First published in 1989, this title explores the relationship theater and power in the English Renaissance. Shakespeare’s Henry V, Richard II, and Macbeth are examined alongside a range of cultural materials, including philosophical and historical accounts of sovereignty, royal portraiture and representations of treason and punishment. Renaissance theater was far more than a vehicle for the expression of a political content: it played a constitutive role in forming the distinctive theory of sovereignty and the distinctive political subjectivity of the era. By reading Shakespeare’s plays conjunction with other, ideologically charged forms of representation, the book continues new-historicist efforts to uncover the complex relations between literary texts and cultural contexts. Providing an interesting and detailed analysis, this reissue will be of value to students of Shakespeare and the English Renaissance, and those concerned with exploring the intersection between cultural analysis, post-structuralism, and psychoanalytic interpretation.
List of Illustrations; Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1. Mock Sovereignty: Henry V 2. Theatricality and Power 3. The Betrayal of the Gaze: Richard II 4. The Spectacle of Punishment 5. Macbeth and the Politics of Rapture; Notes; Index
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