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 ebook explores ethical, old, and comedian performs as contributions to Elizabethan debates on Anglo-foreign kin in England. the commercial, social, non secular, and political concerns that arose from inter-British touch and Continental immigration into England are reinvented and rehearsed at the public level. Kermode uncovers huge 'alien stages' within the drama: unique yet overlapping strategies in which the alien used to be used to posit principles and beliefs of Englishness. Many experiences of English nationwide id 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 symbolize Englishness as a country of ideological, invented superiority - satirically strong 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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The English must adapt to avoid such alien infiltration, but adaptation is also an alien quality. Here we really see the line between the first and second alien stages being blurred as the very push to eliminate the alien confirms the alien nature of the Englishness being striven for. A crucial feature of this play is the multiple naming of the merchant, aka Greediness, aka Wealthiness. There seems to be no way to be both moral and wealthy. Such a view will be altered by the end of the century, but in the 1570s and 1580s this third play’s combination of 18 Aliens and Englishness in Elizabethan Drama moral sermon and contemporary social politics pushes us towards a ‘belated morality’ that speaks very clearly to the fast-developing trading centre of London: Wilson’s The Three Ladies of London.

Discovering the alien in Elizabethan moral drama 31 Unlike Craik’s or A. J. 22 Wealth and Health begins with the title characters arguing over their contrasting identities and their relative worth to their country. Liberty enters to assert himself as a conceptual umbrella under which Wealth and Health go about their work, and after some refamiliarization between the characters, Wealth and Health acknowledge Liberty’s importance. Illwill (presenting himself as plain ‘Will’) enters ‘with some jest’ and insinuates his way into the identities of the other characters on stage and through them to all men and women; Shrewdwit (alias Wit) joins Will as partner.

He insists that ‘Welth hath 32 Aliens and Englishness in Elizabethan Drama ben ever in this countrey, / . . / And here I wyll endure’ (A2v), but the claim of originary residency – itself an attempt to stake out something of the identity of the nation – and the will to survive are both questioned throughout the play. Moreover, the instigators, perpetuators, and explicators of the doubt of Wealth’s Englishness are the alien presences in the play and the theatre. It will be the denizen figure of the Fleming Hance, the alien presence in the vice Illwill, the influence of the Spanish–Marian court, and the foreign bodies infecting Health that will teach the English Englishness and the way to reformation.

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