The politics of illegal return
in Shakespeare and the denial of territory
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Chapter 4 turns to the Shakespearean characters who, being unjustly banished, will not passively endure (Bolingbroke in King Richard II, Coriolanus). Once abroad, they initiate a dynamic of frontal counterattack and illegally return with a Deleuzian ‘war machine’. In King Richard II, Bolingbroke’s intentions remain ambiguous, since he first claims that he comes but for his own, but he then deposes the king to take his place (re-appropriation, reprisal and self-territorialisation). As for Coriolanus, his aim is to destroy Rome so that it is reduced to a tabula rasa (retaliation, deterritorialisation and eradication). This chapter examines how, in Coriolanus and King Richard II, the protagonists’ illegal return is a means to regain one’s name, claim one’s title or forge oneself a new name. It is also the result of a choice that privileges action over words, refuses the soothing quality of words, the refuge of imagination and mental spaces, the benefit of the doctrine of consolatio.

Shakespeare and the denial of territory

Banishment, abuse of power and strategies of resistance

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