chapter  One
Pages 18

The most important writer of tragedy in the Jacobean era, of course, is William Shakespeare. Shakespeare reveals his affinity to the Jacobean dramatists who were his fellows and successors. This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book examines the moral vision of six dramatists by means of a close analysis of selected plays, and each play will be approached according to the particular technique upon which the individual dramatists most heavily depend. It suggests that these dramatists, like Shakespeare, are always more interested in mankind than in individual men, and that they rarely hesitate to sacrifice the consistency of character portraiture to the needs of the larger symbolic statement which is the play as a whole. John Marston is in many ways a greater dramatist than Thomas Heywood, and he certainly left a heritage which his contemporaries more assiduously imitated.