English Revenge Drama: Money, Resistance, Equality by Linda WoodbridgeEnglish Revenge Drama: Money, Resistance, Equality by Linda Woodbridge

English Revenge Drama: Money, Resistance, Equality

byLinda Woodbridge

Hardcover | October 29, 2010

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Vengeance permeates English Renaissance drama - for example, it crops up in all but two of Shakespeare's plays. This book explores why a supposedly forgiving Christian culture should have relished such bloodthirsty, vengeful plays. A clue lies in the plays' passion for fairness, a preoccupation suggesting widespread resentment of systemic unfairness - legal, economic, political, and social. Revengers' precise equivalents - the father of two beheaded sons obliges his enemy to eat her two sons' heads - are vigilante versions of Elizabethan law, where penalties suit the crimes: thieves' hands were cut off, scolds' tongues bridled. The revengers' language of 'paying' hints at the operation of revenge in the service of economic redress. Revenge makes contact with resistance theory, justifying overthrow of tyrants, and some revengers challenge the fundamental inequity of social class. Woodbridge demonstrates how, for all their sensationalism, their macabre comedy and outlandish gore, Renaissance revenge plays do some serious cultural work.
Title:English Revenge Drama: Money, Resistance, EqualityFormat:HardcoverDimensions:350 pages, 8.98 × 5.98 × 0.83 inPublished:October 29, 2010Publisher:Cambridge University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0521884594

ISBN - 13:9780521884594

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Table of Contents

Part I. Rampant Revenge: 1. Getting what one deserves; 2. Can two wrongs ever make a right? Some theory; Part II. Economic Unfairness: Revenge and Money: 3. Balancing the books: revenge, commercial mathematics, and the balance of trade; 4. Payback time: reward, retaliation, and the deluge of debt; 5. The goddess with the scales - and the blindfold; Part III. Political Unfairness: Revenge and Resistance: 6. 'A special inward commandment': the mid-sixteenth century; 7. Resistance in the golden age of revenge plays; 8. Revenge and regicide: the Civil War era; Part IV. Social Unfairness: Vengeance and Equality: 9. Revenge and class warfare; 10. Quantification revisited: revenge and social equality; Conclusion; Bibliography.

Editorial Reviews

"This is a brilliant and convincing way to account for early modern England's obsession with leveling the score."
-David Hawkes, Arizona State Univercity, TLS