Dryden’s The Emperour explores the notion that honor is everything–stronger than love even. Even Cortez, a Spaniard in love with an Aztec native, should put the public good before his own needs; with the public good being English superiority. In a sense, Dryden justifies the bloody conquering of land, with honor, “By noble ways we conquest will prepare, first offer peace, and that refus’d, make war.” “Noble” how?
The Emperor serves as an artifact during the sixteenth century. The Restoration theatre was reintroduced under the reign of the Stuart dynasty with King Charles II. Along with the restoration of the English monarchy, came the strong literary movement to establish English superiority over the French. Aiding this effort was Heroic Drama. Heroic Drama, consisting of super masculine heroic verse. We see this in The Emperor’s use of rhyming couplets and iambic pentameter. Also, as stated in Lector Note #3, Heroic Drama also “focuses on a subject that pertains to national foundations.” Dryden is a strong advocate for nationalistic feelings that twenty-first century readers can look to, in search of evidence that white supremacy was beginning to mold a new world.