“A SPANIARD IS NO ENLISHMAN THAT I KNOWE” ANGLO-SPANIARD POLITICS IN EARLY MODERN THEATRE
Hernandez Grande, Alicia
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Postcolonial studies of Early Modern English drama’s Moorish and Jewish characters, as elaborated by scholars such as Edward Said and Daniel Vitkus, have framed the discussion as a black (Moor/Jew) versus white (Protestant English) dichotomy. This Master’s thesis revises this binary to address certain “grey” characters which do not comfortably fit in either white or black camps yet occupy intriguing positions in Early Modern works. While much scholarly attention has been devoted to the cultural and racial backgrounds of Othello, Shylock, Jessica, and the Prince of Morocco, the focus on Moors and Jews in Othello and The Merchant of Venice has edged out another identity present in those and others of Shakespeare’s works: the Spaniard. Shakespeare’s Spanish characters are portrayed as debased outsiders (Iago, Roderigo) or as representatives of a threatening rival colonial power (Iago, the Prince of Aragorn). All of these characters are vilified through their iconoclastic Catholic faith, as well as their mixed race heritage due to the Moorish occupation of Spain. Meanwhile, Thomas Kyd further demonizes his Spanish characters in The Spanish Tragedy, making a historical argument which reflects onto the entire country. From the Spanish perspective, Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s El cisma de Inglaterra exemplifies how the Spanish perceived their English enemies. I survey how the development of Anglo-Spaniard politics in the Early Modern Period developed ideas concerning Spanish and English nationality.