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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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Deterritorialisation for deterritorialisation
Pascale Drouet

field of the familiar and the endearing, it establishes the distances from the other and protects from chaos.’ 1 Because territories are numerous and of various kinds, the notion of deterritorialisation makes it possible to extend an exclusion that is strictly geographical to a variety of fields, including mental and metaphorical ones. Banishment is central to King Richard II , King Lear and Coriolanus insofar as it

in Shakespeare and the denial of territory
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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

the penalty of death. To banish, therefore, is to initiate a dynamic of departure, which is a process not only of de-spatialisation, but indeed of ‘deterritorialisation’ in the sense meant by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari: the one banished is said to be ‘deterritorialised’ because they are forced to renounce all the marks (material, relational, emotional, imaginary) that transformed a geographically objective place

in Shakespeare and the denial of territory
Pascale Drouet

the ‘caterpillars of the commonwealth’ (2.3.166) and the ‘traitors’ (5.3.140) who later resist him. It comes as no surprise that Bolingbroke’s re-appropriation should be followed by retaliation and the deterritorialisation of the king himself. Richard II’s utter absence of scruples when he ‘wrongfully seize[s] Hereford’s rights’ (2.1.201) resembles Regan’s and Goneril’s joint

in Shakespeare and the denial of territory
Pascale Drouet

self, in the mental sphere of the individual, in the imaginary space created by and belonging to the mind, in the ability intimately to spatialise, and hence subjectively to territorialise, external realities. This third response participates in a dialectic of endurance and exhaustion that can result, when the painful reality of deterritorialisation becomes too intense and prevails over soothing mental constructs, in

in Shakespeare and the denial of territory
Pascale Drouet

This chapter addresses the notions of limits, duration and torment. How do we know that the limits of endurance have reached a point of no return? What are the physical and psychic symptoms of exhaustion? Why do ‘tutors of resilience’, as Boris Cyrulnik calls them (such as Cordelia and Edgar in King Lear), fail to intuit these limits? This chapter shows how endurance is closely associated with the experience of duration. When time is experienced as interminable, the one who endures comes to evoke either a dead man before his time or a victim of torture, or even a miraculous survivor. This chapter suggests that, in King Lear, Edgar and Cordelia, and Kent to a lesser extent, serve as ‘tutors of resilience’ for Gloucester and Lear, even if they fail in the end. It suggests that the dynamic of ‘deterritorialisation’ entails a reflection upon the failure of understanding or, at least, the failure to take into account the vulnerability of the human condition.

in Shakespeare and the denial of territory
From ‘effet de retour’ to unnaturalness
Pascale Drouet

.4.25–36) For Richard II, this is truly symptomatic of ‘the eagle-winged pride / Of sky-aspiring and ambitious thoughts’ (1.3.129–30) of Bolingbroke’s implicit challenging of the doctrine of divine right. What better punishment than banishment for this Bolingbroke, who might incite the king’s subjects ‘to banish their affects with him’ (1.4.30)? What better nemesis than geographical deterritorialisation for

in Shakespeare and the denial of territory
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Pascale Drouet

makes a last effort, imploring, ‘Banish us both, and send the King with me’ (83), ‘Then whither he goes, thither let me go’ (85). There is no deterritorialisation whatsoever as long as she stays with him. The same idea is to be found in King Lear : what matters to Lear, whether in prison or elsewhere, is to remain with Cordelia. Once the war is lost, Cordelia turns to her father and affirms, ‘For thee

in Shakespeare and the denial of territory
Pascale Drouet

deterritorialisation does not have the same end in King Richard II and Coriolanus . Bolingbroke is not interested in ‘smooth spaces’ per se . These have only a transitional strategic function; ironically, they pave the way for the new ‘striated space’ he wants to reign over (King Henry IV’s England). As for Coriolanus, he feels at home on battlefields, not in the Capitol; he has no taste for the ‘striated space

in Shakespeare and the denial of territory