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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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‘Where is Astrea fled?’: Tragedy, 1668–1676  

‘Where is Astrea fled?’: Tragedy, 1668–1676  

(p.78) Chapter Three ‘Where is Astrea fled?’: Tragedy, 1668–1676 
English Drama 1660–1700

Derek Hughes

Oxford University Press

In 1669, Sir William Killigrew published his last play, The Imperial Tragedy, which deals with regicide and restoration based on Zeno; sive, Ambitio Infelix by the English Jesuit Joseph Simons, which opens with the appearance of Astraea on high. Gerard Langbaine believed that the play had been acted at the Barbican Nursery, but there is no record of performance at either of the main houses, and by this time its subject and outlook were dated. Indeed, Simons was at the time helping to make it even more dated by converting the Duke of York to Catholicism. Earl of Orrery's Tryphon, another play about restoration, had already failed, and when John Dryden depicted the deposition of the usurper Maximin in Tyrannick Love, he portrayed not a return to hereditary monarchy but the election of two emperors by the Senate. Increasingly, indeed, serious dramatists turned from celebration of restored authority to reflection upon the problems inherent in the exercise and very nature of power.

Keywords:   William Killigrew, Joseph Simons, Catholicism, Earl of Orrery, John Dryden, emperors, Astraea, regicide, restoration, power

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