Men on the road: beggars and vagrants in early modern drama (William Shakespeare, John Fletcher, and Richard Brome)

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Title: Men on the road: beggars and vagrants in early modern drama (William Shakespeare, John Fletcher, and Richard Brome)
Author: Kim, Mi-Su
Abstract: This dissertation examines beggars , gypsies , rogues , and vagrants presented in early modern English drama , with the discussion of how these peripatetic characters represent the discourses of vagrancy of the period . The first chapter introduces Tudor and early Stuart governments' legislation and proclamations on vagabondage and discusses these governmental policies in their social and economic contexts . The chapter also deals with the literature of roguery to point out that the literature (especially in the Elizabethan era ) disseminated such a negative image of beggars as impostors and established the antagonistic atmosphere against the wandering poor . The second chapter explores the anti -theatrical aspect of the discourses of vagrancy . Along with the discussion of early playing companies' traveling convention , this chapter investigates how the long -held association of players with beggars is addressed in the plays that are dated from the early 1570s to the closing of the playhouses in 1642 . In the third chapter I read Shakespeare's King Lear with the focus on its critical allusions to the discourses of vagrancy and interpret King Lear's symbolic experience of vagrancy in that context . The chapter demonstrates that King Lear represents the spatial politics embedded in the discourses of vagrancy and evokes a sympathetic understanding of the wandering poor . Chapter IV focuses on Beggars' Bush and analyzes the beggars' utopian community in the play . By juxtaposing the play with a variety of documents relating to the vagrancy issue in the early seventeen century , I contend that Beggars' Bush reflects the cultural aspirations for colonial enterprises in the early Stuart age . Chapter V examines John Taylor's conceptualization of vagrancy as a trope of travel and free mobility , and discusses the "wanderlust" represented in A Jovial Crew : Merry Beggars as an exemplary anecdote showing the mid seventeenth century's perceptions on vagrancy and spatial mobility . Thus , by exploring diverse associations and investments regarding vagrants , this study demonstrates that the early modern discourses of vagrancy have been informed and inflected by shifting economic , socio -historical , and national interests and demands .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /308
Date: 2004-09-30

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Men on the road: beggars and vagrants in early modern drama (William Shakespeare, John Fletcher, and Richard Brome). Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /308 .

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