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THOMAS HUGHES

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V13, Page 861 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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THOMAS HUGHES, English dramatist, a native of Cheshire, entered Queens' College, Cambridge, in 1571. He graduated and became a fellow of his college in 1576, and was afterwards a member of Gray's Inn. He wrote The Misfortunes of Arthur. Uther Pendragon's son reduced into tragical notes by Thomas Hughes, which was performed at Greenwich in the Queen's presence on the 28th of February 1588. Nicholas Trotte provided the introduction, Francis Flower the choruses of Acts I. and II., William Fulbeck two speeches, while three other gentlemen of Gray's Inn, one of whom was Francis Bacon, undertook the care of the dumb show. The argument.of the play, based on a story of incest and crime, was borrowed, in accordance with Senecan tradition, from mythical history, and the treatment is in close accordance with the model. The ghost of Gorlois, who was slain by Uther Pendragon, opens the play with a speech that reproduces passages spoken by the ghost of Tantalus in the Thyestes; the tragic events are announced by a messenger, and the chorus comments on the course of the action. Dr W. J. Cunliffe has proved that Hughes's memory was saturated with Seneca, and that the play may be resolved into a patchwork of translations, with occasional original lines. Appendix II. to his exhaustive essay On the Influence of Seneca on Elizabethan Tragedy (1893) gives a long list of parallel passages. The Misfortunes of Arthur was reprinted in J. P. Collier's supplement to Dodsley's Old Plays; and by Harvey Carson Grumline (Berlin, 1900), who points out that Hughes's source was Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Britonum, not the Morte D'Arthur.
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