Domestic tragedy between 1590 and 1642
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Like all other Elizabethan drama, domestic tragedy shows in its form the influence of sacred drama. But in essence, in the distinctive qualities which constitute it practically and independent type, it owes nothing to the past. Domestic tragedy is the product of its own age. I have, therefore, confined my discussion of it to the period of its production, namely from 1590 to 1642 (the date of the closing of the theaters). In defining domestic tragedy I have made theme the final test, the unfailing touchstone. This theme is the destruction of family relations. In true domestic tragedy all interest is concentrated upon a grave domestic problem which is treated with the utmost moral seriousness. The keynote is sound ethical tone. Any deviation from this high standard of ethical seriousness and soundness excludes a play from consideration as a domestic tragedy.
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