Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Performing Economic ThoughtEnglish Drama and Mercantile Writing 1600-1642$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Bradley Ryner

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748684656

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748684656.001.0001

Show Summary Details

Characterising Economics

Characterising Economics

Thomas Middleton and William Rowley's The Changeling

Chapter:
(p.77) Chapter 3 Characterising Economics
Source:
Performing Economic Thought
Author(s):

Bradley D. Ryner

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748684656.003.0003

The relationship between individuals and economic systems was of great concern to mercantile writers. ‘Balance of trade’ theorists Thomas Mun and Edward Misselden suggested that impersonal economic forces could supersede individual will, whereas Gerard Malynes maintained that they were always ultimately subject to human control. This chapter argues that the blending of mimesis and allegory in Renaissance dramatic characters is well suited to presenting the tension between conceptualising the individual as controlling economic transactions and conceptualising the individual as controlled by economic forces. Mimetic representation places emphasis on the individual by highlighting those unique qualities that differentiate each character. Allegorical representation presents characters as embodiments of abstract ideas or social types. Thomas Middleton and William Rowley's The Changeling provides one example. Beatrice-Joanna undergoes a radical transformation linked to economic exchange when hiring DeFlores to kill her fiance unexpectedly transforms her into DeFlores's paramour. In Beatrice-Joanna's case, this transformation is presented as a pseudo-allegorical violence enacted on a pseudo-realistic character. Beatrice-Joanna is fascinating precisely because she oscillates between appearing as a real person and appearing as a patently artificial rhetorical construction, an oscillation that reiterates the tension between her appearance as agentive subject and passive object in the play's economic/erotic transactions.

Keywords:   allegory, balance of trade, The Changeling, character, Gerard Malynes, mimesis, Thomas Middleton, Edward Misselden, Thomas Mun, William Rowley

Edinburgh Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.