Aliens and Englishness in Elizabethan Drama by Lloyd Edward Kermode

By Lloyd Edward Kermode

Protecting a wide selection of performs from 1550-1600, together with Shakespeare's moment tetralogy, this e-book explores ethical, ancient, and comedian performs as contributions to Elizabethan debates on Anglo-foreign family members in England. the industrial, social, non secular, and political matters that arose from inter-British touch and Continental immigration into England are reinvented and rehearsed at the public degree. Kermode uncovers large 'alien stages' within the drama: targeted yet overlapping approaches in which the alien used to be used to posit rules 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. by contrast, extraterrestrial beings and Englishness reads a physique of performs that characterize Englishness as a country of ideological, invented superiority - mockingly solid in its consistent changeability, and taken into being by means of incorporating and finally accepting, or even celebrating, instead of rejecting the alien.

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We find that Lady Lucre and her henchmen have alien heritage, and the play makes sure to emphasize that it is foreign importing of useless products that corrupts Englishness, and the exporting of naturally ‘good’ English produce that enriches foreign countries and alien merchants. The Italian merchant, Mercadorus, who runs the trading business for Lady Lucre, has a comic Italian accent, which (like the comedy in the earlier plays) dramatically (but not really) hides his central role in facilitating the corruption of Englishness.

Health apologizes to Remedy that ‘I am homely to come her[e] in your prese[n]ce thus diseased’ (D2), indicating visible deformity. In the period, that outer complexion or ugliness would also lead to the suspicion of inner corruption, which Wealth expresses in his dismissive ‘Dryve him away quickly’ (B2v). When Will is questioned about exactly whose will he is, he claims to be everyone’s and anyone’s: ‘I am your evyll wyll / your wil, & your will, & your will’ (B2v). Liberty resorts to that word ‘straunge’ again and declares that ‘this cannot be / For in our wyles is great diversitie / For one is not lyke another’ (B2v).

The wealth coming to England at this time is widely marked with the spirit of the alien. Diana Wood begins her chapter on the question of defining money in medieval England with the observation that to some commentators the crosses on late-medieval English silver pennies gave them a godly identity; and in a related fashion, as M. 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.

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