Aliens and Englishness in Elizabethan Drama by Lloyd Edward Kermode

By Lloyd Edward Kermode

Masking a wide selection of performs from 1550-1600, together with Shakespeare's moment tetralogy, this booklet explores ethical, ancient, and comedian performs as contributions to Elizabethan debates on Anglo-foreign family in England. the commercial, social, spiritual, and political matters that arose from inter-British touch and Continental immigration into England are reinvented and rehearsed at the public level. Kermode uncovers extensive 'alien stages' within the drama: special yet overlapping techniques wherein the alien used to be used to posit principles and beliefs of Englishness. Many experiences of English nationwide identification pit Englishness opposed to the alien 'other' in order that the local self and the alien settle into antithetical positions. against this, extraterrestrial beings and Englishness reads a physique of performs that symbolize Englishness as a country of ideological, invented superiority - ironically sturdy in its consistent changeability, and taken into being by way of incorporating and finally accepting, or even celebrating, instead of rejecting the alien.

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Similarly King Richard will claim Wales as his own even as the Welsh 20 Aliens and Englishness in Elizabethan Drama have deserted him, and in Henry IV the rebels will struggle with their confusion – the Welsh and English families are cultural antitheses striving to divide their newly imagined kingdom. By Henry V, it takes the comedic Fluellen to confirm a tenuous connection to (and cooption of ) Wales within the body of the king. I spend time reading closely in the passages that seem to establish concrete claims about alien identity and at the same time reveal uncertainties that we saw aired less overtly or seriously in the morality plays.

24 It is in large part the legacy of this faith in coinage as the spirit of the country – in particular a confusion of national (or legal) and religious spirit – that leads to the concentration on currency in the late-Elizabethan city comedy, to the horror of forbidden minting of new ‘life’ coins in a later play like Measure for Measure, and even to the modern debate over adopting the euro versus retaining the British pound or to the maintenance of the motto ‘In God We Trust’ on US money. The Lamentacion of England points out what it sees as a sophisticated piece of alien knavery that corrupts the wealth of the English realm: the assertion and imposition of royal image and name by the absent half of the monarchy.

Through the sixteenth century, ‘wealth’ consisted in bullion and coin, visible value. 23 Wealth’s claim that he has always been in the country, then, is trumped in the mid 1500s by his note that ‘All the worlde, hyther doth resorte’ (A4) because of him. This seems like a nod toward Spanish enrichment of England, but the play erodes both the possession of good wealth by England and the possibility of sustained appreciation of Spanish presence. The wealth coming to England at this time is widely marked with the spirit of the alien.

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