Samuel Sheppard’s play pamphlet series The Committee-man Curried (1647) satirizes Parliamentary agents as corrupt, drunken, lascivious, and generally hypocritical. Since Sheppard wrote for Royalist newsbooks and celebrated King Charles I in his literary works during the English Civil Wars, his scorn for these opposition figures is not surprising. But throughout the play, Sheppard insists that, above all other ills, these assemblymen, excise collectors, priests, and moneylenders waste time. He shows them running late and shirking their responsibilities, depicts their sexual exploits as a mockery of good scheduling, and he likens their usurious moneylending to sodomy: wasted time leads to poor governance. In this article, I show that Sheppard blends quotidian images of timekeeping and oracular language to critique rule by Parliament. I contend that Sheppard’s scenes of prophecy and wasted time not only decry the committeemen of his present, but also interrogate the future consequences of their actions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cultural Studies
- Literature and Literary Theory