Playes Confuted in Five Actions

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Stephen Gosson, Playes confuted in fiue actions : prouing that they are not to be suffred in a Christian common weale, by the waye both the cauils of Thomas Lodge, and the play of playes, written in their defence, and other obiections of players frendes, are truely set downe and directlye aunsweared. London : Imprinted for Thomas Gosson dwelling in Pater noster row at the signe of the Sunne. (1582)

Gosson’s Playes Confuted is his response to criticism of his first public attack on plays and playhouses, The School of Abuse.

Play References


...if a true Historie be taken in hand, it is made like our shadows, longest at the rising and falling of the Sunne, shortest of all at hie noone....

So was the history of Caesar and Pompey, and the Play of the Fabii at the Theater, both amplified there, where the Drummes might walke, or the pen ruffle; when the history swelled and ran to hye for the number of ye persons that shoulde playe it, the Poet with Proteus cut the same fit to his owne measure; when it afoorded no pompe at al, he brought it to the racke to make it serve. Which inuincible proueth on my side that Plays are no Images of trueth, because sometimes they handle such thinges as neuer were, sometime they runne vpon truethes, but make them seem longer, or shorter, or greater, or lesse then they were, according as the Poet blowes them vp with his quill, for aspiring heades, or minceth them smaller for weaker stomakes.