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From ‘effet de retour’ to unnaturalness
Pascale Drouet

Abuses of power that take the form of banishment can be interpreted as a direct consequence of parrhesia , insofar as parrhesia has been experienced by the interlocutor as speech abuse. Abusive banishment may thus be taken as an ‘ effet de retour ’ of abusive speech. 1 Naturally, this abuse is not presented as such, as ‘wrong or improper use’, 2 but is openly justified by (mis

in Shakespeare and the denial of territory
Banishment, abuse of power and strategies of resistance
Author: Pascale Drouet

This book analyses three Shakespearean plays that mainly deal with abusive forms of banishment: King Richard II, Coriolanus and King Lear. These plays present with particular clarity the mechanism of the banishment proclamation and its consequences, that is, the dynamic of exclusion and its repercussions. Those repercussions may entail breaking the ban to come back illegally and seek revenge; devising strategies of deviation, such as disguise and change of identity; or resorting to mental subterfuges as a means of refuge. They may also lead to entropy – exhaustion, letting go or heartbreak. Each in its own way, they invite us to reflect upon the complex articulation between banishment and abuse of power, upon the strategies of resistance and displacement employed to shun or endure the painful experience of ‘deterritorialisation’; they put into play the dialectics of allegiance and disobedience, of fearlessly speaking and silencing, of endurance and exhaustion; they question both the legitimacy of power and the limits of human resistance. This study draws on French scholars in Shakespearean studies, and also on contemporary French historians, theorists, anthropologists, psychoanalysts, essayists and philosophers, who can help us read Shakespeare’s plays in our time. It thus takes into account some of the works of Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Gaston Bachelard, Marcel Detienne and Jean-Pierre Vernant, Boris Cyrulnik and Emmanuel Housset. The hope is that their respective intellectual approaches will shed specific kinds of light on Shakespeare’s plays and initiate a fruitful dialogue with Anglo-Saxon criticism.

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Pascale Drouet

The way banishment and abuse of power are articulated participates, both upstream and downstream , in a dialectics of deterritorialisation and reterritorialisation, a dynamic whose driving force remains a form of transgression: going ‘through’ or ‘beyond’, crossing and counter-crossing frontiers, hence undergoing a crisis in identity. The banished person is forced to follow a trajectory entailing various types of

in Shakespeare and the denial of territory
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Pascale Drouet

Margaret in King Richard III . Three tragedies stand out for closely associating banishment with abuse of power: King Richard II (1595), King Lear (1605) and Coriolanus (1606). 19 These plays present with particular clarity the mechanism of the proclamation and its consequences, that is, the dynamic of exclusion and its repercussions. Those repercussions may entail breaking the ban to come back illegally and seek revenge (according to

in Shakespeare and the denial of territory
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Pascale Drouet

The heart has its reasons that political affairs do not know – or barely know. The fear of destruction, the imminence of disappearance and the face-to-face encounter with death (all resulting from abuse of power, exclusion or retribution) reveal this polarity. One either belongs to a country or is deeply attached to a person, this because political commitment and national duty prove incompatible

in Shakespeare and the denial of territory
Pascale Drouet

result from refusal of allegiance, abuse of power and banishment. In King Richard II and King Lear , abusive banishment is the consequence of fearless speech (Greek parrhesia ): bold subjects speak their minds to the king so as to question or criticise a decision or action of his that they deem unjust or evil, although supposedly justified by doctrines of absolute or divine right. In Coriolanus , the prospective consul

in Shakespeare and the denial of territory
Pascale Drouet

so far, was the victim of an abuse of power, a ‘foul deed’ (3.3.72) 28 perpetrated by his brother, who, he explains, wanted to be ‘[a]bsolute Milan’ (1.2.109). Antonio seized Prospero’s dukedom with the military help of Naples and ‘extirpate[d]’ (125), that is, radically deterritorialised, both his brother and infant niece, consigning them at night to the hazards of the sea, the ‘smooth space

in Shakespeare and the denial of territory
Pascale Drouet

part will here shift to new dialectics: of passiveness and reactivity, and of speed and slowness. In both King Richard II and Coriolanus , the dynamic of riposte is a response to a denial of territory that results from (or is experienced as resulting from) injustice and abuse of power; it takes the specific form of illegal return from banishment and, whether motivated by restitution or retribution, it raises the issues of

in Shakespeare and the denial of territory
Pascale Drouet

a warrior function’. 4 In Shakespeare’s tragedy, ruse participates in a dynamic of detour or deviation, so as to indirectly resist abuse of power and bypass the proclamation of outlawry. As such, it comes very close to the Greek notion of metis , that is, ‘cunning intelligence’. 5 In King Lear , the dynamic of deviation is set in motion by nearly instantaneous transgression (the

in Shakespeare and the denial of territory
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Deterritorialisation for deterritorialisation
Pascale Drouet

neither to speak of him, entreat for him, or any way sustain him’ (3.3.1–5). The threat of ‘perpetual displeasure’ announces the abuse of power leading to his expulsion. A couple of scenes later, as Gloucester is about to be atrociously tortured, he confesses: ‘I am tied to th’ stake, and I must stand the course’ (3.7.52). Ironically, the bear-baiting metaphor echoes what he himself had in store for his own son when he planned

in Shakespeare and the denial of territory