Updated: Aug 14, 2021
After his only qualified success as a writer of pamphlets, romances, and poems, he turned to other activities: to writing for the stage and to adventure on the sea. Lodge wrote two plays, The Wounds of War (c. 1586) and, in collaboration with Robert Green, A Looking Glass for London and England (c. 1587).
The first drama, The Wounds of Civil War, is like Sackville and Norton’s Gorboduc in its use of blank verse, long choral speeches, dumb shows, and Senecan violence. Two elements stand out in the play: its badly woven plot (as he was relaying on the historic sources like his other contemporaries) and its surprising passages of lyric excellence. Marius’ achievements in Rome and Scilla’s victories in Asia are duly reported in the plot. There are too many episodes, too many characters, and too little motivation for what they do. The play lacks the excitement and suspense which normally the Elizabethans claim.
In the difficult years of the 1580’s Lodge apparently had one friend, Robert Greene. The extent of their friendship is not known, but they were enough to bring out work together, A Looking Glass for London and England. The drama is heavily moral, with strong biblical tones. It, therefore, appealed to the Londoners, for it capitalized on the mystery-miracle play theme and pointedly told the destruction of Nineveh, a faintly veiled London. The framework of the play is the evil of Rasni, king of Nineveh, and his counselor, Radagon, both of whom revel in incest, murder, and other crimes. Subplots show the machinations of usurers, corrupt judges, and drunken workingmen who allow their families to starve. The drama included satire, comedy, and stage excitement which delighted the Elizabethans.
Thomas Lodge- Rae, Wesley D., author