Abstract

abstract:

This essay argues that Measure for Measure reveals an important ambiguity in the concept of mysteries of state, a theoretical centerpiece of the divine right of kings. It shows that the mysteries of state concept comprehends both the substantial, charismatic core of sovereignty and the administrative techniques of government. After tracing the senses of the keyword "mystery" in the political-theological rhetoric of King James VI/I and the Shakespearean corpus, the paper goes on to develop a reading of Measure for Measure structured around the constitutive ambiguity of the mysteries of state concept. The argument highlights the importance of the play's minor characters, offering new perspectives from which to view Shakespeare's meditations on political theology in general, and divinely authored sovereignty in particular.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1553-3786
Print ISSN
1531-0485
Pages
pp. 1-25
Launched on MUSE
2019-10-01
Open Access
No
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