Shakespeare and the Carriers

Stewart Alan

in Shakespeare's Letters

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780199549276
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191701504 | DOI:
Shakespeare and the Carriers

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The Gadshill robbery shows how an unholy alliance between career criminals and their high-ranking protectors preyed on a crucial infrastructure of early modern England that has been largely lost to the modern view: the network of carriers and carriers' inns on which so much communication depended. The carrier not only provided the primary means of contact in Elizabethan England between London and provincial towns, but also constituted a way of understanding the capital for the provincial men and woman. In Henry IV Part One, William Shakespeare presents the system of carriers and the inns that sheltered them as under threat from precisely those London-dwellers whose lives and livelihoods it makes possible. This chapter attempts to restore the carriers to their rightful place in the play — and in the life of the playwright, since Shakespeare's own relationship with the carrier system is revealed in the single piece of his surviving correspondence.

Keywords: Gadshill robbery; England; carriers; London; William Shakespeare; play

Chapter.  14549 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism

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