Date, Performance, Publication
The Wisdom of Doctor Dodypoll was entered into the Stationers' Register on 7 October 1600, and was published before the end of that year, in a quarto printed by Thomas Creede for the bookseller Richard Olive. This was the only edition of the play prior to the nineteenth century. The title page states the drama had been acted by the Children of Paul's, the troupe of boy actors that had resumed public dramatic performances in 1599 or 1600 after a decade's absence.
Various internal features in the play point to a date of authorship in the 1599–1600 interval. Like many plays of the children's companies, Doctor Dodypoll parodies the works of the established adult companies, including those of William Shakespeare. In Act III of Dodypoll occurs the line "Then reason's fled to animals I see," which parodies the famous "O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts, / And men have lost their reason" in Julius Caesar (c. 1599), Act III, scene ii, lines 104-5. (Ben Jonson parodies the same line, as "Reason long since is fled to animals, you know," in his 1599 play Every Man Out of His Humour, III,iv,33.) The comic character Doctor Dodypoll, with his thick French accent, resembles Doctor Caius in The Merry Wives of Windsor (c. 1597–99); and Dodypoll also borrows from A Midsummer Night's Dream (c. 1595; printed 1600).
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