The treatises on passions published in the first half of the seventeenth century usually condemned anger, probably under the influence of Seneca’s De ira. However, in The Conspiracy and Tragedy of Charles, Duke of Byron, Chapman created a hero who constantly gives vent to an angry passion. Byron is ostracised and finally condemned at court, and his passion indicates his insuitability in the new world of politics, dominated by courtiers. Anger is the characteristic passion of the soldier, but its particular rhetoric is not suited to court life; it even appears as a sign of Byron’s rebellion against the absolute power of the king. Thus anger is emblematic of the period: it is an aristocratic and heroic passion, and as such, it is archaic.
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