Thomas Middleton's Prodigal Play


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

The prodigal play has long been viewed as an interesting hybird in the history of English drama, fascinating in its incorporation of Roman and native dramatic traditions in spite of the fact that, being tied to the biblical parable and its continental models for narrative shape and didactic message, it was an essentially sterile form which happily died by the 1580's.1 Recent criticism has demonstrated the vitality of the "paradigm," as Ervin Beck has usefully called it, of the prodigal son,2 but has not yet explored the evolution of the wastrel who must learn, repent or be punished into the engagingly witty center of intrigue of Jacobean city comedy.

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.