The Language of Economic Contractualism and Its Influence on Kingship in Shakespeare’s Richard the Second and Henry Fourth Part I

  • 張 月盈

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Shakespeare’s second tetralogy is generally regarded as the Bard’s study of power Among the various sources of power the ability to command the language of economic contractualism is depicted as a prominent form of power in this retelling of late fourteenth century and early fifteenth century English history In Richard II and 1 Henry IV the value of Richard and Henry IV is strongly related to their in/ability to confront the tension between political power and economic interests The language employed by Richard II who relies on his largesse and ceremonial language and Henry IV who insists on economic contractual language during such political and economic crises reflects the effectiveness in the monarch’s stewardship during the period of historic transition I argue that the political instability under Richard’s reign is further exacerbated by his economic crisis; the economically astute Henry IV constructed as Richard’s foil however avoids his political crisis with the dexterity of the language of economic contractualism and secures his throne A comparison of the two kings’ language in the trial scenes and their social relationships with their subjects also shows Henry IV the more effective steward and thus the more worthy king from the Renaissance perspective
Date of Award2018 Aug 25
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorCarolyn F. Scott (Supervisor)

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