Mary Partridge
Search for other papers by Mary Partridge in
Current site
Google Scholar
Prodigality and the Earl of Essex
in Essex
Abstract only
Log-in for full text

In the aftermath of his abortive Irish campaign of 1599, the Earl of Essex brooded bitterly on the damage that the whole sorry episode was doing to his reputation. Literary critics including Grace Ioppolo, have cautioned against viewing every drama of the early 1600s through the distorting prism of Essex's spectacular implosion. Far from regarding Liberality and Prodigality as outmoded, contemporaries may well have been struck by its topical relevance. Prodigality's experience of hubris and nemesis is comparable to that of Essex. The confrontation between Prodigality and Fortune recalls several unfortunate episodes in Essex's career. The identification of Essex as a prodigal allowed a substantial proportion of the blame for his rebellion to be sloughed off onto the shoulders of his cronies. As Baldwin Smith observed, the government chose to explain Essex's treason through reference to low-born friends and evil counsellors.

  • Collapse
  • Expand


The cultural impact of an Elizabethan courtier


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 66 14 2
Full Text Views 62 2 0
PDF Downloads 28 2 0