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arts and culture | imperialism & war

Role of Entertainment in Time of War

In 1592 the government of Queen Elizabeth embarked in war against the Catholics in Holland. At this time the Puritans in England wanted to close down the theaters. Nashe and others wanted to keep them open and perform "history" plays as a propaganda tool.
"There is a certain waste of the people for whome there is no use but war, and these men ust have some employement still to cut them off. If they have no service abroad, they will make mutinies at home. Or if the affairs of state be such as cannot exhale these corrupt excrements, it is very expedient they have some light toys to busy their heads withal, cast before them as bones to gnaw on, which may keep them from having leisure to intermeddle with higher matters. To this effect, the Policy of Plays is very necesary -- however some shallow-brained censors [Puritans] mightily oppugn them."

-- Thomas Nashe, Pierce Penniless, London 1592.