Women in Theatre Term Paper

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Tragedy of Mariam" by Elizabeth Cary

Elizabeth Cary is an Englishwoman who received acclaim because of her written play, "The Tragedy of Mariam," which was written in 17th century England. Born to aristocracy, Cary was known as the first Englishwoman who wrote English drama, and the play "The Tragedy of Mariam," is considered a 'closet drama,' because it is not perform for the public. Rather closet dramas are only narrated in private, and by a small group of people. The play is an adaptation of a Biblical account in the Holy Bible, as Cary begins professing her faith to Catholicism, which was a forbidden and unpopular religion in the society during Cary's time.

The play is said to have many parallelisms to Cary's life, especially the portrayal of the role of Mariam as the wife of Herod. The first similarity that Mariam had with Cary's life is that both have husbands who oppose their wives' belief in Catholicism. Mariam was a Maccabean Jew, while her wife Herod was a Jew of Idumean lineage. Idumeans are not considered to be 'true' families of Judaism, thereby seeing a difference between Mariam and Herod. Cary was also married to a man and lived in a society wherein Catholicism was taboo. While Mariam's religion is considered acceptable to the society, while Herod's Idumean roots are not, Cary suffered hostility by her husband, Sir Henry, because her husband does not approve of Catholicism and its practice. Religious beliefs is one of the themes in Cary's play that illustrates how Mariam's life can be considered to be a reflection of Cary's life during her 'imprisonment' because of her yearning to read and learn about various things in life.

Another similarity that Mariam's life had with that…

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