The Commonwealth and Restoration

1649-1713

 

 

Setting the Scene

1640 The Puritans (Roundheads) and the king’s followers (Cavaliers) went to war against each other.

1649 Execution of King Charles I. Oliver Cromwell Became the leader of the Commonwealth

1658 Death of Oliver Cromwell

1660 Parliament invited Charles I’s son to return from France. He was made king as Charles II.

1685 Death of Charles II, his brother King James II became king

1688 Glorious or Blood Revolution, and no Catholic monarch has reigned since then

 

It was also time of war in Europe, the War of the Spain Succession lasting from 1701 until Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. The United Kingdom was finally united when the Union of the Parliaments of England and Scotland took place in 1707.

 

The main concern of the time was to avoid another revolution. The spirit of the Restoration was one of the reason; society did not want to see again the king of problems of the first half of the century.

 

1662-3 The Royal Society was begun

1694 another important institution, the Bank of England , was begun

 

The main philosophical text behind the thinking of the century was Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes,written in  exile in France in 1651.

It was also a time of war in Europe, the war of the Spanish Succession lasting from 1701 until the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 The United Kingdom was finally untied when the Union of the Parliaments of England and Scotland took place in 1707.

 

Poetry, Politics and John Milton

The period between the execution of King Charles I in 1649 and the Restoration of the monarchy with his son Charles II in 1660 is called the Commonwealth. Oliver Cromwell, leader of the Roundheads, was named Lord Protector oh the nation, One of the main texts of the Commonwealth is poem by Andrew Marvell, ‘An Horatian Ode upon Cromwell’s Return from Ireland’(1650), it was called ‘the greatest political poem in English’

 

John Bunyan

The Pilgrim's Progress published in 1678, and second part in 1684

                                   

                                    There’s no discouragement

                                    Shall make him once relent

                                    His first avowed intent

                                    To be a pilgrim.

 

Augustans and Satires

Set against John Bunyan religious kind of writing is the poetry of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, whom his wife became a kind of symbol of the Restoration.

 

The long satirical poem Hudibras by Samuel Butler, published in three parts between 1663 and 1678, was one of the such poems.

 

John Dryden was a master of satire in poetry after the Restoration

Plots, true or false , are necessary things,
To raise up commonwealths and ruin kings   

 

Restoration Drama

Comedy

Dryden wrote more then twenty plays, and was especially successful in the new genre of tragicomedy, of which the best-known example is Marriage-a-la-Mode(1672)

His famous tragedy is All for Love(1678)

After the Restoration, drama and theater were quite different from

What they had been during the Renaissance.

There were now only two public licensed theatres.

 

Tragedy and Serious Drama

Both Dryden and his rival Shadwell wrote new version of the plays of Shakespeare.

Dryden wrote a successful version of the Tempest (1667) and another of Troilus and Cressida (1679)

Thomas Otway,he died in the age of 33. His famous play was Venice Preserv’d (1682)