Tecnical and thematic developments in three representative comedy of manners: Wycherley's The Country Wife, Etheregels The Man of Mode and Congreve's The Way of the World
Dinçel, Melahat Sibel
MetadataShow full item record
1660 yılının Mayıs ayında II. Charles' in Parlemento tarafından ingiltere'ye davet edilmesi ve tahta oturtulmasıyla İngiltere tarihinde "Restorasyon" olarak anılan yeni bir devir başlamış oldu. Bu durum iç savaşlardan ve Oliver Cromwell 'in takip eden on yıllık baskılı yönetiminden bunalmış olan İngiliz halkının, kral idaresinin İngiltere'ye yeniden ılımlı bir hava getireceğine inanmak istemesinden kaynaklanıyordu. Charles Stuart uzun süredir sürgünde olduğu Fransa'dan tahta davet edildiğinde orada bulunan soylu arkadaşlarını da beraberinde getirdi. Bu durum Fransız usul ve zarafetini, ve aynı zaman da o sıralarda altın çağını yaşamakta olan Fransız edebiyatı hayran lığını da ister istemez İngiltere'ye taşıdı. Restorasyon döneminde tiyatro ve dram sanatı, özellikle Kral ve onun asilleri tarafından destek gördüğünden, en verimli tür olarak ortaya çıktı. Daha önce Püritanlar tarafından kapatılmış olan tiyatrolar II. Charles tarafından açıldı; yetenekli gençler tiyatro sanatı ve bu sanatla ilgili son teknikleri öğrenmek ve bunların Avrupadan İngiltere'ye getirilmesini sağlamak amacıyla Fransa'ya gönderildiler. Kralın bu desteği Restorasyon dönemi oyun yazarlarını da teşvik etti. Böylece William Wycherley, Sir George Etherege ve Sir Charles Sedley gibi isimler tiyatro-sever Kral I iv, 'Charles'! memnun edecek oyunlar ve özellikle komediler yazmaya başladılar.With the invitation of a monarch, Charles II back to the throne on May 1660 a new era, known as the "Restoration", began in English history. Thus, after after a period of civil strife (1642- 49) and of a decade's restriction (1649-1659) under Oliver Cromwell's Puritan regime, the English were once more eager to believe that the King would bring a spirit of moderation back into the country. Charles Stuart, when invited to the throne came from France together with his Court. He had been living in exile there for quite a long time and had inevitably brought to England French fashions and elegance as well as an admiration for contemporary French literature which was living its golden age. During the Restoration period in England, drama seemed to be the most prolific genre, particularly for it was \iery much encouraged by the restored King and his noblemen. The King reopened the theatres which were previously closed down by the Puritans and sent promising young men abroad to France to learn and to import to England the current techniques of dramaturgy from Europe. This royal encouragement also stimulated the Restoration dramatists. Gentlemen like William Wycherley' Sir George Etherege and Sir Charles Sedley began to produce plays, especially comedies, that would please the theatre-loving King Charles II and would perhaps win favour at his court. Added onto the two other forms of play, heroic and Res toration tragedies ', which flourished during the Restoration, comedy of manners appeared as a third form, and obviously because the res tored nobility desired to be entertained. This type of comedy, fre quently misinterpreted as artificial and immoral, actually display ed and satirized not only the follies of the members of the Restora tion upper-class but also some of the malpractices in the society. The period in which the Restoration comedy of manners took its real shape cannot be limited to Charles II "s reign, that is between 1660 and 1685. The comedy of manners was not a form peculiar to. the reign of Charles II. It was born at that particular time most significantly with William Wycherley's The Coumıüıy itilme. (1674?), standardized with Sir George Etherege's The, Man o£ Mode. (1676), but was brought to fulfillment only in the last years of the seventeenth- century, during William and Mary's rein, especially with William Congreve's The, Way oi the. Would (1700). Technically speaking, the flat types of Wycherley's play gradually developed in Etherege's, but turned under Congreve's treat ment almost into round characters. Moreover, the doublz entendne. and pun which Wycherley and Etherege employed in their comedies ceased to hold place in Congreve's works. Instead, the witty dialogues, already introduced in the plays of Wycherley and Etherege dominated Congreve's play and therefore rendered it the most refined. viii. Along with this refinement of language there also appear ed a refinement in the tone of satire. The immediately condemning bitter satire of Wycherley turned into a mora tolerant and unders tanding criticism in Congreve. Furthermore, until Congreve' s time* other developments took within the structure of these comedies. The lower and the higher plots, which distinguished the good from the bad characters in Wycherley' s and Etherege's plays, disappeared in Congreve's for the latter had rendered the relationships between the characters more complex, and hence presented them in one whole plot. Also among the three set scenes of the Restoration comedies the lady and the maid scene, and the proviso scene which are ab sent in. Wycherl ey ' s The. Country W-c^e. and which are partly developed in Etherege's The. Man oi Mode, appear in their fullest terms only in Gongreve's The. Way ofi the. Wontd. However, despite all these developments in the technique of the Restoration comedy of manners, the genre goes through no significant change with regard to themes. However, Wycherl ey ' s, Etherege's and Congreve1 s method of handling of their practically common yet serious themes enable them to free the genre of the accu sations of superfluousness and immorality.