To understand the paradigmatic implications of race in Early Modern England as revealed through the works of Shakespeare, our analysis cannot be conned to his two well-known “race plays,” Titus Andronicus and Othello, but must draw evidence from throughout Shakespeare’s canon. While both Aaron and Othello are called “black” by other characters within the text, they are not the only Shakespearean characters to receive this descriptor, yet they are the only two for whom the descriptor is read immediately in relation to their physical bodies. In Henry VI Part 1, Lucy calls Talbot “your kingdom’s nemesis and black terror” (4.7.78). In Richard III, Queen Margaret refers to Richard as “hell’s black intelligencer” (4.4.71). In Two Gentlemen of Verona, both Thurio and Proteus reference Thurio’s dark complexion, with Thurio refuting Proteus’s claim that Julia nds him fair, “Nay then, the wanton lies, my face is black” (5.2.10) and with Proteus rebutting “black men are pearls in beauteous ladies’ eyes” (5.2.12). Yet none

of these references is read as a marker of the character’s aesthetic blackness. Thurio’s swarthiness is rarely, if ever, the subject of racial critiques. A brief survey of the Shakespearean canon reveals that the character most often referred to as black is neither Aaron nor Othello, but Prince Edward. In the text of Edward III, Henry V, and Henry VI, Part 2, Edward is specically called black six times, as often as Aaron (twice) and Othello (four times) combined. Macbeth also contains numerous references to the eponymous character being black.