Internet Shakespeare Editions


George Peele

An unlikely product of the streets of London and the University of Oxford, Peele lived a short and rather scandalous life as a writer--of commemorative verses, lyrics (some of great beauty), and plays.

One play, The Arraignment of Paris, is a particularly good example of the Court drama of flattery, in praise of the Virgin Queen (click for more).

Of particular interest to readers of Shakespeare is his Old Wives' Tale, a play which explores the tradition of romantic comedy (like Clyomon and Clamydes, though more sophisticated) within the framework of a play-within- a-play, rather like the (incomplete) frame of The Taming of the Shrew.

Peele also took advantage of the growing convention of mingling several plots in the one play, so that often the action of the main plot was parodied in the sub-plot.

The illustration

Romantic comedy like Peele's was influenced by the Italian Commedia dell'Arte.

Here the Commedia character Razullo plays his guitar, while in the background an audience is gathered around a street stage where the heroine, the Inamorata, is being wooed.

A closer view of the stage.

Selected poetry of Peele is available on line.