n the history of Western literary tradition, early modern theatres constituted an important passage for the construction of a different perception of community as well as a different appraisal of legal institutions. In modern playhouses, traditional values were staged, debated, and critiqued. In this paper, I will focus on three Shakespearean tragedies (Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet) that provide relevant insights about the way in which power and legal themes were challenged and questioned. In these plays Shakespeare provided a critical view of what we might call the “mystical foundation of authority.” Shakespeare’s theater is the triumph of rule and exception, of order and disorder, of sacred and profane. As I will show, in Hamlet, Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet, law is always living on the danger of its eclipse and its suspension: the threshold which separates the legal and the illegal, the legitimate and the illegitimate, is then the result of a narrative process of which Shakespeare’s theater provides perhaps the highest example in Western literary culture.

Desacralized Law: Shakespeare and the Tragedy of Sovereignty

Mauro Balestrieri
2022

Abstract

n the history of Western literary tradition, early modern theatres constituted an important passage for the construction of a different perception of community as well as a different appraisal of legal institutions. In modern playhouses, traditional values were staged, debated, and critiqued. In this paper, I will focus on three Shakespearean tragedies (Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet) that provide relevant insights about the way in which power and legal themes were challenged and questioned. In these plays Shakespeare provided a critical view of what we might call the “mystical foundation of authority.” Shakespeare’s theater is the triumph of rule and exception, of order and disorder, of sacred and profane. As I will show, in Hamlet, Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet, law is always living on the danger of its eclipse and its suspension: the threshold which separates the legal and the illegal, the legitimate and the illegitimate, is then the result of a narrative process of which Shakespeare’s theater provides perhaps the highest example in Western literary culture.
PÓLEMOS
16
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25
45
https://doi.org/10.1515/pol-2022-2003
Shakespeare, law, Renaissance theatre, sovereignty, Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet
Mauro Balestrieri
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2318/1852971
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