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Marked Angels: Counterfeits, Commodities, and The Roaring Girl*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 November 2018

Valerie Forman
University of Colorado, Boulder


This article traces the connections between the circulation of commodities and counterfeit coins in The Roaring Girl. Contextualizing the play's representation of counterfeits within a discussion of the relationship between real and counterfeit money in the early modern period, I argue that the play registers and addresses economic pressures, in part through its commentary on, and revision of, the conventions of stage comedy. In particular, the play offers enhanced forms of realism and the fiction of the “individual” in the title character, Moll, to compensate for the absence of legible material guarantees for value, legitimacy, or status. I conclude with a reading of the play's representation of masterless persons as the necessary shadow side of the plethora of opportunities seemingly offered by the market.

Copyright © Renaissance Society of America 2001

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