Briefly discuss on Restoration Comedy

Ans. The Restoration period chronicles the rise of a new comedy of slower growth than the new heroic play. It marked a new stage in the civilization of England. The plays of the Shakespearean era were beginning to be thought out of date. Evenly in his diary notes that “the old plays begin to disgust this refined age. Briefly discuss on Restoration Comedy

Briefly discuss on Restoration Comedy
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Restoration comedy notes

The Restoration drama differs, both in theme and treatment from the Elizabethan drama. The novel features of this type of drama are first, the theme is mainly of courtiers and their class, their vices affectations their love-intrigues and money-grabbing. The characters are too a great extent humorous and their names reveal their dispositions, viz, Sir John Brute, Squire Sullen, Colonel Bully, and Lady Bountiful.

Such characters as these are involved in plots of great and unnatural complications, with much bustle and unlimited love-intrigue. In the Elizabethan dramas, on the other hand, the characters are human and the conditions more natural.

In some of the Restoration dramas, we obtain deeply interesting glimpses of the habits of the time, but in general, the whole atmosphere of the comedies is artificial and unreal. Secondly, the prevailing love-drama is treated in a characteristic fashion which is fortunately rare in English. It is not handled coarsely, it is handled with cool licentiousness and a vicious pleasure that are often exceedingly clean but always repulsive. It is art, but the art of a perverted kind. Briefly discuss on Restoration Comedy

Restoration comedy of Manners

The style of the Restoration drama suits the treatment. The dialogue is extremely witty and there is a constant tendency for neat speech. The prose is brilliant, deft, forcible, clear cut and precise, The style of Elizabethan drama, however, not always precise, neat and brilliant.

But since the purpose of the drama is always to hold the mirror up to life.
Restoration drama naturally reflected the tone of the contemporary society Restoration Comedy flourished under the patronage of the court and the aristocracy. The king and his courtiers were highly immoral. Society women were like social butterflies, idle and immoral. Gallants the court indulged in all sorts of amorous intrigues. This state of coarseness and vulgarity is reflected in the Restoration drama. Bonamy Dobree defended Restoration Comedy on the ground that it reflected an experimental way of living.

While Restoration comedy was criticized for being immoral and coarse, Charles Lamb pleaded that it takes us to an ideal world of gallantry. Restoration Comedy should be appreciated because it gives us artistic pleasure. But Lamb’s view is a deníal of the essential purpose of the drama, viz, the enrichment of human life based on social realities. Briefly discuss on Restoration Comedy

The true reflection of the Restoration age is to be found not in the artificial heroic tragedy, but the Restoration Comedy of Manners.

Dryden turned his versatile genius to Comedy in the Wild Gallant and Marriage a La Mode. His plays were written to please the king and his courtiers.

What is Restoration comedy

His contemporary, George Etherege (1635-91) was more successful. In him, we first look for the typical Restoration Comedy of Manners. Restoration comedy is nothing but a mocking image of a care-free life. Sir George Etheree is remembered today for his comedy The man of Mode or Sir Fopling Flutters. Etherege caught the manners in their actual coloring diversified their immortality, gave a picture of them and extracted their philosophy.

The man of Mode has been regarded as the pattern of genteel comedy. Sir Fopling Flutters gives the sub-title to the play but has little to do with the plot, except providing a brilliant contrast to a disagreeable hero, Two more plays of merit bore his signature- She would if she could and The Comical Revenge or Love in a Tub. Briefly discuss on Restoration Comedy

William Wycherley (1640-1715) enjoys the reputation of being the most brilliant and the most vicious writer of the age. He achieved the utmost realism in his representation of the corrupt society of the age. His best comedies are The Country Wife’ (1673) and The Plain Dealer (1676). Both are based on Moliere’s best-known comedies and are marked by the bitterness and comes naturally to Restoration Comedy.

His language is full of vigor, while in characterization there is genuine vitality. He satirizes men of all classes but is particularly keen against woman’s hypocrisy, “The Country wife” is his beşt comedy in plot and characterization, but the tone is cynical and the attitude lacks balance. In “The Plain Dealer” Wycherley sympathizes with the hero and is brilliant without being convincing.

What is Restoration comedy and the features of Restoration comedy

It was William Congreve (1670-1729) however, who excelled all the other comic dramatists as an exponent of the Comedy of Manners. His plots are meaninglessly involved, but he is remembered chiefly for the high quality of his dialogue. His preeminence as a dramatist was recognized by all his contest parties. Even Voltaire, who was fastidious, praised him.

But all Comedies of Congrave are not in the true Restoration mode. The Old Bachelor combines farce, satire and Jonson humor. Love for Love (1695) is in many respects more reminiscent of the Jonsonian Comedy of Humours than the Restoration Comedy of Manners. It is the most satirical of all Congreve’s plays.

The way of the world (1700). Congreve’s last and finest comedy deserves special attention. Like all his plays, it reflects the members of a frivolous society. This play excels not by its plot, neither by its characters, but by its brilliant wit and vivacity. The wit Combats of Mirabell and Millamant are brilliant. The way of the world represents the fine flower of Restoration Comedy. In this play, we see something very different from either the hedonist ease of Etherege of the brutal wit of Wycherley. Millamant and Mirabell are a charming pair of lovers.

They bargain with each other. They are aware of each other’s faults and willing to keep up the usual social games to save them from the problem of confrontation with each other’s naked emotions. These two characters reveal in their mutual conversion something of the complexity and sadness of all human relationships. Congreve is at his best in this typical Restoration comedy par excellence. Construction, characterization, and dialogue are alike brilliant. Briefly discuss on Restoration Comedy

Restoration comedy Characteristics 

Sir John Vanbrugh’s Comedies The Relapse (1696), The Provoked wife (1697) and the Unfinished Journey to London, show the Restoration Comic mode breaking down. He lacks the wit and poise of his great contemporary Congreve. He is unable to present artistically the amoral conflict between reputation and desire, the world in which the conflict between the sexes is a witty game played for its own sake. With George Farquhar (1678-1707), English Comedy still moves further away from the Restoration Ideal.

In Some respects, Farquhar writes comedy like Etherege with gaiety and relish for the humor and color of life. This is very different from the witty stylization of Congreve’s dialogue and action. Farquhar’s best comedies are The Recruiting officer and Beau’st stratagem. Restoration comedy thus begins with Etherege and reaches its consummation in Congreve. Briefly discuss on Restoration Comedy

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