens a parent figure appears to console
and comfort.
 The first poem in the collection is “Introduction” in which Blake thinks himself as a shepherd with a pipe
playing songs of joy in the open country where he sees a child as a cloud.
 The poem suggests the child Christ speaking from the heaven.

The Poems of Songs of Innocence

1. Introduction
2. The Shepherd
3. The Echoing Green
4. The Lamb
5. The Little Black Boy
6. The Blossom
7. The Chimney Sweeper
8. The Little Boy Lost
9. The Little Boy Found
10. Laughing Song
11. A Cradle Song
12. The Divine Image
13. Holy Thursday
14. Night
15. Spring
16. Nurse’s Song
17. Infant Joy
18. A Dream
19. On Another’s Sorrow (in the voice of Blake)

Songs of Experience (1794)

 It is a poetry collection of 26 poems forming the second part of Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of
 The poems were published in 1794.

Poems from Songs of Experience

1. Introduction
2. Earth’s Answer
3. The Clod and the Pebble
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4. Holy Thursday
5. The Little Girl Lost
6. The Little Girl Found
7. The Chimney Sweeper
8. Nurse’s Song
9. The Sick Rose
10. The Fly
11. The Angel
12. The Tyger
13. My Pretty Rose Tree
14. Ah! Sun-flower
15. The Lilly
16. The Garden of Love
17. The Little Vagabond
18. London
19. The Human Abstract
20. Infant Sorrow
21. A Poison Tree: In this poem the Blake’s anger grows and becomes an apple.
22. A Little Boy Lost
23. A Little Girl Lost (Lyca is the girl)
24. To Tirzah (It’s a Hebrew word)
25. The School Boy
26. The Voice of the Ancient
27. Bard

The Visions of the Daughters of Albion

 It is a poem protesting against the rigid sexual morality of the time where the daughters of Albion are English
enslaved by convention morality. It was influenced by Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of
 It is visionary poem, and Oothoon is the central character. In this Blake has used Plato’s ‘Allegory of the
Cave’ as a theme.

America, A Prophecy
 It is a poem dealing with the American Independence.

The Echoing Green

 It is a record of a happy day, but is also a symbolic presentation of the days of innocence from sunrise to
 The poem reminds of the biblical picture of Adam and Eve.

The Lamb
 This poem suggests The Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.
 The innocent lamb symbolizes the Christ, the incarnation of love and tenderness.

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The Chimney Sweeper
 It is the title of two poems of Blake.
 One written in 1789 in Songs of Innocence and other in 1794 in Songs of Experience.
 It is set against the dark background of child labour that was prominent in 18th and 19th century.
 At the age of 4 & 5, boys were sold to clean chimneys due to their small size.
 Poem Opening Lines
“When my mother died I was very young,
And my father sold me while yet my tongue
Could scarcely cry ‘weep! ‘weep! ‘weep!
So your chimneys I sweep, and in soot I sleep”.

The Tyger
 This poem was published as a part of “Songs of Experience” in 1794.
 It is a sister poem to “The Lamb” from “Songs of Innocence”.
 Both are the reflection of similar idea but from a different perspective. The Lamb brings innocence while The
Tyger presents a duality between aesthetic beauty and primal ferocity.
 Opening Lines
Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
 It contains six quatrains in rhymed couplet.

Important Lines
“In every cry of every man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban
The mind-forg’d manacles I hear”

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790-1793)

 Rather this book expressing Blake’s own intensely personal romantic and revolutionary belief but it was
written in imitation of biblical prophecy.
 The work was composed between 1790 and 1793.
 The title is an ironic reference to Emanuel Swedenburg’s theological work “Heaven and Hell”.
 The book is written in prose except for the opening “Argument” and “Song of Liberty”.
 The book describes the poet’s visit to Hell. It is a device used by Dante in Devine Comedy.
 Aldous Huxley’s “The Doors of Perception” title is taken from “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”.
 In this poem, Blake developed the idea of “Prolifics” and “Devourers”.

Milton: A Poem in Two Books

 Milton is an epic poem by Blake, written and illustrated between 1804-1810.
 Its hero is John Milton, who returns from heaven and unites with Blake, to explore the relationship between
living writers and their predecessors, and to undergo a mystical journey to correct his own spiritual errors.
 Preface
It includes a poem “And did those feet in ancient time”. It became the lyrics for the hymn “Jerusalem”.
 Book I
– Book I opens with an epic invocation to the muses drawing on the classical model of Homer and Virgil.
– There is a mythological character ‘Los’ in it.

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 Book II
– Book II finds Blake in the garden of his cottage in Felpham.
– Ololon, a female figure linked to Milton descend to meet him.
– Blake sees a skylark which transforms into a 12-year old girl. Blake invites her into his cottage to meet
his wife. The girl states that she is actually looking for Milton.
– Milton then descends to meet her and eventually unified with her. She is identified as Ololon.
– The poem concludes with a vision of the final union of living and dead, internal and external reality, and
male and female.
 Blake said- “It appears that in Paradise Lost, Book I, Milton belongs to Devil’s party without knowing it”.

Vala or The Four Zoas

 It is an incomplete prophetic book by Blake, begun in 1797.
 The titular main characters of the books are the four Zoas:
- Urthona
- Urizen
- Luvah
- Tharmas
(Ahania is the wife of Urizen)
 They were created by the fall of Albian in Blake’s mythology.
 It consists of 9 books, referred to as “nights”.
 Blake intended the book to be a summation of his mythic universe but, dissatisfied, he abandoned the effort
in 1807, leaving it unfinished.
 The final night describes Los witnessing a vision of Christ’s Crucification at the hands of Urizen.
 The Four Zoas form the four aspects of body, mind, emotion, and spirit.

 The short poem “And did those feed in ancient time” from the preface to Milton is known as “Anthem
 ”Jerusalem: The Emanation of the Giant Albion” is the complete title.
 The poem theme is linked to the book of Revelation describing a second coming where Jesus establishes a
New Jerusalem.
 The church has used Jerusalem as a metaphor for heaven.
 The dark Satanic Mills in the poem refers of early industrial revolution and its destruction of nature and
human relationship.

The Book of Ahania (1795)

 It is one of the prophetic books of Blake published in 1795, illustrated by Blake’s own plate.
 It consists 6 chapters.
 The content concerns Fuzon, a son of Urizen, a Zoa in Blake’s mythology.
 The story begins with Fuzon, rebelling against Urizen, his father.
 After the verbal attack, he attacks Urizen with fire and declares himself god.
 The poem continues with Ahania lamenting her disconnection from Urizen.

The Book of Urizen

 It is one of the major prophetic books by Blake.
 It was actually published as “The First Book of Urizen” in 1794, but in later edition it becomes “The Book of
 The book is a parody of “Book of Genesis”.
 Urizen’s first four sons are–

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Thiriel, Utha, Grodna and Fuzon representing– Air, Water, Earth, Fire respectively.
 In the book, Urizen is a creator, who is a blind exile and so establishes a world that he could rule. But he
suffers a fall when he creates a barrier to protect himself from eternity.
 Los forges a human image for Urizen in the course of seven ages, but pities him and weep.
 From these tears Enitharmon is created who soon bears the child of Los, Orc.
 Orc’s infant cries awaken Urizen, who begins to survey and measure the world he has created.
 Urizen explores his world and witnesses the birth of his four sons who represents the four classical elements.
 He creates a web of religion which serves as a chain to the mind.
 Through the mythological figure of Urizen, William Blake represents the world that is dominated by cold and
hypocritical materialists.

Poetical Sketches
 It is the first collection of poetry and prose by Blake, written between 1769 and 1777.
 After initial 1783 publication that was not for the public (only 40 copies were printed for his friend), the next
publication was in 1868 by R.H. Shepherd.
 It consists of 19 lyric poems, a dramatic fragment (Edward III), a prologue to another play in blank verse
(Prologue to Edward IV), a prose poem prologue (Prologue to King John), a ballad (A War Song to
Englishmen), and three prose poems (The Couch of Death, Contemplation, and Samson).
 The 19 lyrics poems are grouped together under the title “Miscellaneous Poems”.

Important Quotes of Blake

1. “Think in the morning, act in the noon, eat in the evening, sleep in the night”.
2. “To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower. Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
and eternity in an hour”.
3. “No bird soars to high
If he soars with his own wing”.
4. “It is easier to forgive an enemy
Than to forgive a friend”.
5. “Great things are done when men and mountains meet”.
6. “He who desire, but acts not, breeds pestilence”.
7. “You never know what is enough
Unless you know what is more than enough”.


William Hazlitt
 He was an English writer who is remembered for his humanistic essays and literary criticism.
 He was a painter as well.
 The first published work of Hazlitt was a letter printed in the Shrewsbury Chronicle when he was 13 years-
 He was hired by The Morning Chronicle in 1812 as a reporter.
 He began to contribute his essays to “The Examiner” in 1813 edited by Leigh Hunt.
 He has written criticism on Wordsworth poems “The Excursion” (1814).
 He wrote for “Champion” as well in 1814.

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 Hazlitt admired all poets except Shakespeare.
 He began to contribute to The Quarterly Edinburgh Review from 1815.

Napoleon was defeated in the battle of Waterloo in 1815.

 In 1817, a series of Hazlitt essays that had appeared in “The Examiner” in a regular column called “The
Round Table”. It also included few contributions from Leigh Hunt.
Total essays 52 (40 by Hazlitt and 12 by Hunt).
 In 1825 his “The Spirit of The Age” was published in which he condemns Robert Southy for his
abandonment of political radicalism.
 His “Characters of Shakespeare’s Play” is a collection of critical essays on the drama of Shakespeare.
 He also wrote against P.B Shelly in 1818 titled “Lectures on the English Poets”.
 Hazlitt to Coleridge:
“The only person I ever know who answered to the idea of a man of genius.”
 After reading Lyrical Ballads of Wordsworth, Hazlitt felt “the sense of a new style and a new spirit in poetry
came over me”.
 In “The Examiner” in late 1814, Hazlitt was the first to provide a critique to Wordsworth Poem “The
 His “The Spirit of the Age” is a collection of character sketches portraying 25 men mostly British.
 “It is we who are Hamlet” appears in “The Characters of Shakespeare”. In this essay, Hazlitt considered 35
plays as genuine and covered them in 32 chapters.
 His other major works are:
i) The English Comic Writers (1819)
ii) The Dramatic Literature of the Age of Elizabeth (1820)
iii) Table Talk or Original Essays on Man and Manners (1822)
iv) The Spirit of the Age or Contemporary Portraits (1825)
v) Galt (1821)
vi) The Annals of the Parish (1821)
vii) Lectures Chiefly on the Dramatic Literature of the Age of Elizabeth
viii) The Plain Speaker
ix) Political Essays (1819)
x) Biography of Napoleon (4 vol. 1828-1830)
xi) Characters of Shakespeare’s Play
xii) Shakespeare’s Female Characters
xiii) Indian Jugglers (essay)

Table Talk
 It is a collection of essays by Hazlitt.
 Originally published in 2 volumes, first of which appeared in 1821.
 The essay deals with topics such as art, literature and philosophy.
 The essay “The Indian Jugglers” is an essay of this anthology.

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Jane Austen
 She was an English novelist born in Stevenson, Hampshire in 1775.
 She did not receive any formal education, other than at Abbey School, Read.
 Her novels give us a view of middleclass family in provincial town.
 Although she lived in the romantic age but she rejected the romantic cult and was indifferent to Romantic
 By 1796, she had written a novel called Elinor and Marianne in the form of a series of letters modeled on
Richardson but later it was re-written in 1797 and became Sense and Sensibility.
 The novels which were published anonymously are:
- Sense and Sensibility (1811)
- Pride and Prejudice (1813)
- Mansfield Park (1814)
- Emma (1815)
- Northanger Abbey (1817)
 The only novel in which Austen’s name was there is: “Persuasion” (1817).
 ‘Northanger Abbey’ and ‘Persuasion’ are the novels which were published posthumously, in 1817.
 Austen began to write as early as 1787 for her own and her family amusement. Later she compiled four
copies of 29 of these early works into three bound notebooks which is now referred as “Juvenilia”.
 In 1793 she began and then abandoned a short play, later entitled “Sir Charles Grandison or The Happy
Man”; A Comedy in 6 Acts. But she completed it in 1800.
 This was a parody to Samuel Richardson’s The History of Sir Charles Grandison.
 Between 1793-1795 she wrote Lady Susan, a short epistolary novel.
 The Persuasion was initially titled “The Elliots”.
 She probably died of Tuberculosis.
 Her sister Cassandra was the closest friend of her.
 Love and Friendship is the dark satirical comedy by Jane.
 She said about “Emma”, a heroine whom no one but myself will much like.
 The incomplete works of Austen are Lady Susan, The Watsons and Sanditon.

Sense and Sensibility: A Novel

 It appeared in 1811 under the pseudonym “A Lady”.
 It is a work of romantic fiction better known as a comedy of manners.
 It portrays the life and loves of the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne.
 Both of them find their private fate but resulted in an unhappy love story but their parallel plot gives the
demonstration of dual thesis.
 Sense in the book means good judgment and sensibility means sensitivity or emotionality.
 It includes total 50 chapters.
 When Mr. Henry Dashwood dies, he left all his money to his first wife’s son John Dashwood.
 His second wife and three daughters are left with no permanent home and a very little income.
 Mrs. Dashwood and her three daughters Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret are invited to stay with their
distant relation, The Middletons, at Barton Park.

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 Elinor was sad to leave her home at Norland because she was closely attached to Edward Ferrars, the
brother in law of her half-brother John.
 At Barton Park, Elinor and Marianne discover the retired officer Colonel Brandon and a bachelor
John Willoughby.
 Willoughby has rescued Marianne, after she twists her ankle.
 Willoughby and Marianne flaunt their attachment to one another.
 Willoughby suddenly announces that he is departing for London, leaving Marianne lovesick and
 Anne and Lucy are two recently discovered relation of Lady Middleton’s mother, Mrs. Jennings who
arrives as a guest to Middletons.
 Lucy reveals that she had been in love with Edward Ferrars for last one year with whom Elinor was
also in love. Thus she is shocked.
 In Vol II, Elinor and Marianne visits London with Mrs. Jennings.
 Colonel Brandon informs Elinor that in London, everyone is talking about the marriage of Marianne
and Willoughby, while she has not told her attachment to her family.
 Rather Marianne was anxious to be reunited with Willoughby but later she rejects him when she sees
him at a party in the town saying that he ever had feeling for her.
 Colonel Brandon tells Elinor about Willoughby’s history of callousness and debauchery.
 Mrs. Jennings confirms that Willoughby is engaged to a wealthy heiress Miss Grey.
 In Vol III, Anne, Lucy’s older sister inadvertently reveals the secret engagement of Lucy and Edward
 Edward’s mother is outraged at this and disinherits him.
 Meanwhile, the Dashwood sisters visit family friends at Cleveland, while returning from London.
 At Cleveland Marianne falls deathly ill and Willoughby comes to visit her and explains for his
misconduct and ask for forgiveness.
 Elinor pities Willoughby and Marianne realizes that she could never been happy with Willoughby.
 Colonel Brandon and Mrs. Dashwood arrive at Cleveland and finds that Marianne is recovering.
 When all the Dashwoods return to Barton they learned that Lucy is engaged to Mr. Ferrars.
 But Edward Ferrars himself reveals the secret that Lucy was in love with Robert not him, thus he is
free to marry Elinor, and proposes her.
 Marianne and Colonel Brandon are engaged as well.
 Both couples live together at Delaford happily.

Pride and Prejudice

 Original title is –First Impression

 Genre- Novel of Manners, Satire
 It is a romantic novel by Jane Austen, published anonymously in three volumes in 1813.
 The novel opens with the line,
“ It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be
in want of a wife”.
 It is written in the free indirect speech.
 The Title “Pride and Prejudice” has been taken from a passage in Fanny Burney’s popular 1782
novel Cecilia.
 Darcy says in the play-“ A lady’s imagination is very rapid ; it jumps from admiration to love, from
love to matrimony.”
 Elizabeth Bennet is the main character who is second of the five daughters of a gentleman.
 Mr. Bennet is a Bookish man.

World Literature in Your Fist: An Assortment of English Literature 242

 Mrs. Bennet is a women Lacking is social grace and concerned with finding husband for his five
 The five daughters are-
– Jane Bennet
– Elizabeth Bennet
– Mary
– Kitty (Catherine)
– Lydia
 The novel is set in rural England in the early 19th century, and it follows the Bennet family, which
includes five very different sisters. Mrs. Bennet is anxious to see all her daughters married, especially
as the modest family estate is to be inherited by William Collins when Mr. Bennet dies.
 At a ball, the wealthy and newly arrived Charles Bingley takes an immediate interest in the eldest
Bennet daughter, the beautiful and shy Jane.
 The encounter between his friend Darcy and Elizabeth is less cordial. Although Austen shows them
intrigued by each other, she reverses the convention of first impressions: pride of rank and fortune
and prejudice against the social inferiority of Elizabeth’s family hold Darcy aloof, while Elizabeth is
equally fired both by the pride of self-respect and by prejudice against Darcy’s snobbery.
 The pompous Collins subsequently arrives, hoping to marry one of the Bennet sisters.
 Elizabeth, however, refuses his offer of marriage, and he instead becomes engaged to her friend
Charlotte Lucas.
 During this time, Elizabeth encounters the charming George Wickham, a military officer. There is a
mutual attraction between the two, and he informs her that Darcy has denied him his inheritance.
 After Bingley abruptly departs for London, Elizabeth’s dislike of Darcy increases as she becomes
convinced that he is discouraging Bingley’s relationship with Jane.
 Darcy, however, has grown increasingly fond of Elizabeth, admiring her intelligence and vitality.
While visiting the now-married Charlotte, Elizabeth sees Darcy, who professes his love for her and
 A surprised Elizabeth refuses his offer, and, when Darcy demands an explanation, she accuses him of
breaking up Jane and Bingley.
 Darcy subsequently writes Elizabeth a letter in which he explains that he separated the couple largely
because he did not believe Jane returned Bingley’s affection. He also discloses that Wickham, after
squandering his inheritance, tried to marry Darcy’s then 15-year-old sister in an attempt to gain
possession of her fortune. With these revelations, Elizabeth begins to see Darcy in a new light.
 Shortly thereafter the youngest Bennet sister, Lydia, elopes with Wickham. The news is met with
great alarm by Elizabeth, since the scandalous affair—which is unlikely to end in marriage—could ruin
the reputation of the other Bennet sisters. When she tells Darcy, he persuades Wickham to marry
Lydia, offering him money.
 Despite Darcy’s attempt to keep his intervention a secret, Elizabeth learns of his actions. At the
encouragement of Darcy, Bingley subsequently returns, and he and Jane become engaged. Finally,
Darcy proposes again to Elizabeth, who this time accepts.

Mansfield Park
 It is the third novel of Austen written at Chawton Cottage between Feb 1811 and 1813 and was published in
May 1814.<