BRITAIN 1625-1702



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BRITAIN 1625-1702

It’s very important for us to have a clear idea of the religious make-up of the country.
There were 3 groups:
The Church of England → this was the official state Church as established by Henry VIII and it didn’t differ so much from the Roman Catholic Church. To many people it was a living symbol of the independence from corruption of the Pope.
The Roman Catholic Church.
Protestants → they believed that the way to salvation lay in a life of hard work.
1629 → Charles I dissolved Parliament and ruled for 11 without one.
The Puritans didn’t accept this discrimination, so the House of Commons became gradually
1640→ Charles I tried to reopen Parliament to ask for taxes to finance a war in Scotland, but
Parliament refused to help him.
1642 → Parliament took control of the army: the Civil War was inevitable.
1649 → Parliament army won and Charles I was executed.
→ the 11 years of the Commonwealth, under Cromwell’s control.
1660 → Oliver Cromwell died, went back to the monarchy in the form of Charles II and he before
making decisions, consulted Parliament.
1685 → James II came to the throne, and he wanted to establish Catholicism as the official religion
in the land.
1689 → the Glorious Revolution ( victory of Williams III)
→ Bill of Rights.

The features of metaphysical poetry are:
the use of conceits (it draws a comparison between 2 strikingly things and it uses subjects from astronomy, geography..);
the argumentative quality of the love poems: the poet tries to persuade his lover to share his point of view;
the dramatic quality of the language: it seems a dialogue between the poet and his lover, God or himself;
the use of wit (ingenuity in literary invention), paradoxes (statements that seem self-contradictory or absurd), puns (play on words).

Paradise Lost is a poem that observes the classical epic conventions:
the hero is a figure of great importance: Adam represents the entire human race;
the setting of the poem is ample: Earth, Heaven and Hell;
the action involves superhuman deeds in battle and an arduous journey;
it is narrated in elevated style, created by the use of Latinate, words and syntax;
the narrator begin invoking a muse;
the narrative starts when the action is at a critical point.

Comedy of Manners is the type of play created and performed during the Restoration:
it reflected the life of the Court (immoral, elegant, intelligent..);
critic of middle-class values and ideals, all above the institution of marriage;
dialogues were prose rather than verse;
new male characters were created: gallant (the hero of the play) and the fop (figure of fun);
female characters had no feelings or morals, their only interest was fashion;
the characters had name that underlined some aspects of their personality.