Marriage A-la-Mode Research Papers
The play, Marriage A-La-Mode, can be the subject of a custom research paper. Written by John Dryden, our writers will look at his socially relevant play and outline the context of the play or any aspect of it for you.
John Dryden was an English poet and dramatist whose works dominated the literary efforts during the Restoration. In 1962, Dryden produced Marriage A-la-Mode, a comedy depicting the battle of the sexes yet one that is also reflective of the social order of the time.
- During Dryden’s time, many changes in politics, religion, science, music, architecture, and culture were occurring.
- Dryden commented so extensively on these social events that he was often referred to as a public rather than a private writer.
- Dryden himself stated that his genius lay in his ability to adapt his works to the demands of the audience as well as his ability to justify his plays to the public.
- The audience for his plays consisted of a highly exclusive one in that there were only two licensed public playhouses in all of Restoration London.
In many ways, Marriage a la Mode reflects the beliefs of society during the Restoration. For instance, a large number of the heroes of the Restoration comedies portray “gentlemen” of high social circles and their tendency to favor their neighbors wives over their own. The opening song in Marriage a la Mode reflects the bawdiness and raucousness of the age, especially among the aristocratic classes:
If I have Pleasures for a Friend,
And farther love in store,
What wrong has he whose joys did end,
And who cou'd give no more?
'Tis a madness that he
Should be jealous of me,
Or that I shou'd bar him of another:
For all we can gain,
Is to give our selves pain,
When neither can hinder the other.
As seen by the song above, a common tactic used during this time was the idea of moral emancipation and an interest in sexual experimentation. It is these assumptions of the time that a large part of the play is based upon.
When the play opens, Palamede overhears Doralice singing the song that condones infidelity. Although Palamede is first intrigued by the words of the song he soon becomes intrigued with the singer as he notices her beauty. When Doralice informs Palamede that she is married, Palamede is even more attracted to her. Doralice shows her own willingness to break away from the confines of moral codes when she agrees to meet Palamede for a tryst.
Doralice’s husband Rhodophil has secrets of his own. When he meets up with Palamede he greets him as a friend and accompanies him to court. On the way, Rhodophil tells Palamede of the problems in his marriage. Palamede, having already shown his own distain for the institution of marriage suggests that Rhodophil find a lover. Rhodophil confirms that his thoughts were already heading in that direction. His only problem lies in the fact that the woman of his desires in highly wrapped up in court society.