The University Wits were importin Aristotle, changing the way theatre
was done. Prior to this period theatre was based on medieval reality
plays, and psycho plays. Every time you see a mentioning of Harrod
the Great, that is basically a reference to these old plays.
Marlowe starts the importation. Formal verse,dialogue really
the importation of blank verse (not always iambic
pentameter). Dialogue shifts around the 1580’s and flows
o Hubris is a medieval concept, not Aristotle. Marlowe and
the others took what they liked, and used it. Hubris is
one of the things they saw as not being prescriptive.
The reason why the sinful and egoism definition doesn’t
work. It was a legal term in Athens. What that means is
that it’s a law that prevents the rich from humiliating
the poor. It’s about humiliation based on your societal
The first 4 weeks of American Idol are Hubristic.
o Hubris came under “offending honor”. If you intentional
insult someone and dishonor them, that’s hubristic. It
upset the tightly knit nature of the community of
This was hard to translate because they couldn’t
conceive of a society where people were equally
because of monarchies. This is the whole problem
that the Barons have with Gavestone. They claim
it’s not the homosexuality, they claim it’s him
trying to undermine the regimentation of the class
structure. That he’s been given all of the titles
that he isn’t entitled to.
Pride is the first Christian sin.
All these early thinkers put it into
Character in these plays has to be greater than life. The University
Wits end up writing these plays about heroic themes and heroic
subjects. Except when they write comedies and they are under life,
they’re basically the worst people in society.
The tragic hero is often understood as the person who
exhibits hubris. It’s not a term that comes from Aristotle. It
derives from people misreading Aristotle. They’re basically
heroes of tragedies are basically good decent powerful people
who suffer a tragedy over the course of the play and drop
from their power.
o In the 1700’s, 1800’s people started translating that as
a tragic flaw, rather than it being as a near miss. They started importing the idea that the Tragic Flaw was a
sin. Hubris is excessive pride, blah blah, there’s your
E2 is exhibiting a kind of a pride. He misses the mark, but what
Marlowe is doing is more complex than just saying that he’s a tragic
hero. He has that moment of realization too late in the play, because
he’s already lost his kingdom.
Marlowe also become about the individual within society,
rather than as a heroic entity. This is more about E2 working
with everyone in the kingdom trying to make things ok, not
o He includes the concept of the sidekick. You see it in
Taming of the Shrew. It started off in the Jew of Malta
however. It comes out of Greek New Comedy. He
imports it into early modern drama.
The Unities are the idea that dramatic time and real time should be the
same. The 2 hours should approximately be the 2 hours in the lives of
the characters. This is largely ignored in 1660. They import all these
French ideas, and they’re a much more based on a model like 24 (the
Tv Show). That is a unity of time. There are other unities in place, but
they largely ignored that.
Aristotle says that there are only comedies and tragedies. Comedies
are plays that end well, while Tragedies are plays that end badly.
Elevated topics, people who are greater than us and admiried,
but they generally fall. Most times comedies were more
realistic, while tragedies were generally historic.
o By bringing in history, is huge. Tamburlaine is the
Sheppard boy, he is lower than us. He’s a basic
schmuck. Then he decided to be King of the World, and
then does it. At the end of Tamburlaine really, he
doesn’t die. Nothing bad happens to him. He gets