A huge political upheaval preceded Restoration period. In 1649, Charles I was executed by the Puritans. The Parliament strongly disagreed with the divine right of kings or absolute monarchy. Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans took control, establishing the Commonwealth. .. . Oliver Cromwell was a virtual dictator, says Brockett. During the eighteen years between 1642 and 1660, the Puritans sought to stamp out theatrical activity (233). This eighteen years was the period of Civil War. With the Cromwell’s death, however, the Loyalist resumed their power and began controlling over the government. People were sick and fed up with the years of war. CharlesII was living in exile and was spending substantial time with Louis XIV. Charles II was finally invited back to England and reclaimed the throne for Stuart dynasty.
Professor Luciano described Charles II as “Merry King.” This
king was lazy and pleasure loving, spending substantial amount of money.
He was interested in science too. When he came back to England,
he brought a taste of French, such as wigs and mode of dress. This
is so-called Frenchfication of English culture.
On Friday, I was very pleased to watch a film, Restoration. The
costume pinpointed this Frenchfication of English culture and made a significant
impact on overall film production. Music was very rich in terms of
the instrumentation. In particular, the strings orchestra beautifully
played the theme at a couple of scenes, which amplified the character’s
emotion. The melody was very simple but did stick in my head. The
film was an excellent choice because the visual gave me a clear image of
the time. The issues of population growth as well as a spread of
plague are present in this film, which justify the time and place. Great
fire in London is also depicted at the crisis scene. Using Charles
II as Deus ex Maquina, the film resolved the hero’s journey to a
The drama written during the Restoration period can be divided into two
categories: Restoration comedy and Restoration comedy of the manner
or intrigue. One of the works in the former is Wycheley’s The
Country Wife. Moral ambiguity and the aspects of satire characterize
this play as Restoration comedy. The character Mr. Honor is a mirror
image of Charles II. For the latter, Brockett writes, “The
best example of this [comedy of intrigue] genre is Aphra Behn’s Rover
. . . Behn was the first woman anywhere known to have made her living as
a playwright” (238). Almost all of the Restoration comic dramas
accounted for loosing up the time, projecting an image of Charles II. The
whole tone of drama shifted because women were allowed to perform on stage
for the first time in English drama history.