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In the 10th century, Hrosvitha wrote six plays in Latin modeled on Terence's comedies, but which treated religious subjects. 1300), one of the earliest known in English, seems to be the closest in tone and form to the contemporaneous French farces, such as The Boy and the Blind Man.
A large number of plays survive from France and Germany in the late Middle Ages, when some type of religious drama was performed in nearly every European country.
Authors of this period drew some of their storylines from Greek mythology and Roman mythology or from the plays of eminent Roman playwrights such as Plautus and Terence.
Restoration comedy is known for its sexual explicitness, urbane, cosmopolitan wit, up-to-the-minute topical writing, and crowded and bustling plots.
One of the great flowerings of drama in England occurred in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Many of these plays were written in verse, particularly iambic pentameter.
The Second Shepherds' Play from the Wakefield cycle is a farcical story of a stolen sheep that its protagonist, Mak, tries to pass off as his new-born child asleep in a crib; it ends when the shepherds from whom he has stolen are summoned to the Nativity of Jesus.
Morality plays (a modern term) emerged as a distinct dramatic form around 1400 and flourished in the early Elizabethan era in England.
Aeschylus' historical tragedy The Persians is the oldest surviving drama, although when it won first prize at the City Dionysia competition in 472 BC, he had been writing plays for more than 25 years.In addition to Shakespeare, such authors as Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Middleton, and Ben Jonson were prominent playwrights during this period.As in the medieval period, historical plays celebrated the lives of past kings, enhancing the image of the Tudor monarchy.Tragic dramatists were required to present a tetralogy of plays (though the individual works were not necessarily connected by story or theme), which usually consisted of three tragedies and one satyr play (though exceptions were made, as with Euripides' Alcestis in 438 BC).Comedy was officially recognized with a prize in the competition from 487 to 486 BC.