Coming to a Head: Ragozine as Pirate Money in Act 4 Scene 3 of Shakespeare's Measure for Measure

Abstract : When the Friar's plan to have Barnardine beheaded instead of Claudio fails in Act 4 Scene 3 of Measure for Measure, bringing the play's regime of substitution to a halt, the dead body of `One Ragozine, a most notorious pirate' (4.3.70) opportunely supplies the much-needed head. On this occasion, the play moves away from the earlier barter trade typified by the bed trick to engage in (counterfeit) money economy. A combination of piracy, coining and debasement inaugurates a new regime of economic exchange as an extensive network of metaphors turns the head of the dead pirate into an instance of counterfeit currency, clipped, shaved and coloured according to the debasement practices of the early modern period.
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Submitted on : Monday, November 20, 2017 - 5:37:04 PM
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Anny Crunelle Vanrigh. Coming to a Head: Ragozine as Pirate Money in Act 4 Scene 3 of Shakespeare's Measure for Measure. Cahiers Élisabéthains, Institut de recherche sur la Renaissance/SAGE, 2016, 89 (1), pp.83--90. ⟨10.1177/0184767815627764⟩. ⟨hal-01640381⟩

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