Marriage Relationships in Tudor Political Drama.Michael A. Winkelman. Marriage Relationships in Tudor Political Drama.
Studies in Performance and Early Modern Drama. Aldershot and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2005. 266 pp. index. append To add to the end of an existing structure. . illus. bibl. $89.95. ISBN ISBN
International Standard Book Number
ISBN International Standard Book Number
ISBN n abbr (= International Standard Book Number) → ISBN m : 0-7546-3682-8.
The history of royal marriage in Tudor England is full of irony. Henry VIII seemed willing to destroy just about everything to find a wife who would produce a male heir, while Elizabeth, the female child of one of those ill-fated wives, repudiated her father's sense of the biological imperative Genetic imperatives are biological imperatives that include the following hierarchy of logical imperatives for a living organism: Survival, Territorialism, Competition, Reproduction, Quality of life-seeking. , turned her back on marriage, and nonetheless became one of history's most successful monarchs. Marriage Relationships in Tudor Political Drama, which analyzes drama and pageantry from 1485 to 1603, attempts to bring coherence to this extremely varied political and theatrical history. Winkelman builds on some well-drawn and well-worn maps of dramatic history, such as those of David Bevington David Bevington is Professor Emeritus in the Humanities and in English Language & Literature, Comparative Literature, and the College at the University of Chicago, where he has taught since 1967. and Joel Altman, to suggest that the problem of royal marriage deserves a shaping role in this history. Sometimes this venerable critical framework seems to give way to outmoded assumptions about the evolution of literary form, as when Winkelman writes that "one goal of my study is to account for the demise of the serviceable, basically medieval iconography that typified early shows and the concurrent development of recognizably 'modern' subjectivity onstage by the end of the sixteenth century" (2). This movement from the symbolic and allegorical to the Burckhardtian "individualized in·di·vid·u·al·ize
tr.v. in·di·vid·u·al·ized, in·di·vid·u·al·iz·ing, in·di·vid·u·al·iz·es
1. To give individuality to.
2. To consider or treat individually; particularize.
3. " personalities of proto-modernity, Winkelman asserts, can be explained by means of the problems of royal marriage, and particularly those of Henry VIII: "Existing [dramatic] techniques proved insufficient for dealing with the bewildering be·wil·der
tr.v. be·wil·dered, be·wil·der·ing, be·wil·ders
1. To confuse or befuddle, especially with numerous conflicting situations, objects, or statements. See Synonyms at puzzle.
2. complications that arose with Henry VIII's 'great matter'" (2). The book sometimes relies on conventionally biased accounts of Tudor history, in which Henry "maintained his popular appeal" and "swept his nation through its religious revolution to acceptance, if not to acclaim" (58), while Mary "bloodily reinstituted Catholicism" in an "unpopular" (1) decision.
Marriage Relationships begins with a series of pageants about the new Tudor dynasty The Tudor dynasty or House of Tudor (Welsh: Tudur) was an English royal dynasty that lasted 118 years, beginning in 1485. and a description of an emergent allegorical figure, Lady Commonweal com·mon·weal
1. The public good or welfare.
2. Archaic A commonwealth or republic.
Noun 1. , who resurfaces in plays such as Bale's King Johan King Johan was a sixteenth century English play. Written by a Carmelite monk named John Bale, it is considered a possible influence on William Shakespeare's later work King John.
The play was written by Bale sometime in the 1550s. (1538) and Udall's Respublica (1553). The book then addresses the presence of Henry's "great matter" in understudied plays: Godly god·ly
adj. god·li·er, god·li·est
1. Having great reverence for God; pious.
god Queene Hester, a "pro-Catholic, pro-Catherine attack on Wolsey" (37), Calisto and Melebea, which impugns Henry and Anne Boleyn, Udall and Leland's hortatory hor·ta·to·ry
Marked by exhortation or strong urging: a hortatory speech.
[Late Latin hort poem on the coronation of Queen Anne, and two Latin Herod plays, Grimald's Archipropheta and Buchanan's Baptistes, about which Buchanan admits, in a compromised but valuable comment made under interrogation interrogation
In criminal law, process of formally and systematically questioning a suspect in order to elicit incriminating responses. The process is largely outside the governance of law, though in the U.S. , that he "represented the death ... of Thomas More and set forth before the eyes an image of the tyranny of that time" (50). The book moves to Mary's reign and Respublica, in which Udall "conceives of Mary's relationship to England as one like God's marital bonds to his original elect nation, Israel" (75). Plays advising Elizabeth include: Horestes, by the MP John Pickering, Juno and Diana, about which the queen commented, "this is all against me" (114), and Gorbodoc and Cambises. Winkelman turns from these court productions of MPs and lawyers to the popular stage, reading such plays as Edward II, The Spanish Tragedy, and Hamlet, which is mapped too broadly onto the Tudor dynastic history: where "Gertrude resembles Catherine [of Aragon, and] Hamlet resembles Elizabeth I" (181).
Revising evolutionary explanations of Tudor drama through the problem of royal marriage seems an ambitious goal for a short book, especially given its large historical span. What makes the argument feel a bit procrustean is that Henry's marriages--and other royal marriages--are not an explicitly predominant subject of popular drama, and Winkelman does not do enough to draw links between the interesting pageantry that is more explicitly connected with royal marriages, and the representations of marriage in such plays as Hamlet and The Spanish Tragedy, which seem unconnected to the immediate problem of Tudor marriage, and derive, after all, from classical tragic models that are themselves deeply concerned with dynastic and marital issues. (His comment that Claudius's reaction to the "mouse-trap," for example, is a "hint at some of the ways marital matters could be addressed in political drama" (7) seems farfetched.) In spite of their central place in the book's argument, Henrician plays occupy only a single thirty-page chapter. Although Winkelman's study does not fully execute its argument, it sheds light on a neglected corpus of dramatic literature.