Journal Article

FLUELLEN: WARS OF DISCIPLINE AND ‘DISCIPLES OF THE WARS’

Chris Hassel

in Literature and Theology

Volume 12, issue 4, pages 350-362
Published in print December 1998 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online December 1998 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/12.4.350
FLUELLEN: WARS OF DISCIPLINE AND ‘DISCIPLES OF THE WARS’

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Readers have already connected Fluelen's obsessive refrain on ‘discipline’ with Roger Williams' popular Discorse of the wars (1595). This essay considers the possibility that Henry V not only echoes and highlights what patrick collison calls ‘that potent word’ from Walter Traver's equally prominent piece of reformation controversy, The Book of Discipline, but also incorporates some of the most important issues of that controversy into its words and actions. It begins with the ways Fluellen uses and abuses what Christoper Hill and Patrick Collison both call ‘congregational discipline’ ‘in tis narrower sense,’ ‘the censorship of conduct’ and ‘the correction of [personal] faults.’ Then it explores the ways that many of the cognate issues of church discipline also come into play in Henry V, including its identification with certain ‘nations,’ its resonant disputes about ceremony and religious iconography, and perhaps especially its potential for excesses of correction and control. Its gaze to incllude the charecters Henry V and Falstaff, the two Henry IV plays, and even,briefly, Measure for Measure. The paper concludes by suggesting that the ‘moral griefs’ of magistrates, forms and ceremonics is the thrust of Henry's meditation on ceremony, the most dangerous heart of the discipline controversy, and the burden of the final Chorus.

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Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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