John Gay Biography
(Dramatist & Poet)
Birthday: June 30, 1685 (Cancer)
Born In: Barnstaple
John Gay, the English poet best remembered as the creator of the immortal fictional characters Captain Macheath and Polly Peachum, was a highly prolific and respected writer in the 18th century London. Though he produced a great many works of literature over his long and productive career, his ballad opera - ‘The Beggar’s Opera’ - is the best known of his works. The satirical play was first produced in London by the theatre manager John Rich and ran for 62 performances—the longest run for a play during those times. The play highlighted the moral degradation of the society in a lighthearted and humorous way, and parodied the King’s government. The fact that an abridged version of the opera is still performed in various theaters is testimony to its popularity. Political forces banned the production of its sequel, ‘Polly’ though there was a high demand for the printed version. As a young man Gay once worked as a secretary to the dramatist Aaron Hill who introduced him to the leading literary figures like Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift, and John Arbuthnot. Gay began his literary career as a poet; his first published work was the poem ‘Wine’. Even though his first play, ‘The Mohawks’ was never produced his future plays proved to be big success.