Close to the time of Elizabeth’s expulsion of the Hanseatic merchants and the closing of the Steelyard (der Stahlhof) in the years 1597-98, two London plays engaged extensively with the business of trade, the merchant class, foreign merchants, and moneylending: early modern England’s first city comedy, William Haughton’s Englishmen for My Money, or A Woman Will Have Her Will (1598); and Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice (registered 22 July 1598). Whereas Haughton’s play uses foreignness, embodied in a foreign merchant, three half-English daughters, and three foreign suitors, as a means of promoting national consciousness and pride, Shakespeare indirectly uses the foreign not to unify but to reveal the divisions within England’s own economic values and culture.
economic, nationalism, Shakespeare, William Haughton, Steelyard, Queen Elizabeth, „The Merchant of Venice”, „Englishmen for My Money”, satisfaction, contentment, usury, interest
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