The Third Citizen
Shakespeare's Theater and the Early Modern House of Commons
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
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I am grateful to Princeton University for several grants and fellowships that allowed me to pursue research in England; the kind and helpful librarians and staff at the British Library, the Print Room of the British Museum, the Society of Antiquaries, and the John Rylands University Library of Manchester helped me make the most of my time. The Johns Hopkins University Press has been a generous and supportive ...
Note on References and Abbreviations
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Citations from manuscripts and early printed books generally follow the original spelling, but I have modernized in the cases of u/v, i/j, and f /s and silently amended early modern spellings, contractions, and punctuation that might cause confusion. References to and quotations from Julius Caesar follow T. S. Dorsch’s Arden edition; unless otherwise noted, all other references to ...
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Yelverton’s “most sacred” queen would seem an unlikely audience for an encomium to legal codes established by popular consent: before he began his oration, after all, the speaker had “made . . . 3 reverences” to his sovereign, who claimed to rule by divine right (PPE 3:241); he ended it by begging Elizabeth “to geve full life and essence” to the bills that had passed both the House of ...
Part One. Parliament in Shakespeare’s England
1. “An epitome of the whole realme”: Absorption and Representation in the Elizabethan and Jacobean House of Commons
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The House of Commons did not have a permanent meeting place until 1549, when Edward VI granted the knights and burgesses the use of St. Stephen’s Chapel in Westminster. One of the earliest descriptions of the Commons in St. Stephen’s comes to us from John Hooker’s The Order and usage of the keeping of a Parlement in England (1572): the Commons’ chamber, according to ...
2. Cade’s Mouth: Swallowing Parliament in the First Tetralogy
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Henry VI’s reign was so crowded with cruel misfortunes and gross miscalculations that it would seem impossible to identify any particular event or royal shortcoming as the cause of the king’s downfall. In the first Henriad, however, Shakespeare makes Henry’s mismanagement of Parliament the positive condition of the Yorkist triumph over the House of Lancaster: in the Parliament ...
Part Two. Political Representation in Shakespeare’s Rome
3. “Their tribune and their trust”: Political Representation, Property, and Rape in Titus Andronicus and The Rape of Lucrece
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Shakespeare framed the lurid revenge plot of Titus Andronicus (1594)—the rape and maiming of Lavinia and her father Titus’s subsequent destruction of Rome’s imperial family—with two popular elections: at the beginning of the play, the people’s “voices . . . create / Lord Saturninus Rome’s great emperor” (1.1.230–32); the play ends when “the common voice” hails Lucius Andronicus ...
4. “Caesar is turn’d to hear”: Theater, Popular Dictatorship, and the Conspiracy of Republicanism in Julius Caesar
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Gnaeus Pompey’s conquests in Asia were so vast that even “the stateliness and magnificence” of a Roman triumph proved to be an inadequate showcase for the spoils and prisoners he brought back to the city in 61 b.c.: “although he had two dayes space to shew [them],” Plutarch marvels, “yet he lacked tyme: for there were many things prepared for the shew that were not seen which ...
5. “Worshipful mutineers”: From Demos to Electorate in Coriolanus
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In the corporation records of Elizabethan Warwick, the big town just eight miles up the road from Stratford-upon-Avon, the name Richard Brookes is a talismanic sign of subversion and disorder. Brookes’s early career in Warwick did not promise Marlovian rebellion: a well-connected man of some substance, he became a principal burgess in 1565 (BB 7).1 But in 1582, Brookes’s ...
Epilogue: Losing Power, Losing Oneself: The Third Citizen and Tragedy
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... mechanicals must have electrified at least some of the garlic-eaters in Shakespeare’s audience. When we next see our band of citizens, they are preparing to enjoy the fruits of their rebellion: armed now with voices rather than weapons, the newly enfranchised people await the arrival of Coriolanus, who must solicit their suffrages for the consulship. They are changed men: the same citizens who ...
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Page Count: 328
Illustrations: 9 halftones
Publication Year: 2007
Series Title: Parallax: Re-visions of Culture and Society
Series Editor Byline: Stephen G. Nichols, Gerald Prince, and Wendy Steiner, Series Editors