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Shakespeare's Law is a critical overview of law and legal issues within the life, career, and works of William Shakespeare as well as those that arise from the endless array of activities that happen today in the name of Shakespeare. Mark Fortier argues that Shakespeare’s attitudes to law are complex and not always sanguine, that there exists a deep and perhaps ultimate move beyond law very different from what a lawyer or legal scholar might recognize.
Fortier looks in detail at the legal issues most prominent across Shakespeare’s work: status, inheritance, fraud, property, contract, tort (especially slander), evidence, crime, political authority, trials, and the relative value of law and justice. He also includes two detailed case studies, of The Merchant of Venice and Measure for Measure, as well as a chapter looking at law in works by Shakespeare's contemporaries. The book concludes with a chapter on the law as it relates to Shakespeare today.
The book shows that the legal issues in Shakespeare are often relevant to issues we face now, and the exploration of law in Shakespeare is as germane today, though in sometimes new ways, as in the past.
Table of Contents
Introduction, 1. Law in Shakespeare's Life and Career, 2. General Patterns, 3. Case Study: The Merchant of Venice, 4. Case Study: Measure for Measure, 5. Seven Short Readings of Non-Shakespearean Early-Modern Plays, 6. Shakespeare and Law Now
Mark Fortier is a Professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph, Canada. He has published widely on Shakespeare, Theatre studies, and Law and Literature, including Adaptations of Shakespeare, Theory/Theatre: An Introduction, and Literature and Law.