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Chastelard, a tragedy   By: (1837-1909)

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Chastelard, a tragedy by Algernon Charles Swinburne, is a captivating piece of literature that combines historical context with intense emotional turmoil. Set in the backdrop of the turbulent court of Mary, Queen of Scots, this play explores the forbidden love between the queen and her favorite courtier, Chastelard.

Swinburne's poetic and lyrical style shines throughout the play, capturing the essence of the Renaissance era and its intricate complexities. The author's use of vivid imagery and powerful metaphors creates a rich and immersive atmosphere that fully transports readers to the royal court of Scotland, where political intrigue and personal desires intertwine.

One of the most striking aspects of this tragedy is Swinburne's ability to portray the intensity of Chastelard and Mary's illicit affair. The overwhelming passion and undeniable longing that transcend societal norms and obligations are palpable. Through their dialogues and soliloquies, Swinburne exposes the raw emotions that haunt both characters, illustrating the eternal struggle between love and duty.

Furthermore, the play masterfully addresses the themes of power, loyalty, and personal sacrifice. Swinburne skillfully explores the consequences of love in the face of political aspirations, delving into the moral dilemmas faced by the characters. In depicting Chastelard's internal struggle to choose between his devotion to Mary and his loyalty to his native France, the author presents a thought-provoking exploration of the human condition and the complexities of human desire.

Moreover, the language and structure of the play are a testament to Swinburne's poetic prowess. The rhythmic flow of the verse and the eloquent use of language create a musicality that enhances the emotional impact of the story. Swinburne's play is not only intellectually stimulating but also a delight to read, as it showcases his deep understanding of the art of poetry.

However, it is worth noting that Chastelard may not be for everyone. The language can be dense and intricate, demanding the reader's full attention. The complex political landscape and the multiple characters introduced might also prove challenging to follow for those unfamiliar with the historical context. Nevertheless, for those willing to invest time and effort into the play, it offers a rewarding and thought-provoking experience.

In conclusion, Chastelard, a tragedy by Algernon Charles Swinburne, is a remarkable work that captures the essence of forbidden love, political intrigue, and personal sacrifice. With its rich language, immersive setting, and compelling characters, this play offers a profound exploration of human desires and the complexities of love in the face of duty. Swinburne's masterful storytelling and poetic genius make it a compelling read for lovers of historical drama and literature.

First Page:

Chastelard, a tragedy .

Algernon Charles Swinburne

Boston: E.P. Dutton, 1866.

(author's edition)

PERSONS.

MARY STUART. MARY BEATON. MARY SEYTON. MARY CARMICHAEL. MARY HAMILTON. PIERRE DE BOSCOSEL DE CHASTELARD. DARNLEY. MURRAY. RANDOLPH. MORTON. LINDSAY. FATHER BLACK.

Guards, Burgesses, a Preacher, Citizens, &c.

Another Yle is there toward the Northe, in the See Occean, where that ben fulle cruele and ful evele Wommen of Nature: and thei han precious Stones in hire Eyen; and their ben of that kynde, that zif they beholden ony man, thei slen him anon with the beholdynge, as dothe the Basilisk.

MAUNDEVILE'S Voiage and Travaile, Ch. xxviii.

I DEDICATE THIS PLAY, AS A PARTIAL EXPRESSION OF REVERENCE AND GRATITUDE, TO THE CHIEF OF LIVING POETS; TO THE FIRST DRAMATIST OF HIS AGE; TO THE GREATEST EXILE, AND THEREFORE TO THE GREATEST MAN OF FRANCE; TO VICTOR HUGO.

ACT I.

MARY BEATON.

SCENE I. The Upper Chamber in Holyrood.

The four MARIES.

MARY BEATON (sings):

1. Le navire Est a l'eau; Entends rire Ce gros flot Que fait luire Et bruire Le vieux sire Aquilo.

2. Dans l'espace Du grand air Le vent passe Comme un fer; Siffle et sonne, Tombe et tonne, Prend et donne A la mer... Continue reading book >>




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