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The Tragedy of Mariam

3.2 of 5 stars 3.20  ·  rating details  ·  317 ratings  ·  15 reviews
"First published in 1613, The Tragedy of Mariam, the Fair Queen of Jewry is the first play in English to have been authored by a woman, and it has become increasingly popular in the study of early modern women's writing. The play, which Cary based on the story of Herod and Mariam, turns on a rumour of Herod's death, and it unfolds around the actions taken by the patriarch' ...more
Paperback, 200 pages
Published December 13th 2000 by Broadview Press (first published 1613)
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This is believed to have been the first English play written by a woman that was actually published, which makes it Kind Of A Big Deal. Not that anyone should really feel obliged to read it unless they have to write a paper on it.

The problems I had with this play can be summed up into two main points, which I will illustrate here:
1 - A lot of the important action takes place before the play even starts. So Mariam is married to Herod, who's kind of a crazy bastard, and after he leaves his first
Fantastic play, really explores the expectations of femininity and how fitting those expectations too honestly, or breaking them secretly, impacts your life. Or death. It starts out with Mariam saying the line: "How oft have I with public voice run on?" But rotates around her silence. She says too much, yet not enough. Salome, her counter, says a lot but privately. To Herod, to Constabarus. What is a "closet drama?" Cary was a trailblazer as a convert to Catholicism during the reign of Cromwell ...more
As an undergraduate, I had to read this play for a course on Renaissance women writing, called "Shakespeare's Sisters". Now, currently in my second postgraduate course, it is on the list for "Women, Writing and Gender: Renaissance to Romanticism". Needless to say, this is a text women's studies cannot ignore, as it is thought to be the first play ever to be written by a woman and subsequently published.

As a historical text, is is very interesting, as it goes back to pre-Christian Judea that doe
Kind of a strange read, and one I wouldn't pick up on my own (thank you, yet again summer classes) but it is actually fairly interesting if you're looking for a play written by a woman.

The characters are fairly dynamic for what feels like a short play and Mariam's character is pretty interesting. While...all the women are pretty interesting actually.

Really, you should read this play and just talk about the different "types" of women you run into.
The Mighty Katara
Honestly, this play has some of the best insults you will ever read. And the whole thing is very poetic and beautiful. 3.5 stars
For some reason, I particularly enjoy plays. The Tragedy of Mariam is a rather brief play, but the language and style measure up to a "good" play. It isn't as awe-inspiring or mesmerizing as Shakespeare's plays, but it is still worth the read, especially since it is the first play written by a woman.

One thing you will want to know prior to reading this play is that Cary takes an in media res approach. So, you must read the introduction provided by the editor. If you don't, you will be terribly
Awesome feminist work, although I found a lot of the characters and scenarios were underused/underdeveloped.
This play is interesting because it is one of the first Renaissance tragedies to be published written by a woman, but I found it a little tedious to read. It is considered a "closet drama," not intended to be performed, so perhaps that is why I had a hard time envisioning it on stage. Regardless, the play is comprised ENTIRELY of lengthy, drawn-out soliloquies, so it can be a tough read.
I studied this book for my Renaissance Drama class. It was pretty strange. Not as tragic as I imagined it to be, being a tragedy and all, I think only two people die... maybe three. I only vaguely understand what happened, due to the whole Renaissance part.
May 11, 2007 Casey rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lit nerds
Shelves: adults
This play was one of my favorite pieces of literature in college. It's got a modern (modern as in 1613) spin on the chorus, it's got men destroyed by the patriarchal society they perpetuate, it's got Salome, a bitch for the ages.
This play is going to be useful when I think about it in relation to any combination of these: Wyatt, Milton, Lanyer, Sidney, and Shakespeare's Othello. As I read Wroth...I'll probably add her to this list.
Significant for being the first published drama in English by a woman, this play is otherwise underwhelming. Not particularly entertaining; despite its brevity, I found myself bored.
Aaron C. Thomas
A strange curiosity from the late Elizabethan period. This is heavily modeled on Senecan tragedy -- although Ramona Wray strangely does not mention him in her introductory material...
The Scarlet Pervygirl
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to read a Shakespeare play about women? no, I mean, really about women? because this tops that.
Interesting in that it's not just about a woman, but also written by a woman.
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Elizabeth Cary, Lady Falkland, nee Tanfield, was an English poet, translator, and dramatist. Precocious and studious, she was known from a young age for her learning and knowledge of languages.


The mirror of the world, a translation of Abraham Ortelius's Le mirroir du monde (1598)

The Tragedy of Mariam, the Fair Queen of Jewry (pub. 1613)

Reply of the most Illustrious Cardinal of Perron (1630)

More about Elizabeth Cary...
Othello and the Tragedy of Mariam The Tragedy of Mariam, the Fair Queen of Jewry: With the Lady Falkland, Her Life, by One of Her Daughters Renaissance Women: The Plays of Elizabeth Cary: The Poems of Aemilia Lanyer The Mirror of the Worlde The Early Modern Englishwoman: A Facsimile Library of Essential Works : Printed Writings, 1500-1640 : Works by and Attributed to Elizabeth Cary (Elgar Mini Series)

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