Shakespeare as Political Thinker

By John E. Alvis; Thomas G. West | Go to book overview

Notes

A longer version of this essay appeared in John Alvis, Shakespeare's Understanding of Honor ( Durham, N.C.: Carolina Academic Press, 1990), pp. 59- 97.

1.
Discourses, II.2.
2.
My reading of The Rape of Lucrece is indebted to the thoughtful remarks on the poem offered by Michael Platt in his Rome and Romans According to Shakespeare ( Salzburg: Salzburg Studies in English Literature, 1976), pp. 1-40.
3.
My text throughout is The Complete Pelican Shakespeare, Alfred Harbage general editor ( New York: Penguin Books, 1969).
4.
Discourses, III.2.
5.
Cited by Steven Runciman, The Medieval Manichee: A Study of the Christian Dualist Heresy ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1960), p. 154.
6.
Rebecca West, The Court and the Castle ( New Haven: Yale University Press, 1957), pp. 27-28, has ascribed to the play itself a mood of unremitting despair:

The evil in the world is not the product of the specially corrupt
present generation, it has its roots in the generations that went
before and also were corrupt; it has its roots in the race. There
is no use pretending that we can frustrate our sinful disposi
tions by calling on tradition, because that is also the work of
sinful man. This is the situation of our kind as it is shown to us
in Hamlet, which is as pessimistic as any great work of litera
ture ever written.... What excites Shakespeare in this play is
the impossibility of conceiving an action which could justly be
termed virtuous, in view of the bias of original sin.

West gives an admirably accurate account of Hamlet's outlook upon his world. It would be a true description of the moral scene Hamlet looks out upon, however, only were it not that Shakespeare causes us to suspect that his protagonist cannot conceive the particular virtuous action he is called to perform, precisely because he attributes too much to the "bias of original sin."

7.
"Hamlet: The Prince or the Poem," in Modern Shakespearean Criticism, ed. Alvin B. Kernan ( New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1970), p. 307.
8.
Harold Bloom's extravagant tributes to Hamlet illustrate modern readers' and audiences' fondness for a character which evokes their sense of kinship with a personality constantly in revision of itself. Bloom thinks Hamlet has discovered authentic freedom by taking a provisional stance toward his every affection, allegiance, or (momentarily adopted) moral principle. Hamlet thereby provides a charter for anyone who inclines to address life as an es-

-312-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Shakespeare as Political Thinker
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Title Page vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Note on the Revised Edition xiii
  • The Editors and Authors xv
  • Introductory- Shakespearean Poetry and Politics 1
  • Notes 24
  • The Unity of Tragedy, Comedy, and History- An Interpretation of the Shakespearean Universe 29
  • Notes 58
  • Richard II 59
  • Notes 69
  • God Will Save the King- Shakespeare''s Richard II 71
  • Notes 89
  • Shakespeare''s Henry IV- A New Prince in a New Principality 93
  • Notes 104
  • Spectacle Supplanting Ceremony- Shakespeare''s Henry Monmouth 107
  • Notes 138
  • The Two Truths of Troilus and Cressida 143
  • Notes 160
  • Troilus and Cressida- Poetry or Philosophy? 163
  • Notes 175
  • Nature and the City- Timon of Athens 177
  • Notes 201
  • Chastity as a Political Principle- An Interpretation of Shakespeare''s Measure for Measure 203
  • Notes 240
  • Prospero''s Republic- The Politics of Shakespeare''s the Tempest 241
  • Notes 258
  • The Golden Casket- An Interpretation of the Merchant of Venice 261
  • Notes 285
  • Shakespeare''s Hamlet and Machiavelli- How Not to Kill a Despot 289
  • Notes 312
  • Macbeth and the Gospelling of Scotland 315
  • Notes 344
  • Shakespearean Wisdom? 353
  • Notes 375
  • Shakespearean Comedy and Tragedy- Implicit Political Analogies 381
  • Note 395
  • Transcendence and Equivocation- Some Political, Theological, and Philosophical Themes in Shakespeare 397
  • Notes 405
  • Index 407
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 430

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.