Antonio and Mellida

Play written by John Marston
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9/4/2006
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Antonio and Mellida is a late Elizabethan play written by the satirist John Marston, usually dated to c. 1599. The play was entered into the Stationers' Register on 24 October 1601, and first published in quarto in 1602 by the booksellers Matthew Lownes and Thomas Fisher. The title page of the first quarto states that the play was acted by the Children of Paul's, one of the companies of boy actors popular at the time. It was followed by a sequel, Antonio's Revenge, which was written by Marston in 1600. The play is a romantic comedy, which charts the "comic crosses of true love" faced by Antonio, son of the good Duke Andrugio, and Mellida, daughter of the wicked Duke Piero. Structurally, the plot is quite conventional, but the tone is unusual: Marston undercuts the emotion of the story of the separated lovers by introducing moments of extreme farce and burlesque, satirising and parodying romantic comedy conventions. The play also employs a metatheatrical induction, in which the boy actors are seen, apparently in propria persona, discussing the roles they are about to play and the way in which their parts should be performed.
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