Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 17 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In Shakespeare’s period, when applied to people the word race normally referred to a lineage, rather than an ethnic group or skin colour. But there were widespread beliefs that individuals who descended from a noble or royal ‘race’ were intrinsically superior to others. This chapter demonstrates the pervasiveness of such concepts of social racism in early modern discourse, distinguishing between different varieties of racist thought. It then explores the role of racial ideas in the politics of England, Scotland and Ireland, where the Gaelic elite was heavily invested in a belief in its racial superiority to Irish peasants. The chapter concludes with a brief consideration of race in Shakespearean plays.

Keywords: race, racism, royalty, nobility, Gaelic society, ethnicity, honour, virtue, derogation

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.