Hamlet's Choice

Religion and Resistance in Shakespeare's Revenge Tragedies

Peter Lake

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July 21, 2020
224 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
16 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300247817
Hardcover

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.

Peter Lake is University Distinguished Professor of History and Martha Rivers Ingram Chair of History at Vanderbilt University. He is the author of How Shakespeare Put Politics on the Stage, Bad Queen Bess?,and The Antichrist's Lewd Hat.
How Shakespeare Put Politics on the Stage
Power and Succession in the History Plays

Peter Lake

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