Who are University Wits? Evaluate their contribution to Elizabethan drama.

Who are University Wits? Evaluate their contribution to Elizabethan drama.

After the
establishment of The Theatre in 1576
came a huge competition in the production of drama. Novelty in drama is always
needed for success. The managers were finding such men who could patch up old
plays with new matters. A bunch of bohemian writers associated with either
Oxford or Cambridge University came forward in the literary canvas with their
handful of contribution in the field of drama. They are called “University Wits”. They absorbed the
new renaissance spirit and synthesizing the vigour of the native tradition with
more refined classicism. The group consisted of seven- John Lyly, Thomas Kyd,
Thomas Nash, Thomas Lodge, George Peele, Robert Greene and Christopher Marlowe.
they are known as “The seven
Stars of the Cosmos.”

Lyly’s plays contain attractive
lyrics. He was the first dramatist to write essentially high comedy. His
best plays are: Alexander, Sapho and Phao, Endimion,
, The Wife in the Moon etc.

Peele is noted for his poetic Style
and decorative phrases. His contributions are flowery. He wrote The
Arraignment of Paris
, The Chronicle of Edward I, The
Old Wives’ Tale

Greene was a poet,
pamphleteer, proto-novelist and playwright. He is Powerful for his Romantic
setting. His plays include Alphonsus, King of Aragon, Orlando
, Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay

Kyd brought the Senecan taste of
horror ghost, hanging, stabbing, madness , pistolling and suicide. He
influenced Shakespeare also. His notable contribution is Spanish Tragedy
which follows the line of Elizabethan Revenge tragedy.

Marlowe typifies the Renaissance
spirit more completely than any other University Wits. He made heroic theme
popular. Marlowe’s used of blank verse as an effective and pliant medium of
tragic utterance. All his plays are tragedies- Tamburlaine, The
Jew of Malta
, Edward II, Doctor

Lodge was popular for his romance, Rosalynde.
His only original play is The
Woundes of Civile War

Nash made tremendous contribution
to comedy. His comedies attack so many current abuses in the state. His most
popular play is Summer’s Last Will and Testament.
The constellation of University
wits made the Elizabethan drama more popular with Renaissance humanism and
pride of patriotism. English drama for the first time in their hands recognized
its potentialities and exuberance. They wrote classical plays, courtly
comedies, farces, chronicle plays, melodramas etc. They gave thrill, action,
sensation, hum our and music. Undeniably the University Wits paved the way for
Shakespeare and other playwrights of the coming of ages. 

2 thoughts on “Who are University Wits? Evaluate their contribution to Elizabethan drama.”

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