Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Book sections

Providence and Divine Right in the English Histories

Abstract : This chapter studies the plays that contain the most allusions to religion in the whole of the Shakespearean corpus: the ten or so English history plays encompassing the reigns of six medieval English monarchs, with the exception of Henry VIII, which partly covers that of the second Tudor king. As a genre, the history play invites conjectures about time and destiny. In these plays Shakespeare anatomised rulers’ so-called special relationship to Providence and to the divine. His potentates appeal differently to their ‘divine rights’, and the staging of their verbal and political strategies was often a way for the dramatist to instil a tragic and poetic dimension into his histories. He also exposes bigoted and manipulative uses of divine Providence. The playwright’s exploration of divine right is circumspect and conscious of how political discourse can feed on religion to create its mystique or mysticism. Shakespeare’s stages of history show us that the establishment of kingship on any type of sacred authority is a potential source of conflict. His drama does not transgress or adhere to an orthodox divine theory of sovereignty. It seeks to establish a dialogue between an ideologically conflicted past and a religiously and politically troubled present.
Document type :
Book sections
Complete list of metadata

https://hal-cnrs.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03762455
Contributor : Jean-Christophe Mayer Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Saturday, August 27, 2022 - 6:59:34 PM
Last modification on : Monday, September 12, 2022 - 10:16:36 AM

File

Mayer_Providence&DivineRight.p...
Files produced by the author(s)

Licence


Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Identifiers

Collections

Citation

Jean-Christophe Mayer. Providence and Divine Right in the English Histories. Hamlin, Hannibal. The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and Religion, Cambridge University Press, 2019, Cambridge Companions to Literature and Classics, 9781316779224. ⟨10.1017/9781316779224.010⟩. ⟨hal-03762455⟩

Share

Metrics

Record views

902

Files downloads

7743