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Chaste ValueEconomic Crisis, Female Chastity and the Production of Social Difference on Shakespeare's Stage$
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Katherine Gillen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474417716

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474417716.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

Commercial Chastity and Aristocratic Value in Troilus and Cressida, the White Devil and the Changeling

Commercial Chastity and Aristocratic Value in Troilus and Cressida, the White Devil and the Changeling

Chapter:
(p.87) Chapter 2 Commercial Chastity and Aristocratic Value in Troilus and Cressida, the White Devil and the Changeling
Source:
Chaste Value
Author(s):

Katherine Gillen

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474417716.003.0003

This chapter focuses on the significance of intrinsic chastity to aristocratic selfhood and to the social and metaphysical hierarchies that support it. Whereas chastity is often depicted as an intrinsic good, characterized by an identity of essence and representation, Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida, Webster’s The White Devil, and Middleton and Rowley’s The Changeling deploy economic discourses to dismantle ideologies of intrinsic chastity, revealing it to be a social construct whose worth is determined by outside forces. Conclusions reached about chastity ultimately influence the plays’ presentations of aristocratic men, suggesting that their personal worth may rest not in class-based virtue but rather in the more relativistic dynamics of the marketplace. In these tragedies, performative identity arises through resistance to discourses of intrinsic chastity.

Keywords:   Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida, Webster’s The White Devil, Middleton and Rowley’s The Changeling, value, chastity, class

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