Abstract

This essay argues that the figure of Cripple, central to the unattributed play The Fair Maid of the Exchange (1607), can reshape critical notions of early modern disability. Cripple depends upon distinctive prosthetic devices, his “crutches” and “crooked habite,” which he loans as stage properties for an act of disguise. Though Cripple’s character suggests the stereotype of the crippled beggar who makes a fraudulent appeal for charitable aid, the play foregrounds the vexed relationship between Cripple’s deformed body and his crucial position in the dramatic economy. In a comedy preoccupied with the exchanges of identity that make possible social and financial advancement, disability funds theatrical performance and defines the limits of impersonation.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6547
Print ISSN
0013-8304
Pages
pp. 491-519
Launched on MUSE
2015-06-11
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.