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The Face of MammonThe Matter of Money in English Renaissance Literature$
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David Landreth

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199773299

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199773299.001.0001

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Monetary Policy King John and Measure for Measure

Monetary Policy King John and Measure for Measure

(p.102) Chapter Two Monetary Policy King John and Measure for Measure
The Face of Mammon

David Landreth

Oxford University Press

Two of Shakespeare's political plays, King John and Measure for Measure, use the minting of the sovereign's portrait upon the coin to define the political problem of reproduction. For King John, the coin reformulates the play's dynastic conundrums into the terms of “Commodity, the bias of the world,” while for Measure for Measure the reproduction of images contests with sexual reproduction to express the relationship of the sovereign Duke to the flawed deputy in whom his authority is reproduced. For both plays, the eccentric and perverse circulation of coins manifests the irreducible errancy of contingency within the distribution of power.

Keywords:   Shakespeare, William. King John, Shakespeare, William. Measure for Measure, politics, reproduction, contingency

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