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Ben Jonson (1573-1637)
Benjamin “Ben” Jonson
Was an English Renaissance dramatist, poet and actor.He is best known for his satirical plays,particularly ”Volpone”, “The Alchemist”, and ”Bartholomew Fair” Jonson was born in Westminster.His father,a clergyman died before his birth.
Ben was educated at Westminster School by William Camden, a great historian.
Jonson received honorary degrees from both Oxford and Camridge without attending them .
After School, he worked as a bricklayer and then entered the army and fought the Spaniards in Flanders. In 1595 he returned to England and began working as an actor and playwright, soon he became a dramatist of the 1st rank.
From 1605 Ben started writing masques, plays presented at court and acted mainly by the nobility and even royalty (involved music, dancing, singing,allegory, compliment to the monarchs)
The ideology of Jonson
1.Loathing and decaying feudal aristocracy. 2.He was close to Puritan Republicanism (their aim was to establish republic instead of monarchy) and hated their views about theatre as a sinful wasting of time. 3.Theatre is a mighty weapon in the moral improvement of mankind.
Among Jonson’s followers there were some novelists of the Enlightenment and later such writers as CharlesDickens, Bernard Shaw and Priestley.
Jonson died on 6 August 1637. He was buried in the north aisle of the nave in Westminster Abbey.He died in poverty, stricken by paralysis.Ben left his drama “The Sad Sheperd” unfinished.