Home  »  Volume V: English THE DRAMA TO 1642 Part One  »  § 6. Horestes

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume IV. Prose and Poetry: Sir Thomas North to Michael Drayton.

IV. Early English Tragedy

§ 6. Horestes

The title of Horestes, “A Newe Enterlude of Vice, Conteyning the Historye of Horestes, &c.” indicates its combination of historical and moral interests, or, rather, the attempt—not very successful—to subject what was regarded as history to a moral aim. The Vice prompts Horestes to revenge his father by the murder of his mother, for whom Nature pleads in vain; but, instead of suffering retribution, as in Greek tragedy, he marries Hermione and is crowned king of Mycene by Truth and Duty. The moralising at the end of the play has no vital or logical connection with the story, and is almost as conventional as the final prayer for Elizabeth, her council, the nobility and spirituality, the judges, the lord mayor and all his brethren, with the commonalty.