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from Niccolo Machiavelli, Il Principe [The Prince] (1532)
CHAPTER II — CONCERNING HEREDITARY PRINCIPALITIES

 I say at on...
Divided Sympathies
 Richard is either “tyrant” or
“martyr”
 Henry “patriot” or “ruthless
opportunist”
Charles R. Forker,...
Elizabethan Politics: Succession
Elizabethan Politics: Flatterers and Taxes
NORTHUMBERLAND
[…] The king is not himself, but basely led
By flatterers; and w...
Essex’s Rebellion 1601
 [T]he very earliest reactions to the event from within
Elizabeth’s court associated the rebellion...
Divine Right
Theory of Divine Right as laid out by Figgis:
1. ‘Monarchy is a divinely ordained institution.’

1. ‘Heredita...
The King’s Two Bodies
The King has two Capacities, for he has two Bodies, the one whereof
is a Body natural, consisting of...
 Detail from frontispiece from Thomas Hobbes Leviathan (1642), depicting
the monarch as the head of the state's corporate...
Parliament Scene
BISHOP OF CARLISLE What subject can give sentence on his king?

And who sits here that is not Richard's s...
Merit vs. Inherit
 “Richard, the man of words, postures and ceremonial
dignity is defeated by Bolingbroke, the man of act...
The Machiavellian World of
Richard II
From its very opening the world depicted in Richard II is
already a fully fallen, Ma...
Medieval Chivalry to
Instrumental Power
BOLINGBROKE

Pale trembling coward, there I throw my gage,
Disclaiming here the ki...
Image and Appearance
 […] our experience has been that those princes who have done great
things have held good faith of l...
Closely Guarded Self
EXTON

Great king, within this coffin I present
Thy buried fear: herein all breathless lies
The might...
The Imprudent King
RICHARD

We will ourself in person to this war:
And, for our coffers, with too great a court
And libera...
Richard’s Failings
 It makes him contemptible to be considered fickle, frivolous, effeminate, meanspirited, irresolute […...
Crisis of Subjectivity
 Thus play I in one person many people,
And none contented: sometimes am I king;
Then treasons mak...
A Divided Self
For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings;
How some have been d...
Hollow Crowns, Traitors, and Miscreants
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Hollow Crowns, Traitors, and Miscreants

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Hollow Crowns, Traitors, and Miscreants

  1. 1. from Niccolo Machiavelli, Il Principe [The Prince] (1532) CHAPTER II — CONCERNING HEREDITARY PRINCIPALITIES  I say at once there are fewer difficulties in holding hereditary states, and those long accustomed to the family of their prince, than new ones; for it is sufficient only not to transgress the customs of his ancestors, and to deal prudently with circumstances as they arise, for a prince of average powers to maintain himself in his state, unless he be deprived of it by some extraordinary and excessive force […] For the hereditary prince has less cause and less necessity to offend; hence it happens that he will be more loved; and unless extraordinary vices cause him to be hated, it is reasonable to expect that his subjects will be naturally well disposed towards him http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1232/1232-h/1232h.htm#link2H_4_0007
  2. 2. Divided Sympathies  Richard is either “tyrant” or “martyr”  Henry “patriot” or “ruthless opportunist” Charles R. Forker, Introduction to The Arden Shakespeare: King Richard II (London: Bloomsbury, 2002) 1-170:3.
  3. 3. Elizabethan Politics: Succession
  4. 4. Elizabethan Politics: Flatterers and Taxes NORTHUMBERLAND […] The king is not himself, but basely led By flatterers; and what they will inform, Merely in hate, 'gainst any of us all, That will the king severely prosecute 'Gainst us, our lives, our children, and our heirs. LORD ROSS The commons hath he pill'd with grievous taxes, And quite lost their hearts: the nobles hath he fined For ancient quarrels, and quite lost their hearts. LORD WILLOUGHBY And daily new exactions are devised, As blanks, benevolences, and I wot not what: But what, o' God's name, doth become of this? (2.1.241-51)
  5. 5. Essex’s Rebellion 1601  [T]he very earliest reactions to the event from within Elizabeth’s court associated the rebellion with the story of Richard, and it is not impossible that they were in part stimulated by an awareness of the performance of the play of Richard II at the Globe the day before the rebellion [….] Hugh Grady, Shakespeare, Machiavelli, and Montaigne: Power and Subjectivity from Richard II to Hamlet (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 33  “I am Richard the Second, know ye not that?” cited in Grady, 33
  6. 6. Divine Right Theory of Divine Right as laid out by Figgis: 1. ‘Monarchy is a divinely ordained institution.’ 1. ‘Hereditary right is indefeasible.’ Succession is ‘regulated by the law of primogeniture. The right acquired by birth cannot be forfeited through any acts of usurpation’. 1. ‘Kings are accountable to God alone.’ The King’s ‘power is incapable of legal limitation.’ 1. ‘Non-resistance and passive obedience are enjoined by God.’ John Figgis The Divine Right of Kings [1896] (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1914), 5-6
  7. 7. The King’s Two Bodies The King has two Capacities, for he has two Bodies, the one whereof is a Body natural, consisting of natural Members as every other Man has, and in this he is subject to Passions and Death as other Men are; the other is a Body politic, and the Members thereof are his Subjects, and he and his Subjects together compose the Corporation, as Southcote said, and his is incorporated with them, and they with him, and he is the Head, and they are the Members, and he has the sole Government of them; and this Body is not subject to Passions as the other is, nor to Death, for as to this Body the King never dies, and his natural Death is not called in our Law (as Harper said), the Death of the King, but the Demise of the King, not signifying by the Word (Demise) that the Body politic of the King is dead, but that there is a Separation of the two Bodies, and that the Body politic is transferred and conveyed over from the Body natural now dead, or now removed from the Dignity royal, to another Body natural. So that it signifies a Removal of the Body politic of the King of this Realm from one Body natural to another. from Plowden’s Reports, cited in Ernst Hartwig Kantorowicz, The King’s Two Bodies: a Study in Mediaeval Political Theology (Princeton University Press, 1957), 13. You can also see a facsimile of the case that this excerpt comes from at http://archive.org/stream/commentariesorr00plowgoog#page/n464/mode/2up page 466, or 233a in the original
  8. 8.  Detail from frontispiece from Thomas Hobbes Leviathan (1642), depicting the monarch as the head of the state's corporate body.
  9. 9. Parliament Scene BISHOP OF CARLISLE What subject can give sentence on his king? And who sits here that is not Richard's subject? Thieves are not judged but they are by to hear, Although apparent guilt be seen in them; And shall the figure of God's majesty, His captain, steward, deputy-elect, Anointed, crowned, planted many years, Be judged by subject and inferior breath, And he himself not present? O, forfend it, God, That in a Christian climate souls refined Should show so heinous, black, obscene a deed! I speak to subjects, and a subject speaks, Stirr'd up by God, thus boldly for his king. (4.1.122-34) NORTHUMBERLAND Well have you argued, sir; and, for your pains, Of capital treason we arrest you here. My Lord of Westminster, be it your charge To keep him safely till his day of trial. May it please you, lords, to grant the commons' suit. BOLINGBROKE Fetch hither Richard, that in common view He may surrender; so we shall proceed Without suspicion. (4.1.155-8)
  10. 10. Merit vs. Inherit  “Richard, the man of words, postures and ceremonial dignity is defeated by Bolingbroke, the man of actions and pragmatic realism” (Forker, 3)  “Assertive individuality” versus “settled harmonies of medieval tradition and hierarchical order” (Forker 3)  Divine Right of the old order gives way to modern Machiavellian power
  11. 11. The Machiavellian World of Richard II From its very opening the world depicted in Richard II is already a fully fallen, Machiavellian – and to that extent ‘modern’ – world. In this play we are engaged in one of the crucial dynamics of early modern politics, a struggle between aristocrats and a centralizing state. Hugh Grady, Shakespeare, Machiavelli, and Montaigne: Power and Subjectivity from Richard II to Hamlet. (Oxford University Press, 2002), 67.
  12. 12. Medieval Chivalry to Instrumental Power BOLINGBROKE Pale trembling coward, there I throw my gage, Disclaiming here the kindred of the king, And lay aside my high blood's royalty, Which fear, not reverence, makes thee to except. If guilty dread have left thee so much strength As to take up mine honour's pawn, then stoop: By that and all the rites of knighthood else, Will I make good against thee, arm to arm, What I have spoke, or thou canst worse devise. MOWBRAY I take it up; and by that sword I swear Which gently laid my knighthood on my shoulder, I'll answer thee in any fair degree, Or chivalrous design of knightly trial: And when I mount, alive may I not light, If I be traitor or unjustly fight! Act 1, scene 1.
  13. 13. Image and Appearance  […] our experience has been that those princes who have done great things have held good faith of little account, and have known how to circumvent the intellect of men by craft [….] Therefore it is unnecessary for a prince to have all the good qualities I have enumerated, but it is very necessary to appear to have them. And I shall dare to say this also, that to have them and always to observe them is injurious, and that to appear to have them is useful; to appear merciful, faithful, humane, religious, upright, and to be so, but with a mind so framed that should you require not to be so, you may be able and know how to change to the opposite. […] For this reason a prince ought to take care that he never lets anything slip from his lips that is not replete with the above-named five qualities, that he may appear to him who sees and hears him altogether merciful, faithful, humane, upright, and religious […] Every one sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are… CHAPTER XVIII — CONCERNING THE WAY IN WHICH PRINCES SHOULD KEEP FAITH
  14. 14. Closely Guarded Self EXTON Great king, within this coffin I present Thy buried fear: herein all breathless lies The mightiest of thy greatest enemies, Richard of Bordeaux, by me hither brought. BOLINGBROKE Exton, I thank thee not; for thou hast wrought A deed of slander with thy fatal hand Upon my head and all this famous land. EXTON From your own mouth, my lord, did I this deed. BOLINGBROKE They love not poison that do poison need, Nor do I thee: though I did wish him dead, I hate the murderer, love him murdered. The guilt of conscience take thou for thy labour, But neither my good word nor princely favour: With Cain go wander through shades of night, And never show thy head by day nor light. Lords, I protest, my soul is full of woe, That blood should sprinkle me to make me grow: Come, mourn with me for that I do lament, And put on sullen black incontinent: I'll make a voyage to the Holy Land, To wash this blood off from my guilty hand: March sadly after; grace my mournings here; In weeping after this untimely bier. (Act 5, scene 6)
  15. 15. The Imprudent King RICHARD We will ourself in person to this war: And, for our coffers, with too great a court And liberal largess, are grown somewhat light, We are inforced to farm our royal realm; The revenue whereof shall furnish us For our affairs in hand: if that come short, Our substitutes at home shall have blank charters (Act 1, scene 4) ----------------------- GAUNT […] A thousand flatterers sit within thy crown, Whose compass is no bigger than thy head; And yet, incaged in so small a verge, The waste is no whit lesser than thy land. RICHARD […] Towards our assistance we do seize to us The plate, corn, revenues and moveables, Whereof our uncle Gaunt did stand possess'd. YORK Seek you to seize and gripe into your hands The royalties and rights of banish'd Hereford? Is not Gaunt dead, and doth not Hereford live? Was not Gaunt just, and is not Harry true? Did not the one deserve to have an heir? Is not his heir a well-deserving son? Take Hereford's rights away, and take from Time His charters and his customary rights; Let not to-morrow then ensue to-day; Be not thyself; for how art thou a king But by fair sequence and succession? (Act 2, scene 1)
  16. 16. Richard’s Failings  It makes him contemptible to be considered fickle, frivolous, effeminate, meanspirited, irresolute […] he should endeavour to show in his actions greatness, courage, gravity, and fortitude; and in his private dealings with his subjects let him show that his judgments are irrevocable – is weak in his initial decision about Mowbray and Bolinbroke’s dispute, and then banishes them  a prince thus inclined [towards being too liberal] will consume in such acts all his property, and will be compelled in the end, if he wish to maintain the name of liberal, to unduly weigh down his people, and tax them, and do everything he can to get money. This will soon make him odious to his subjects – his ‘liberal largesse’ has cost the court too much and now he raises taxes  It makes him hated above all things, as I have said, to be rapacious, and to be a violator of the property […] of his subjects – he confiscates Gaunt’s ‘plate, corn, revenues…’  a danger from which princes are with difficulty preserved, unless they are very careful and discriminating […] is that of flatterers, of whom courts are full – he takes counsel from flatterers. Bolingbroke accuses Bushy and Green: “You have misled a prince, a royal king" (3.1.8)
  17. 17. Crisis of Subjectivity  Thus play I in one person many people, And none contented: sometimes am I king; Then treasons make me wish myself a beggar, And so I am: then crushing penury Persuades me I was better when a king; Then am I king'd again: and by and by Think that I am unking'd by Bolingbroke, And straight am nothing: but whate'er I be, Nor I nor any man that but man is With nothing shall be pleased, till he be eased With being nothing. Music do I hear? (5.5)
  18. 18. A Divided Self For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground And tell sad stories of the death of kings; How some have been deposed; some slain in war, Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed; Some poison'd by their wives: some sleeping kill'd; All murder'd: for within the hollow crown That rounds the mortal temples of a king Keeps Death his court and there the antic sits, Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp, Allowing him a breath, a little scene, To monarchize, be fear'd and kill with looks, Infusing him with self and vain conceit, As if this flesh which walls about our life, Were brass impregnable, and humour'd thus Comes at the last and with a little pin Bores through his castle wall, and farewell king! (3.2) What must the king do now? must he submit? The king shall do it: must he be deposed? The king shall be contented: must he lose The name of king? o' God's name, let it go: I'll give my jewels for a set of beads, My gorgeous palace for a hermitage, My gay apparel for an almsman's gown, My figured goblets for a dish of wood, My sceptre for a palmer's walking staff, My subjects for a pair of carved saints And my large kingdom for a little grave, A little little grave, an obscure grave (3.3)

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