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date: 28 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Robert Wilson's The Three Ladies of London occupies an important place in the history of English drama. It belongs to a set of Elizabethan plays on the subjects of Jews and usury, and may have been a response to the anonymous lost play The Jew, thought to have been written in the 1570s, which portrayed the conventional social attitude toward Jews depicting, according to Gosson, ‘the greediness of wordly chusers, and the bloody mindes of Usurers’. The Three Ladies of London appears to have provoked a hostile response in another anonymous lost play, London Against the Three Ladies (c.1582). In turn, these plays influenced important later plays representing the connections between Jews, trade, moneylending, and the assimilation of Jews into Christian society. As the play's plot and the characters' names indicate, The Three Ladies of London is indebted to the medieval allegory and the morality play, which includes characters who are personifications of abstract qualities rather than distinct individuals.

Keywords: Tudor theatre, plays, English drama, Elizabethan plays, Jews, usury

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