Richard Edwards: Damon and Pythias

(741 words)
  • Ros King (University of Southampton)

This play is the first acknowledged tragi-comedy in English and was written by Richard Edwards for a court performance by the Children of the Chapel Royal at Christmas 1564-5. It would have been staged in the main hall of the palace and, in the tradition of the performance of classical drama, in front of “houses” made of timber frames covered in painted canvas (representing, in this case, the court of Dionysius and the town of Syracuse). Written in a mixture of irregular rhyming couplets, ballad metre, regular stanzaic poetry and both popular and serious song, it is an interesting attempt to use differing poetic forms to create both character (Prologue 14-26) and dramatic pace and structure.

Published in 1571 (reprinted …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

King, Ros. "Damon and Pythias". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 June 2002
[, accessed 27 September 2016.]