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Shakespeare and the Ethics of War
Edited by Patrick Gray
170 pages, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-78920-261-8 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (September 2019)
ISBN 978-1-78920-262-5 $24.95/£19.95 Pb Published (September 2019)
eISBN 978-1-78920-263-2 eBook
How does Shakespeare represent war? This volume reviews scholarship to date on the question and introduces new perspectives, looking at contemporary conflict through the lens of the past. Through his haunting depiction of historical bloodshed, including the Trojan War, the fall of the Roman Republic, and the Wars of the Roses, Shakespeare illuminates more recent political violence, ranging from the British occupation of Ireland to the Spanish Civil War, the Balkans War, and the past several decades of U. S. military engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan. Can a war be just? What is the relation between the ruler and the ruled? What motivates ethnic violence? Shakespeare’s plays serve as the frame for careful explorations of perennial problems of human co-existence: the politics of honor, the ethics of diplomacy, the responsibility of non-combatants, and the tension between idealism and Realpolitik.
Patrick Gray is Associate Professor of English Studies at Durham University. He is the author of Shakespeare and the Fall of the Roman Republic (Edinburgh University Press, 2018), co-editor with Lars Engle and William M. Hamlin of Shakespeare and Montaigne (Edinburgh University Press, 2020), and co-editor with John D. Cox of Shakespeare and Renaissance Ethics (Cambridge University Press, 2014). His essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Textual Practice, Shakespeare Survey, Shakespeare Jahrbuch, Comparative Drama and The Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies.