Wrapped in the strong arms of the Union

Shakespeare and King James

in Shakespeare and Scotland
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This chapter addresses the issue of William Shakespeare and Scotland through the writing of King James himself and, in particular, through his manual of kingship, Basilicon Doron, his 'royal gift' to Prince Henry, and the speech to parliament of 1603. The story of the publication of Basilicon Doron is itself an instance of James's double voice, since it began as an intensely private affair but ended up very much as a public statement. Shakespeare's political drama moves from a sense of England and Scotland as independent kingdoms into an alignment with the views of the Unionist King James. The original act of union was a fact of James's accession to the English throne in 1603, but that was all it was. The Union existed only within the person of James himself, hence the marital analogy.

Editors: Willy Maley and Andrew Murphy

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