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The Tragedy of Bussy D'Ambois (1603-07) is a Jacobean stage play written by George Chapman. Classified as either a tragedy or "contemporary history," Bussy D'Ambois is widely considered Chapman's greatest play, & is the earliest in a series of plays that Chapman wrote about the French political scene in his era, including the sequel The Revenge of Bussy D'Ambois, the two-p The Tragedy of Bussy D'Ambois (1603-07) is a Jacobean stage play written by George Chapman. Classified as either a tragedy or "contemporary history," Bussy D'Ambois is widely considered Chapman's greatest play, & is the earliest in a series of plays that Chapman wrote about the French political scene in his era, including the sequel The Revenge of Bussy D'Ambois, the two-part The Conspiracy & Tragedy of Charles, Duke of Byron, & The Tragedy of Chabot, Admiral of France. The play is based on the life of the real Louis de Bussy d'Amboise, who was murdered in 1579.


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The Tragedy of Bussy D'Ambois (1603-07) is a Jacobean stage play written by George Chapman. Classified as either a tragedy or "contemporary history," Bussy D'Ambois is widely considered Chapman's greatest play, & is the earliest in a series of plays that Chapman wrote about the French political scene in his era, including the sequel The Revenge of Bussy D'Ambois, the two-p The Tragedy of Bussy D'Ambois (1603-07) is a Jacobean stage play written by George Chapman. Classified as either a tragedy or "contemporary history," Bussy D'Ambois is widely considered Chapman's greatest play, & is the earliest in a series of plays that Chapman wrote about the French political scene in his era, including the sequel The Revenge of Bussy D'Ambois, the two-part The Conspiracy & Tragedy of Charles, Duke of Byron, & The Tragedy of Chabot, Admiral of France. The play is based on the life of the real Louis de Bussy d'Amboise, who was murdered in 1579.

30 review for Bussy D'Ambois

  1. 5 out of 5

    Francisca

    i just love this type of plays. think The Duchess of Malfi, The Spanish Tragedy or The Jew of Malta. the intrigue, the blood, the guts, the priest summoning an actual demon to help the protagonist--oh, just a classic seventeenth-century play. i also love the fact that there's an actual sequel called the revenge of bussy d'ambois . i just love this type of plays. think The Duchess of Malfi, The Spanish Tragedy or The Jew of Malta. the intrigue, the blood, the guts, the priest summoning an actual demon to help the protagonist--oh, just a classic seventeenth-century play. i also love the fact that there's an actual sequel called the revenge of bussy d'ambois .

  2. 5 out of 5

    Esdaile

    Man is a torch borne in the wind; a dream But of a shadow, summed with all his substance; This gloomy at times repellent Jacobean tragedy abounds with hyperbole and hysteria. It reflects the writer’s twin obsessions with the rottenness of the world as we know it and the corruption of involvement in it thanks to the compulsion of our blood and his growing sense, apparently reaching fulfilment later in his life, that a Stoic attitude and abandonment of ambition, virtue and greatness being incompatib Man is a torch borne in the wind; a dream But of a shadow, summed with all his substance; This gloomy at times repellent Jacobean tragedy abounds with hyperbole and hysteria. It reflects the writer’s twin obsessions with the rottenness of the world as we know it and the corruption of involvement in it thanks to the compulsion of our blood and his growing sense, apparently reaching fulfilment later in his life, that a Stoic attitude and abandonment of ambition, virtue and greatness being incompatible. Disgust with the court, flattery and vice was in fact an undertone of practically all Jacobean tragedies and was arguably a cultural premonition of the puritan revolution to come. However, this play is by the famous translator of Homer and the play is enthused with a consciousness, and even a yearning for, the manliness and virtues of the ancient Greeks. I do not think that the Jacobean obsession with honour and the yearning for the virtues of the ancient Hellenes sit easily together. The theology of the play is obscure. There are friars and ghosts and demons but no mention of Jesus Christ and the departed are shades, very much one suspects, waiting for their time to flee for ever to the shadows of Hades. This is not a Christian play. The language is dramatic but more suited for an epic poem than a theatre play, which is perhaps not surprising since the writer himself considered his highest achievement to have been the translation of Homer. The echoes of Shakespeare exceed in number any of any other Jacobean play that I know, although they never quite sink to plagiarism. Occasionally (see the quotation above) Chapman's protagonists in this play “speak out loud and bold” top great effect, often however the loud and bold line is hyperbole which borders on the ridiculous: !”I know not how I fare; a sudden night Flows through my entrails, and a headlong chaos Murmurs within me, which I must digest, And not drown her in my confusions..” (IV I) The writer's sense of purpose seems to be, as expressed at the end of this tragedy, to see “..the aged sky/Cheer with new sparks of old humanity.” “Fortune not Reason rules the state of things.” This play is an account of the fortune of a flawed hero but Chapman cannot find a reason for it all. Chapman's failure here as I see it, lies in the fact that he is attempting to philosophise but he shows no understanding of human psychology. His protagonists menace, groan and rave but I cannot escape the feeling that the impression that they are merely inventions made to do so, puppets on a stage. Perhaps that impression would be attenuated by seeing a production of this play. I cannot “believe” in any of his characters, even allowing for the very different psychology and focus of the persons of that age. The psychology of characters in a play by Shakespeare but also even of Marlowe, or Webster or John Ford seem to me to be believable. I would sum the failing up thus: too much rhetoric and rodomantade and too little psychology and true drama. But what news is that? At heart this is an epic poet, not a dramatists, turning his hand to play writing. A final note: spirits are summoned in this play. I have a hunch that if we could summon the spirits of George Chapman, Ben Jonson and Kit Marlowe, we would learn much about the mystery surrounding the most successful of all of them, a writer whose works were known under the name “William Shake-Speare”.

  3. 5 out of 5

    M.L. Rio

    Flamboyant villains, idiot courtiers, and rampant misogyny, without enough cleverness to make any of that entertaining. Why, Chapman. Why.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ahenobarbus

    There is a certain sinew & vigor in this poetry -- as one finds elsewhere in Chapman certainly -- that is a wonder to behold but potentially a devil to portray. The ascending flights of rhetoric on display, often sharply imagined, often woven like a net that demands admiration & subtle un-picking, must have been impressive & confounding to audiences. Dryden was a happy captive in the knots early on but snarled at the play's snares in later years. (Quote to come.) Stunning & gigantic by turns unl There is a certain sinew & vigor in this poetry -- as one finds elsewhere in Chapman certainly -- that is a wonder to behold but potentially a devil to portray. The ascending flights of rhetoric on display, often sharply imagined, often woven like a net that demands admiration & subtle un-picking, must have been impressive & confounding to audiences. Dryden was a happy captive in the knots early on but snarled at the play's snares in later years. (Quote to come.) Stunning & gigantic by turns unlike its stilt-walking sequel.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

  6. 5 out of 5

    Charles Berman

  7. 4 out of 5

    Shane

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Vaughan

  9. 5 out of 5

    Keith

  10. 4 out of 5

    Richard Seltzer

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mike

  12. 5 out of 5

    John Ervin

  13. 5 out of 5

    David Lewis

  14. 5 out of 5

    Christopher J.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Heather

  16. 4 out of 5

    CSly

  17. 4 out of 5

    Davy Kenney

  18. 5 out of 5

    Johnny B3

  19. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

  20. 4 out of 5

    Elena Andonova

  21. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mark W.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

  24. 5 out of 5

    Richard

  25. 4 out of 5

    Alessandra

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bill FromPA

  27. 5 out of 5

    Emily MacLeod

  28. 4 out of 5

    Bernard Norcott-mahany

  29. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

  30. 4 out of 5

    Matteo Marini

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