The talion effect
Deterritorialisation for deterritorialisation
in Shakespeare and the denial of territory
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Chapter 3 examines how King Richard II, King Lear and Coriolanus present three tragic variants of the comic motif of the biter bit: the banisher banished. The dynamic of retaliation runs through the three plays, though in different ways. Most of the time, if not always, deterritorialisation is announced by an upsurge of violence, both when the king (or authority in power) expulses the fearless speaker and when the king himself (or authority in power) is rejected, in turn. To take up Foucault’s terms, ‘the sentence takes the form of a counter-attack’, and ‘an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth’ becomes ‘deterritorialisation for deterritorialisation’. This chapter focuses on the characters who speak fearlessly in the three Shakespearean plays and shows how those parrhesiastes are banished because they have, linguistically and ethically, a threatening, deterritorialising potential.

Shakespeare and the denial of territory

Banishment, abuse of power and strategies of resistance


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