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01/07/2014

The Roaring Girl was not performed for 200 years.


The rise of the city means it started to produce metropolitan comedy. The green space
is no longer there; its in the streets.
Ben Johnson invented the city comedy; he viewed the city as man devouring.
Its a place served by duality. Marriage of commerce hovering everywhere, and the
confict with religion. (Ex. St. Pauls Cathedral was a marketplace)
James sold titles to raise money. This creates a social fux. City comedy is very
concerned with status and rank. During the reign of James, women could not dress like
men it was very frowned upon.
As a genre, it achieved identifable characteristics by about 1605.
-explicit sexual discourse
-theatrical paraphernalia of prostitutes, adulteries, and corrupt connections
between money and sex.
-connection between marriage and property vs. lust and greed (duality)
-draws on rustic, festive values to some degree
-Equation of sexuality with sin, allows for examination of economic status
-contestation between the sexes and the fght for female independence
-social mobility and sexual equality are linked
Prologue
Roaring girls are like the typical drunk girls, but our roaring girl is not like them.
Addressing the controversial nature of their hero. heroine
We cant tell what her class is from this play.
She employs rufans and is at home with the streets.
Hierarchy remains slippery from beginning to the end, but other characters have
their morality measured with hers. She is the measuring stick.
She resists and adheres to her role at the same time. As a character, she
dramatized as a mixture of premeditated acts but also spontaneous. Yes, I will let you,
Sebastian, pretend to want to marry me. Avoids rape but then challenges him to a
sword fght. Play teases the audience because they are real life people names given to
characters.
Moll is the green space because she makes herself neutral by dressing as a man. We
could argue that the greenspace no longer represents Arcadia, but in this play,
represents a place of seduction and rape of women.
Act 3 Scene 1
Laxton is a lazy upperclass man who has spent all his inheritance. He is prostituting
himself to get money. He has no morals and land and takes money from the
shopkeepers wives; mysogynist; he doesnt like Moll because she cross dresses. He
thinks every woman is prey. If she gives him a second look, he can have her. He
makes up excuses as to laying claim to a woman. Moll says to him, why do you think
Id be your whore? women in this city space are reliant on commerce. If their husband
dies, what trade can she do? Prostitution. These are the women who are vulnerable to
him, vulnerable to people like Laxton who can get away with it. Moll is turning the tables
on him. Shes giving a rational argument. He generalizes her, she says im going to
generalize you! and they fght. She steps away and says I dont need to kill you, Ive
made my point.
It would be diferent if she were a whore and could fght like that. She is a rational, moral
being defeating the irrational and immoral being. They feared what if women would
become like Moll?
Responses to this character: she is in charge of her own destiny. Rosalind goes through
waves: starts out as a woman, then man, then gives it up to be a woman. Moll has a lot
of times she could turn, but she stays strong. She doesnt pretend that shes a man. She
just dresses like a man. Shes not pretending to be someone shes not. She is being
herself and being in charge of her destiny.