Welsh characters in Renaissance drama
Brown, Sarah Ann
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The Welsh character in Renaissance drama reflects and/or promulgates a stereotype, reflects English discomfort with their Welsh neighbors and the ambivalence that the English felt for the Welsh, and shows the changing status of Wales and the Welsh in England during the late years of Elizabeth Tudor's reign (1557-1603) and the reigns of James I (1603-1625) and Charies I. The Acts of Union,' integrafing Wales into England, initiated a transition of the status of the Welsh in Renaissance England from foreigners to legally recognized English subjects. The Acts created a new situation, calling for new reacfions: the ambiguity of the new Welsh position in English society created a more complicated set of possible reactions than had been necessary before the Acts of Union. The Acts of Union can be compared to the Renaissance marital union: Wales is cast as the wife, who is legally bound to her husband, England, but who does not have equal voice or rights and who must always recognize the superordination of her husband. This analogy fits the evidence of the English attitudes as shown in the dramas.