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Shakespeare and the Social Devaluation of the Horse

  • Bruce Boehrer
Part of the Early Modern Cultural Studies book series (EMCSS)

Abstract

This chapter pursues a simple argument: that Shakespeare’s plays enact a downward displacement of the horse’s character as a social signifier. I believe that this displacement, in turn, may be loosely correlated to the decline of the armigerous gentry’s identity as a military class, which decline is closely mirrored by the horse’s own emerging obsolescence as an instrument of warfare in early modern England. In other words, Shakespeare associates the horse preeminently with chivalry, and—as Ralph Berry has argued—he presents chivalry primarily as “a defunct ideology.”1

Keywords

Conspicuous Consumption Henry Versus Social Devaluation Military Prowess Military Class 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Ralph Berry, Shakespeare and the Awareness of the Audience (London: Macmillan, 1985), 105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Copyright information

© Karen Raber and Treva J. Tucker 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bruce Boehrer

There are no affiliations available

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