Article Title

Episodic Structure in Four Tudor Plays: A Virtue of Necessity


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

A decade ago, David Bevington showed in a major work of imaginative scholarship that the structure of plays "offered for acting" to professional troupes in the Tudor period is directly traceable to the personnel of those troupes.1 He explained the episodic arrangement of the Tudor morality play as a necessity for small professional acting companies forced to make efficient use of actors by doubling roles. The tendency of characters to disappear from the action of Tudor morality plays either permanently or for long periods of acting time reflects, according to his convincing analysis, the repeated costume changes made necessary by this doubling of roles. Bevington's achievement is to make us see practical causes for effects that once were generally attributed, quasi-mystically, to a putative medieval cast of mind which saw events as disjointed fragments of linear time.

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