University of Illinois

The Antitheatrical Prejudice


Al other evils pollute the doers onlie, not the beholders, or the hearers. For a man may heare a blasphemer, and not be partaker of his sacriledge, inasmuch as in minde he dissenteth. And if one come while a roberie is a doing, he is cleere, because he abhors the fact. Onlie the filthines of plaies, and spectacles is such, as maketh both the actors & beholders giltie alike. For while they saie nought, but gladlie looke on, they al by sight and assent be actors.

     (From A Second and Third Blast of Retrait from Plaies and Theaters printed in The English Drama and Stage Under the Tudor and Stuart Princes 1543-1664, ed. W. C. Hazlitt (London, 1869, 104). Quoted in Barish, 80)

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