Ben Jonson's

BEN JONSON

In Elezabethan period Ben Jonson's comedy is marked off from the romantic drama by its intense realism. It was Jo son's boast and virtue and he drew comedy down from the improbable realms of romantic colouring to the level of ordinary existence. Jonson's great merit lies not in the fact that he popularised the ancient comedy of humours not that he infused into English literature the spirit of Terence but that he drew comedy down to real life.

He presented the social orders and the follies of contemporary London at a time when there was a fear of comedy's vanshing into the fantastic realism of make believe. Realism added to intensified humour treated in a satirical manner was first given to the theatrical world by Jonson.
Jo son's plays are the result of wide and painstaking observation. In the prologue to "Every Man In His Humour" he makes fun of the chronicle histories. He declares that he will not serve the I'll custom of the age. In the introduction to "Every Man Out Of His Humour" he loughs at the conventions of romantic comedy of a duke to be in love with a countess and that countess to be in love with the duke's son.

Instead of lawless and fantastic translations from romance and history Jonson planned a realistic comedy based on a rational and ordered study of life of his own time. He believed that the playwright's duty is to preserve the intellectual sanity of his nation. For doing this he must show what his age is and what is wrong with it. In his plays he has his eye upon the English people of the middle and lower classes of his own time. In Cynthia's Revels he caricatured another dramatist morston. His tragedy 'sejanus' sought to restore classic loftimess to tragedy. The failure of sejanus was to be reversed by the success of "Volporne". His other comic masterpieces followed "Epicoene" and "The Alchemlst".
Few years later he wrote another important play "Bartholomew Fair" but two years later "The Devil is an Ass" marked the beginning of Jo son's decline as a dramatist. His last year's were overshadowed by sickness and debt through the new generation of writers the "Tribe of Ben" still looked on him as the master spirit. 

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