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Title: Knavish professions : rogues on stage from Shakespeare to gay
Author: Gaby, Rosemary
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 1989
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The comic rogue is a particularly memorable character type in English drama. A familiar figure in the works of Shakespeare, Jonson and their contemporaries he has retained his popularity until the present day. This thesis attempts to offer some account of the rogue's appeal by examining a select number of comedies from the Jacobean period to the early eighteenth century. The rogue's cultural and literary background is discussed in chapter one, with particular emphasis upon the traditions established in Elizabethan rogue pamphlets. Subsequent chapters deal with rogues who pursue a wide variety of knavish professions: Shakespeare's opportunistic peddlar, Autolycus; Jonson's alchemists; Middleton's merchant/swindler, Quomodo; Quicksilver, the roguish apprentice of Eastward Ho!; and rustic vagabonds in plays by Fletcher, Brome, and Shirley. Later chapters consider the decline of roguery after the Restoration and notable revivals of the tradition in Farquhar's late comedies and in John Gay's The Beggar's Opera. Two important aspects of the rogue's characterization which consistently emerge are his ambiguity and his inherently theatrical nature. He is an attractive but deplorable knave; his crimes deserve punishment but his skills as an entertainer invite applause. Such paradoxes are a fundamental part of the comic experience. The rogue's mutability as actor, artist, imposter, and thief opens up multiple possibilities for the creation of mirthful and provocative comedy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available