Date of Award


Degree Type

Bachelors Essay

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)



First Advisor

Thomas P. Whelan


In the world of letters it was the fortune of Seneca like that of Banquo to beget a posterity greater than himself. Seneca is really more philosopher than dramatist, and his "Tenne Tragedies" are mainly unac­table closet-dramas. It seems unlikely that they were ever produced at Rome beyond being declamed before some select reading circle gathered by personal invitation. How the Elizabethans turned to Seneca rather than to Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, the giants of the Periclean age, is a problem we may take up later, but that Elizabethan tragedy is deeply indebted to Seneca will be made clear by abundant evidence. Its form and sometimes its theme is similar to that of Senecan tra­gedy; and the Elizabethan attempts at direct imitation can be well authenticated. But before one can detect Senecan influence it is necessary to trace the earlier beginnings of the English tragic buskin.


A Thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Bachelor of Arts.