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The Absence of AmericaThe London Stage, 1576-1642$
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Gavin Hollis

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198734321

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198734321.001.0001

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The Dead Indian

The Dead Indian

Virginians in The Memorable Masque, “The Triumph of Time,” Henry VIII, and The Tempest of 1613

Chapter:
(p.119) 3 The Dead Indian
Source:
The Absence of America
Author(s):

Gavin Hollis

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198734321.003.0004

This chapter focuses on the impact of George Chapman’s The Memorable Masque for the royal wedding of 1613, in particular how its display of Christianized “Virginian priests and princes” to promote investment in the Virginia Company’s religious mission in the New World was parodied in three plays. Fletcher and Field’s Four Plays, or Moral Interludes, in One borrows Chapman’s Virginians, but excises his conversion plot, staging Indians in thrall to lucre and the converting colonist as a lost soul. Shakespeare and Fletcher’s Henry VIII invokes a “strange Indian with the great tool,” who instead of inspiring charity invokes only lust and greed. In The Tempest (which was revived at court in 1613), Trinculo’s recollection of the “dead Indian” that wowed England memory forms part of the play’s satire of both The Memorable Masque and the Virginia Company’s rhetoric of conversion as embodied in their display of Virginian bodies.

Keywords:   Virginia Company, promotional matter, Indian display, conversion, The Memorable Masque, The Tempest, royal wedding 1613

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