John Gay: Dione: A Pastoral Tragedy

(1887 words)

Gay wrote Dione: A Pastoral Tragedy in the latter part of 1719. The play is a pastoral, verse tragedy in heroic couplets, written in a serious, romantic vein, altogether different from Gay’s usual ironic, burlesque style. It is highly stylised and it is difficult for the reader to imagine it being performed with any success on the stage. It reads more like a closet drama, exploring the competing claims of natural feeling and courtly convention, with about half the lines devoted to pastoral scene-setting in the plains and woods of Arcadia and a good number of the rest to mournful soliloquising by any one of the three main characters. Dione reads better as pastoral poetry than one can imagine it being acted as compelling …

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Gordon, Ian. "Dione: A Pastoral Tragedy". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 February 2005
[, accessed 30 September 2016.]