Swearing allegiance or questioning power
in Shakespeare and the denial of territory
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Chapter 1 contrasts the duty of allegiance with the affirmation of an individual code of ethics that goes against it. It thus examines, in King Richard II, King Lear and Coriolanus, the dialectics of loyalty and disloyalty as subjective notions. Allegiance is presented according to three modes: absolute (obedience is unconditional), contractual (obedience makes sense only if contractual reciprocity is respected) and conflicting (obedience stands in a dialectical relationship with disobedience, a situation which generally breaks down in the face of some personal code of ethics). This chapter focuses on the subordinate figure who refuses to support political excesses (justified by the doctrine of divine right, absolutism or ‘theatrocracy’) and turns into a ‘fearless speaker’, or parrhesiast, that has the courage to speak the truth, thus endangering himself, but also threatening the power of performative speech, as Michel Foucault has shown in his Lectures at the Collège de France.

Shakespeare and the denial of territory

Banishment, abuse of power and strategies of resistance

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