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Ralph Roister Doister   By: (1505-1556)

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Ralph Roister Doister, written by Nicholas Udall, is an extraordinary play that takes readers on an enjoyable journey through the misadventures of its main character, Ralph Roister Doister. Set in sixteenth-century England, this delightful comedy provides a fascinating glimpse into society and relationships of the time.

Udall’s play is beautifully crafted, with a clever and witty script that keeps readers engaged from start to finish. The characters are distinct and well-developed, each adding their own unique flavor to the story. Ralph Roister Doister, the foolish yet endearing protagonist, consistently finds himself in absurd situations, resulting in hilarious outcomes. His unwavering persistence in his quest for love, despite his lack of charm and intelligence, is both entertaining and relatable.

The play is enriched by a strong supporting cast of characters. Dame Christian Custance, a wealthy widow and Ralph's love interest, portrays a strong and independent woman who demands respect, challenging the traditional gender roles of the time. Other memorable characters, such as Gawyn Goodluck and Matthew Merrygreek, bring laughter and joviality to the play, ensuring that each scene is brimming with humor.

What makes Ralph Roister Doister truly exceptional is its use of language and comedic timing. Udall’s mastery of puns, wordplay, and innuendo adds depth and layers to the comedy, offering readers multiple levels of enjoyment. Furthermore, the seamless incorporation of slapstick humor and farcical elements ensures that there is never a dull moment.

While the play is undeniably humorous, it also touches on societal themes and norms of the time. Udall subtly critiques the conventions of courtship, satirizing the foolishness and often absurdity of wooing rituals. Through Ralph’s futile attempts to win Dame Custance, Udall highlights the superficiality and pretense often associated with love and courtly behavior.

Although Ralph Roister Doister was written over four centuries ago, its relevance and entertainment value have not diminished. This classic play remains timeless, proving that comedy transcends time and societal changes. Udall’s witty and insightful writing ensures that readers of all generations can appreciate and enjoy this masterpiece.

In conclusion, Ralph Roister Doister is a brilliantly written play that combines humor, romance, and social commentary to provide an enjoyable reading experience. Nicholas Udall’s clever script and well-drawn characters make this comedic journey through sixteenth-century England an absolute delight. Whether you are a fan of classic literature or simply looking for an entertaining read, Ralph Roister Doister is sure to captivate and leave you in stitches.

First Page:

[Transcriber's Note:

This e text is for users whose text readers cannot use the "real" (utf 8, unicode) version of the file. The [oe] ligature has been "unpacked" into two letters, and the single Greek word in the advertising section is shown in marks. In the ascii version, [ae] has been similarly unpacked, and a few other characters replaced or modified.

Words shown between marks were printed in black letter ("gothic") type; lines represent italics. Letters printed as superscripts are shown in {braces}.

Except for footnote and illustration markers, all brackets [ ] are in the original. The symbol shown as "(,',)" low 9, high 6, low 6, the whole in parentheses has not been identified.

Punctuation and capitalization in the play itself are unchanged. Note that the character descriptor "Harpax" a word, not a name is generally given in italics, not in blackletter, as is the word "Omnes".]

English Reprints.

NICHOLAS UDALL, M.A. Master, in succession, of Eton College and Westminster School.

ROISTER DOISTER. Written, probably also represented, before 1553.

Carefully Edited from the Unique Copy, Now at Eton College,

by EDWARD ARBER, Associate, King's College, London, F.R.G.S., &c.

London: 5 Queen Square, Bloomsbury, W... Continue reading book >>

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