The Emergence of the Tragedian

By 1600, international trade routes, which had been centered around the Mediterranean Sea for centuries were almost entirely based around Northern Atlantic countries like Spain, France and England.The economic explosion, and widespread circulation of money that came with this was accompanied by the invention of the printing press.Because of the newfound ability to spread information that the printing press afforded, the period is marked by scientific advancement, a return to intellectual and artistic ideals, national pride, and a sense of individual empowerment never before seen.
It was also at this time that the previously dubious profession of acting, or "playing" moved slowly from the ouskirts of societal acceptance to having a central cultural role in England.The actor attained a respect and place in society which he did not previously possess.This was marked by a shift in popular taste, critical attention, and financial compensation from the comedic rustic clowns to more dramatic tragedians.This is significant because it was at this time that England produced its most highly acclaimed dramatic works, the most basic foundations of skillful acting are established, and acting gains enough respect to remain an important art form in the centuries to come.
Before the printing press, the widely-held concept of social structure was that of a fixed one.The individual existed in a chain of being which accounted for all God's creatures and placed them in a hierarchy that could not be altered.There was little upward mobility socially or financially for the individual Englishman and there was a strong aristocratic presence.With the printing press and the explosion of accessible knowledge that came with it, and the economic rebirth of England at this time, the individual was granted a new optimism.The printed word, as opposed to the spoken word, is individualistic in nature.The act of reading is an indi…


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