John Marston

Definition

Theater

  • (c. 1575 - 1634) English playwright who wrote 13plays between 1599 and 1609, his two finest being the tragicomedyThe Malcontent (1604) and the comedy The Dutch Courtesan(1605). He is noted for his violent imagery and his preoccupationwith mankind's failure to uphold Christian virtues. Other plays includethe tragedies Antonio's Revenge and Antonio and Mellida(both 1599) and the comedy What You Will (1601).

    At the turn of the century Marston became involved in theso-called war of the theaters, a prolonged feud with hisrival Ben Jonson. Jonson repeatedly satirized him in suchplays as Every Man Out of His Humour (1599) and The Poetaster(1601), while Marston replied in Satiromastix (with ThomasDekker; 1601). Their squabble ended in time for the two to collaboratewith George Chapman on the ill-fated Eastward Ho! (1605),which resulted in all three authors being briefly imprisoned. Marstonwas later imprisoned for offending James I with his tragedy TheInsatiate Countess (1610). After his release he took holy ordersand wrote no more plays.

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