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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 Cause like yours would summon the Just Gods’: Tragedy, 1688–1695  

‘A Cause like yours would summon the Just Gods’: Tragedy, 1688–1695  

Chapter:
(p.358) Chapter Ten ‘A Cause like yours would summon the Just Gods’: Tragedy, 1688–1695 
Source:
English Drama 1660–1700
Author(s):

Derek Hughes

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198119746.003.0010

The first tragedy known to have been premiered after the Revolution was Nathaniel Lee's anti-Catholic pot-boiler The Massacre of Paris, written during the Exclusion Crisis and banned. Here ‘A hundred thousand Souls for justice call’, but they cry in vain, for, as so often in Lee, the innocent die and the wicked remain unpunished. However, in post-Revolution Whig tragedy monarchy and justice were no longer irreconcilable. The change first appears in George Powell's unimpressive Othello clone The Treacherous Brothers, in which the chastity of a virtuous queen is slandered by two villainous brothers of low social place, but is providentially vindicated in time to prevent her execution. In the many previous Restoration imitations of Othello, the villain had always been an essential part of the order that he subverted; but then renewed confidence in the social order meant that the outsider regained meaning as a source of evil.

Keywords:   tragedy, Revolution, Nathaniel Lee, Exclusion Crisis, chastity, George Powell, Othello, social order

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