Contexts

Historical Contexts: The Death of Hospitality

Baubles for Bell-Metal: English Anxieties about Trade and Traffic in The Three Ladies of London

Fatima Farida Ebrahim

Abstract: The contrast between Turkey and London, the two geographic locations of the play, and its relevance to the historical moment demonstrates how the English flounder in the new trade system, while the Turks flourish. Through several key themes – hospitality, immigrants and foreign merchants, moneylending, and justice – Wilson contrasts Turkey and London so that Turkey appears in a more positive, favourable light wheras London is faltering, unstable, and morally and economically weak. Considering that Wilson wrote the play just after the Turkey Company was established, when Queen Elizabeth I and Sultan Murad III agreed upon formal trading 'capitulations' in 1580, I argue that Three Ladies responds to these mercantile shifts by demonstrating an English anxiety and struggle in establishing itself within this new global partnership. My reading of the play shifts the focus to the English inability to manage the incoming foreign merchants and alien immigrants in this new economic system, especially as compared to the thriving Ottoman Empire.

Citation: Ebrahim, Fatima Farida, ‘Baubles for Bell-Metal: English Anxieties about Trade and Traffic in The Three Ladies of London’, Performance as Research in Early English Theatre Studies: The Three Ladies of London in Context, http://threeladiesoflondon.mcmaster.ca/contexts/FatimaEbrahim.htm.

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What We Talk about When We Talk about Hospitality in Robert Wilson’s
The Three Ladies of London

Daryl Palmer

Abstract: When Hospitality made his entrance in Robert Wilson’s The Three Ladies of London, Elizabethan audiences probably thought they knew what was about to unfold. A multifaceted term, hospitality referred to the generous entertainment of friends and strangers alike. For several decades, preachers and pamphleteers had been reminding their audiences that hospitality was an essential part of Christian life. As the years passed, these reminders had turned into complaints about the decay of hospitality. With all this in mind, Wilson’s early audiences must have expected poor Hospitality to be ignored and dismissed, but Wilson surprised them with three elements: a heteroclite Hospitality, his startling murder, and Simplicity’s comic reaction. In my analysis of each of these elements, I want to pay particular attention to the ways in which Wilson's dramaturgy – what Scott McMillin and Sally-Beth MacLean have called ‘medley’ – energizes the revisionary enterprise.

Citation: Palmer, Daryl, ‘What We Talk about When We Talk about Hospitality in Robert Wilson’s
The Three Ladies of London’, Performance as Research in Early English Theatre Studies: The Three Ladies of London in Context, http://threeladiesoflondon.mcmaster.ca/contexts/DarylPalmer.htm.

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