By Lloyd Edward Kermode
Protecting a large choice of performs from 1550-1600, together with Shakespeare's moment tetralogy, this e-book explores ethical, old, and comedian performs as contributions to Elizabethan debates on Anglo-foreign kinfolk 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 huge 'alien stages' within the drama: special yet overlapping strategies in which the alien was once used to posit rules and beliefs of Englishness. Many reviews 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 at last accepting, or even celebrating, instead of rejecting the alien.
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Extra resources for Aliens and Englishness in Elizabethan Drama
Thus Laura Yungblut seems right in thinking of this as ‘a moment of agitation’ in which Illwill ‘reveals his true identity’,37 for this would indeed confirm the revelation of the alien within Will. However, to read it non-ironically probably misses the point. We must remember that this character is Illwill, one who presents himself as Will but has ulterior motives; such deceptiveness was consistently at play in the anti-Spanish Marian tracts and in Remedy’s line about foreigners’ ‘falsehod or stelth’.
The vice figure’s name, Nichol Newfangle, brings out both the comedic and serious elements of such a character: he promises his master Lucifer that he will corrupt the English with ridiculous fashion (which he does not in fact do in the play), and he represents the mistake of thinking of bad fashion as an insignificant problem in England. This chapter and others are concerned to historicize the very real early modern sense that the pride of clothing was a leading factor in the period’s moral destitution.
Playgoers could enjoy the older antagonistic way of looking at the alien while newer, incorporative alien plays were exciting a public eager to establish a strong sense of Englishness. That sense of overlap is strengthened if we notice the continuity between the plays and earlier morality characters such as Illwill in Hickscorner (1514) and New-guise and Now-a-days in Mankind (1465–70). George Wapull’s The Tide Tarrieth No Man, the last play discussed in this chapter, takes on another trope with its vice ‘Courage Contagious’.