An illuminating account of how Shakespeare worked through the tensions of Queen Elizabeth's England in two canon-defining plays
Conspiracies and revolts simmered beneath the surface of Queen Elizabeth's reign. England was riven with tensions created by religious conflict and the prospect of dynastic crisis and regime change.
In this rich, incisive account, Peter Lake reveals how in Titus Andronicus and Hamlet Shakespeare worked through a range of Tudor anxieties, including concerns about the nature of justice, resistance, and salvation. In both Hamlet and Titus the princes are faced with successions forged under questionable circumstances and they each have a choice: whether or not to resort to political violence. The unfolding action, Lake argues, is best understood in terms of contemporary debates about the legitimacy of resistance and the relation between religion and politics. Relating the plays to their broader political and polemical contexts, Lake sheds light on the nature of revenge, resistance, and religion in post-Reformation England.