A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Otway, Thomas

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Otway, Thomas (1651 or 1652-1685). -- Dramatist, s. of a clergyman, was b. near Midhurst, Sussex, and ed. at Oxf., which he left without graduating. His short life, like those of many of his fellows, was marked by poverty and misery, and he appears to have d. practically of starvation. Having failed as an actor, he took to writing for the stage, and produced various plays, among which Don Carlos, Prince of Spain (1676), was a great success, and brought him page 292some money. Those by which he is best remembered, however, are The Orphan (1680), and Venice Preserved (1682), both of which have been frequently revived. O. made many adaptations from the French, and in his tragedy of Caius Marius incorporated large parts of Romeo and Juliet. He has been called "the most pathetic and tear-drawing of all our dramatists," and he excelled in delineating the stronger passions. The grossness of his comedies has banished them from the stage. Other plays are The Cheats of Scapin, Friendship in Fashion, Soldier's Fortune (1681), and The Atheist.