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English Drama 1660–1700$
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Derek Hughes

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198119746

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198119746.001.0001

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(p.450) Conclusion
English Drama 1660–1700

Derek Hughes

Oxford University Press

The isolation and exaltation of the personal is one of the best-known features of post-Revolution drama, though it was not universal, and it permitted widely contrasting interpretations of the relationship between individual and society. If personal fulfilment and social codes often conflict, the luxuriant exploration of personal sensation is more frequently combined with a belief that these sensations are intrinsically sociable in character. Man is once again a naturally political animal. If Love's Last Shift emphasizes the sensuous delights of virtue, it also depicts a recovery of name and rank that is structurally similar to the naming and social reassimilation of Edgar in King Lear. There is, however, a notable contraction in the social hierarchy that is invoked: the rank of gentleman does not mirror or imply any political or natural hierarchy greater than its own.

Keywords:   isolation, exaltation, drama, relationship, individual, society, man, reassimilation, hierarchy

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