Richard Edwards: Damon and Pythias

(741 words)
  • Ros King

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 (…

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King, Ros. "Damon and Pythias". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 June 2002
[, accessed 30 May 2015.]