Chapter

Beyond History

Simon Barker

in War and Nation in the Theatre of Shakespeare and His Contemporaries

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780748627653
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652228 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748627653.003.0008
Beyond History

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This chapter explores some examples of the way that Shakespeare's military world came under scrutiny in the dramatic work of some of his contemporaries and followers. Cambises, unlike Gorbuduc, has an active and very visible deity in the form of Divine Justice who eventually intervenes, making Cambises stab himself accidentally with his own sword. Campaspe offers visions of war that are far less sanitised. The ‘tragedy’ of the Wounds of Civil War is not vested in its protagonist but in the flawed structures of a political system that cannot tolerate what it has created. The Life and Death of Jack Straw dramatises a popular rebellion that had originated in part with the unwillingness of the people to support a monarch's war with France. The Martyr'd Souldier is an extraordinary text and it would be easy to be cynical: hell turns into Switzerland in a few short acts.

Keywords: Shakespeare; Cambises; Gorbuduc; Campaspe; Wounds of Civil War; The Life and Death of Jack Straw; The Martyr'd Souldier

Chapter.  9927 words. 

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism

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