‘[A]dore my topless villainy’: Metatheatrical Rivalry in John Marston’s Antonio’s Revenge
Marston’s Antonio’s Revenge is a self-reflexive tragedy with characters who speak and act like characters familiar with the conventions of Elizabethan revenge plays. This article argues that Marston's use of metatheatricality allegorizes the competitive nature of commercial theatres. As Marston's characters seek to emulate and surpass their theatrical models, revenge becomes a medium for aesthetic achievement, a showcase for acting and rhetorical skill. The play expands the theatrum mundi trope, imagining the world not as a single stage but as a marketplace of rival stages wherein playwrights vie for applause and seek recognition for their theatrical brilliance.
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