Date: August 1993
Creator: Oh, Seiwoong
Description: Whereas scholarly malcontents and naifs in late Renaissance drama represent the actual notion of university graduates during the time period, scholarly tricksters have an obscure social origin. Moreover, their lack of motive in participating in the plays' events, their ambivalent value structures, and their conflicting dramatic roles as tricksters, reformers, justices, and heroes pose a serious diffculty to literary critics who attempt to define them. By examining the Western dramatic tradition, this study first proposes that the scholarly tricksters have their origins in both the Vice in early Tudor plays and the witty slave in classical comedy. By incorporating historical, cultural, anthropological, and psychological studies, this essay also demonstrates that the scholarly tricksters are each a Jacobean version of the archetypal trickster, who is usually associated with solitary habits, motiveless intrusion, and a double function as selfish buffoon and cultural hero. Finally, this study shows that their ambivalent value structures reflect the nature of rhetorical training in Renaissance schools.
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