Heroic Drama

As pointed out, heroic drama is interconnected with Restoration period in British history. Eugene M. Waith opined that, Consequently, when ‘heroic play’ or ‘heroic drama’ are mentioned, we think first of the period 1660-1700 (1). During this period England was undergoing internal problems. So, exaggerated heroes and heroism presented in the heroic drama well suited the context of nationalism. One can see that the main playwrights during this period, like John Dryden supported heroic drama because it helped to spread the message of nationalism among the mass. The Comedy of Manners was another dramatic form during the Restoration period. But this dramatic form did not gain much approval from the mass because it did not suit the problems faced by the nation. The political and social condition of England during Restoration Period was most suitable for the evolution of heroic drama. For instance, Restoration period in England is generally known as the restoration of monarchy. During this period, England adopted an innovative form of political ideology related to monarchy. Earlier, during the reign of Oliver Cromwell, the context of drama faced a number of problems because most of the theatres in England were forced to close.
But during the Restoration period, most of the theaters were reopened and it resulted in the growth and development of sub-genres in drama. For instance, Restoration comedy is another genre in drama which was accepted by the British audience. Still, the scope of heroic drama was evident because the British society was undergoing political and social transformation. So, the Restoration dramatists adopted innovative themes discarded by the dramatists in other ages. , like Elizabethan age. The proponents of heroic drama discarded imagination and adopted exaggeration of historical/political events and heroism. To be specific, exaggeration of heroism is the core element of nationalistic feeling. So, the ultimate aim of the supporters of heroic drama was not to establish the dramatic element of plays, but to establish heroism and to nurture nationalism. Besides, heroic couplet was the metrical form adopted by the heroic drama playwrights. During this age, John Dryden made use of this metrical form to defend his positive attitude towards heroic drama. In short, the historical evolution of heroic drama proves that the same can be regarded as the end result of the ideas put forth prominent dramatists during Restoration period to exaggerate heroism and to inculcate nationalistic feeling. Definition Heroic drama can be defined as a generic variation with the context of Restoration drama, in which verse/prose form is prominent, deals with optimism and describes the heroic deeds of the protagonist who is search of adventure. The usage of heroic drama in relation to society In the British society, heroic drama acted the role of a medium to transform the society and to establish the influence of monarch over the mass. During the first half of the 17th century, British theatres were not allowed open because political turmoil was curbing the scope of entertainment. Bridget Orr stated that, Debates over literature in England from 1660 to 1714 all bear the impression of patriotism, a sense of national rivalry which extends backwards to Greece and