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      ‘World Now Thou Seest What Tis to Be a Ward’: Representations of Wardship and Enforced Marriages on the Seventeenth-Century Stage

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          Abstract

          This article argues that the trope of the young ward being threatened with enforced marriage by their guardian remained popular on the late seventeenth-century English stage, despite changes in the law of wardship which offered more protection to wards. It offers an overview of the changing laws of wardship in the seventeenth century and links these to representations of wardship in the work of William Shakespeare and George Wilkins on the one hand, and Thomas D’Urfey on the other. That D’Urfey continued to use, as a main driving action in his plays, the character of the greedy guardian who tries to enrich himself by infringing on the rights of his ward, is, however, less a representation of the legal situation at the time, and more a continuation of a popular, earlier-seventeenth-century trope.

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          Most cited references 14

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          All’s [Not] Well: Female Service and ‘Vendible’ Virginity in Shakespeare’s Problem Play

           E C Gerstell (2015)
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            Faith in the Unseen: Helena’s Sacramental Vision in All’s Well that Ends Well

             J. Avery (2017)
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              • Abstract: not found
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              Adoption and the Language of Horticulture in All’s Well that Ends Well

               E Ellerbeck (2011)
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                2056-6700
                Open Library of Humanities
                Open Library of Humanities
                2056-6700
                15 June 2020
                2020
                : 6
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Leiden University, NL
                Article
                10.16995/olh.446
                Copyright: © 2020 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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