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The Economics of Gender Relations in London City Comedy

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The Economics of Gender Relations in London City Comedy
Weisse, Kristin Mary
This thesis examines the influence of nascent capitalism on gender interactions in three London city comedies—Thomas Dekker’s The Shoemaker’s Holiday, Dekker and Thomas Middleton’s The Roaring Girl, and Middleton’s A Chaste Maid in Cheapside— to reveal men’s commodification of women as a defining feature of the genre. By charting the ways in which the men of these plays frame the women as commodities, I propose that city comedy stages a fraught condition for the contemporary female subject: men insist upon her visibility as a good circulated within the marketplace, while simultaneously asserting her invisibility as a productive laborer within the economic sphere. Heightening this tension, women’s appearances outside of the home are increasingly associated with prostitution, as if to form a link between abstinence from economic activity and chastity; yet at the same time, the men of city comedy frame female chastity as a valuable commodity made visible within the public marketplace. All three of these plays ends with a festive marriage celebration as if to mask or erase such contradictions, but a thorough examination of their gender relations ultimately demonstrates city comedy’s role in exposing these tensions rather than resolving them.
Hogan, Sarah (committee chair)
Valbuena, Olga (committee member)
Harlan, Susan (committee member)
2015-06-23T08:35:42Z (accessioned)
2015-06-23T08:35:42Z (available)
2015 (issued)
English (discipline)
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/57116 (uri)
en (iso)
Wake Forest University

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