Bloody Constraint: War and Chivalry in Shakespeare

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Oxford University Press, 31. 12. 1998 - 256 strán (strany)
War is a major theme in Shakespeare's plays. Aside from its dramatic appeal, it provided him with a context in which his characters, steeped in the ideals of chivalry, could discuss such concepts as honor, courage, patriotism, and justice. Well aware of the decline of chivalry in his own era, Shakespeare gave his characters lines calling for civilized behavior, mercy, humanitarian principles, and moral responsibility. In this remarkable new book, eminent legal scholar Theodor Meron looks at contemporary international humanitarian law and rules for the conduct of war through the lens of Shakespeare's plays and discerns chivalry's influence there. The book comes as a response to the question of whether the world has lost anything by having a system of law based on the Hague and Geneva conventions. Meron contends that, despite the foolishness and vanity of its most extreme manifestations, chivalry served as a customary law that restrained and humanized the conflicts of the generally chaotic and brutal Middle Ages. It had the advantage of resting on the sense that rules arise naturally out of societies, their armed forces, and their rulers on the basis of experience. Against a background of Medieval and Renaissance sources as well as Shakespeare's historical and dramatic settings, Meron considers the ways in which law, morality, conscience, and state necessity are deployed in Shakespeare's plays to promote a society in which soldiers behave humanely and leaders are held to high standards of civilized behavior. Thus he illustrates the literary genealogy of such modern international humanitarian concerns as the treatment of prisoners and of noncombatants and accountability for war crimes, showing that the chivalric legacy has not been lost entirely. Fresh and insightful, Bloody Constraint will interest scholars of international law, lovers of Shakespeare, and anyone interested in the history of war.

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Bloody constraint: war and chivalry in Shakespeare

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Meron, a scholar of international law who has published books on human rights and international law as well as Henry's Wars and Shakespeare's Laws (Oxford Univ., 1994), explores the broader ... Čítať celú recenziu

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Obsah

Introduction
3
Chivalrys Legacy
11
War and Peace
16
A Pagan Knight? Shakespeares Ancient Wars
47
The Homeric Wars through Shakespeare
63
The Brave or the Wise? Two Conflicting Conceptions of Chivalric Honour
97
Chivalry as a Normative Ideal
108
Debunking Chivalrys Myth Commoners Fools and Cynics
119
Principle under Stress
132
Crimes and Accountability
150
Epilogue
203
Index
231
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Strana 132 - It blesseth him that gives and him that takes. Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes The throned monarch better than his crown; His sceptre shows the force of temporal power, The attribute to awe and majesty, Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings; But mercy is above this sceptred sway, It is enthroned in the hearts of kings, It is an attribute to God himself; And earthly power doth then show likest God's When mercy seasons justice.
Strana 196 - In those days they shall say no more, "The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge." But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.
Strana 116 - Laud be to God ! — even there my life must end. It hath been prophesied to me many years, I should not die but in Jerusalem ; Which vainly I supposed the Holy Land. — But bear me to that chamber ; there I'll lie ; In that Jerusalem shall Harry die.
Strana 48 - The purest treasure mortal times afford Is — spotless reputation ; that away, Men are but gilded loam, or painted clay.
Strana 96 - God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more. By Jove, I am not covetous for gold, Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost; It yearns me not if men my garments wear; Such outward things dwell not in my desires; But if it be a sin to covet honour, I am the most offending soul alive.
Strana 129 - Is a bold spirit in a loyal breast. Mine honour is my life ; both grow in one ; Take honour from me, and my life is done : Then, dear my liege, mine honour let me try ; In that I live, and for that will I die.
Strana 38 - Examples gross as earth exhort me : Witness this army of such mass and charge Led by a delicate and tender prince, Whose spirit with divine ambition puffd Makes mouths at the invisible event, Exposing what is mortal, and unsure To all that fortune, death and danger dare, Even for an egg-shell.
Strana 96 - My cousin Westmoreland ? — No, my fair cousin : If we are mark'd to die, we are enow To do our country loss ; and if to live. The fewer men, the greater share of honor. God's will ! I pray thee, wish not one man more.

O tomto autorovi (1998)

Theodor Meron is a prominent scholar of international law. He is also the author of Henry's Wars and Shakespeare's Laws (OUP, 1994), among many other books.

Bibliografické informácie