Welsh roots
Shakespeare’s brute part
in Free Will
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William Shakespeare's posture towards his Welsh patrons can be viewed as an indicator of the entire relation of his art to power, and of his preoccupation with the paradoxical strength of weakness. Shakespeare's lucky escape from questioning when his company was suspected of reviving a play about Richard II, probably his own, as a reveille for the Essex Revolt is one of the great mysteries of his biography. In his study of 'The Question of Britain,' Between Nations, David Baker interprets this famously backhanded compliment as a plea to "conqu'ring Caesar" to save 'Englishness' from 'barbaric Gaels'. The subaltern theory of Celtic repression in the Henriad would be a test case for postcolonial Shakespeare criticism. From a post-devolution Welsh perspective, a Shakespeare play is itself 'the ailment' it 'helps to diagnose', so culpably is the text to be associated with the Anglo-Saxon imperium that culminates in the Pax Americana.

Free Will

Art and power on Shakespeare’s stage

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