Johns Hopkins University Press
Studies in English Literature 1500-1900
This article contends that the mid-Tudor interlude Jacob and Esau, long known to have a Protestant slant, promotes a Calvinistic doctrine of election consonant with Edwardian theology and that in doing so it also enacts a rare kind of iconoclastic drama. The play invalidates the very discriminations between the brothers it seems to encourage us to make. This building up only to break down the differences between the elect and the reprobate proves God’s judgments to be unresponsive to human merits and utterly inscrutable, even as it prompts the audience to beware of the limits of perception and the dangers of appearances.
Curran, John E. Jr., "Jacob and Esau and the Iconoclasm of Merit" (2009). English Faculty Research and Publications. 523.
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