Read Sejanus, His Fall by Ben Jonson Free Online
Book Title: Sejanus, His Fall|
The author of the book: Ben Jonson
Edition: Nick Hern Books
Date of issue: September 1st 2005
ISBN 13: 9781854598622
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 35.70 MB
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Reader ratings: 3.1
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This is a moderately entertaining play to read. It moves quickly and features some nice poetry as well as a crescendo of action that leads to a surprise twist at the end. Overall, though, its purpose outweighs its art. Jonson’s theme is painted with a blunt brush. Sejanus is a stock villain. There’s little subtlety or nuance in his portrayal.
Where another artist may have been ambiguous about Sejanus’ purposes, Jonson leaves no gray. Shakespeare’s Roman plays, Julius Caesar and Coriolanus, by comparison present a more nuanced picture. Was Caesar’s intent to name himself a god? Was Coriolanus’ betrayal of his nation justified? And yet if Jonson wanted to create a Richard III type of villain, he needed to bring Sejanus more to the front.
But this is social play, and Jonson’s Rome is a bleak place. There is no promise of a better world after Sejanus. In fact, it is practically certain that Sejanus will not be replaced by anyone better. This would have been a great opportunity to present an ambiguous environment, driven by fear, spies and lust for power. But Jonson chose to essentially create flat characters.
If you’re interested in reading a Ben Jonson play, I’d suggest starting with Bartholmew Fair. You could, however, do worse than reading Sejanus. The Revels Plays edition is an excellent version to choose.
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Read information about the authorBenjamin Jonson was an English Renaissance dramatist, poet and actor. A contemporary of William Shakespeare, he is best known for his satirical plays, particularly Volpone, The Alchemist, and Bartholomew Fair, which are considered his best, and his lyric poems. A man of vast reading and a seemingly insatiable appetite for controversy, Jonson had an unparalleled breadth of influence on Jacobean and Caroline playwrights and poets. A house in Dulwich College is named after him.
See more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Jonson
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