Citizen Shakespeare: Freemen, City Wives, and Aliens in the Language of the Plays

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Shakespeare was not a citizen of London. But the language of his plays is shot through with the concerns of London 'freemen' and their wives, the diverse commercial class that nevertheless excluded adult immigrants from country towns and northern Europe alike. This book combines London historiography, close reading, and recent theories of citizen subjectivity to demonstrate for the first time that Shakespeare's plays embody citizen and alien identities despite their aristocratic settings. Through three chapters, the book points out where the city shadows the country scenes of the major comedies, shows how London's trades animate the 'civil butchery' of the history plays, ans explains why England's metropolis becomes the fractured Rome of tragedy,