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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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‘A Song expressing the Change of their Condition’: Tragicomedy and Opera, 1668–1676  

‘A Song expressing the Change of their Condition’: Tragicomedy and Opera, 1668–1676  

(p.162) Chapter Five ‘A Song expressing the Change of their Condition’: Tragicomedy and Opera, 1668–1676 
English Drama 1660–1700

Derek Hughes

Oxford University Press

Tragicomedy, the dominant genre of the early Restoration, did not survive long into the 1670s, killed off by declining faith in the heroic and the hero-king. The decreasing convincingness of early Restoration forms is strikingly shown by Thomas Shadwell's recycling of John Fountain's unperformed The Rewards of Vertue as The Royal Shepherdess. The plot is one of restoration, the shepherdess Urania being saved at the last minute from decapitation by the revelation that she is the daughter of the deposed and martyred King of Thrace (she had been condemned for marrying and conceiving the child of a prince, but her exalted birth removes the scandal). Urania is also pursued by the married King of Arcadia, but he is reformed in a signally chaste bedroom trick, wherein his Queen impersonates Urania and talks him into chastity without the need for feigned adultery.

Keywords:   tragicomedy, genre, Restoration, Thomas Shadwell, John Fountain, Urania

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