chapter  Three
Thomas Heywood
Pages 22

The most prolific dramatist by far of the entire Elizabethan and Jacobean period was Thomas Heywood, having had a hand, by his own account, in some two hundred and twenty plays. Charles Lamb may have most perfectly summed up the significance of Heywood when he called him a prose Shakespeare. A Woman Killed with Kindness has not generally been admired for its moral content; indeed this has appeared to most critics as bordering close to the absurd. Heywood's Roman tragedy is a far lesser work than either of Jonson's, but it does attempt a cosmic range of which Jonson was incapable. Heywood attempted also to embody in his tragedy the moral viewpoint of Shakespeare's masterpiece. The Rape of Lucrece, like Macbeth, is concerned with the destruction of order and its restitution through the working out of evil, on the personal, the political and the cosmic levels.