From printing to the steam engine (1439-1698). The arrival of movable type printing in Europe made books plentiful, and helped standardize the languages that used it. Much more survives from this period than from earlier.
Please note, that when we say steam engine we mean useful steam engine. Not Heron's first century
toy, and not the store
Notable works and authors from this time period include:
Tropes that originated in this time period:
- Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, which implies that it was already an old aesop.
- Don Quixote, written about eight years after The Merchant of Venice,refers to this trope as "a saying" (Ch. 33), providing another indication that it's really even older.
The wood began to move."
- Monumental Damage: The Venetians destroyed the Parthenon while invading Greece in 1687 after the Turks filled the entire temple with stores of gunpowder and explosives.
- Moral Myopia: Shakespearean characters, such as Queen Margaret in Henry VI and Richard III, and Tamara in Titus Andronicus.
- More Than Mind Control: The Faerie Queene, The Pilgrim's Progress
- MST3K Mantra: Puck's final speech in A Midsummer Night's Dream starts with "If we shadows have offended / Think but this and all is mended..." The speech can essentially be compressed into "It's just a play; cool it, willya?"
- No Fourth Wall: Many of Shakespeare's plays, if not earlier.
- Oh Crap! There Are Fanfics of Us...: Don Quixote and his fellow characters read Don Quixote fanfiction novels written by authors other than Cervantes, and complained about whichever parts Cervantes disliked.
- Out, Damned Spot!: Macbeth is the Trope Namer.
- Overly-Long Gag: Gratiano's repeated ironic echoes of Shylock at the climax of the court scene in The Merchant of Venice.
- The Peeping Tom: The folk legend of Lady Godiva, in a version from the 17th century.
- Pineal Weirdness: Descartes' Treatise Of Man, 1629
- Poe's Law: Epistolae Obscurorum Virorum, 1515-1517
- Pose of Silence: Shakespearean stage production technique.
- Potty Emergency: Don Quixote features this joke.
- Rapid-Fire Comedy: Shakespeare's comedies, though many of the jokes go unnoticed, due to culture changes, without the body-language context of live performance.
- Rash Equilibrium: Shakespeare's Measure for Measure
- Recursive Crossdressing: Shakespearean comedy, especially As You Like It.
- Recursive Canon: Hamlet refers to Julius Caesar as a play.
- Red Herring: Actual red herrings used in hunting.
- Returning The Handkerchief: Shakespheare's Othello
- Russian Reversal: In Shakespeare's Richard II the title character, reflecting on his reign, laments that "I wasted time, and now doth time waste me."
- Shoo Out the Clowns: Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, and Henry V
- Show Within a Show:
- Skeletal Musician: Appear in fifteen century "Dance of Death" art.
- Spontaneous Human Combustion: The oldest known report of such an incident allegedly occurring dates back to 1654, briefly detailing an incident believed to have occurred sometime between 1468 and 1503.
- A Storm Is Coming: Macbeth
- Stumbling Upon the Lost Wizard: The Tempest with Prospero as the wizard in question.
- Surrogate Soliloquy: Hamlet
- Switched at Birth: Shakespeare's Henry IV wishes out loud that his wayward son Hal had been switched at birth with the honorable rebel Hotspur.
- Technobabble: The Alchemist contains rather a lot of baffling alchemical jargon. Some uses it straight to confuse the audience with the cleverness of the characters who understand alchemy, and some is in-universe technobabble employed by charlatans pretending to be actual alchemists.
- That Cloud Looks Like: Hamlet
- Those Two Guys: Braggadocchio and Trompart in The Faerie Queene; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in Hamlet
- Throne Made Of X: In Journey to the West, the goddess Guanyin makes a throne out of swords and later halbeards to imprison the Red Boy.
- Twenty One Gun Salute: The naval tradition of firing your guns to render yourself unarmed appears to date to the Middle Ages/Renaissance. Probably not Older Than Print.
- Viewers In Mourning: Remarked upon by Richard Barber in The Knight And Chivalry.
- Wedding Day: Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, or earlier.
- When the Clock Strikes Twelve: "Cinderella", amongst others.
- A Wizard Did It: Don Quixote pokes fun at other works that use the trope in that the title character always ascribes things going sideways to "some cursed enchanter". The Tempest plays it straight, putting essentially the entire plot down to Prospero's magical machinations.
- Woolseyism: The King James translation of The Bible uses this method in many passages. More modern translations such as the New International Version have preserved the most famous ones in only slightly modernized form.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: The eponymous character of Don Quixote.
- Zany Scheme: Much Ado About Nothing — it's one long ping-pong match of schemery.
- Zany Scheme Chicken: William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing and The Merry Wives of Windsor