Keith Sturgess, Thomas Heywood
Three Elizabethan Domestic Tragedies
Elizabethan domestic tragedies depicted the workings of Fortune in the lives of ordinary people, telling stories of sin, discovery, punishment and divine mercy, with their settings and characterization often enhanced by a highly entertaining blend of realism and sensationalism. Only some half-dozen survive to offset the dramas of kings and nobles in the tragedies of Shakespeare and his peers. They combined journalism and entertainment with a didactic concern, and their plots were often derived from contemporary events. Arden of Faversham (1592) and A Yorkshire Tragedy (1608) are both based on chronicles or pamphlets describing authentic murders, while A Woman Killed with Kindness (1603) by Thomas Heywood is a fictional creation, considered his masterpiece.