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Rethinking Shakespeare's Political PhilosophyFrom Lear to Leviathan$
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Alex Schulman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748682416

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748682416.001.0001

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Brave New Worlds

Brave New Worlds

Chapter:
(p.196) Epilogue Brave New Worlds
Source:
Rethinking Shakespeare's Political Philosophy
Author(s):

Alex Schulman

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748682416.003.0007

This concluding chapter affirms that long before contemporary critical theory, social contract's most famous theorists have already discussed that control is the disturbing mirror of consent. John Locke's second Treatise on Civil Government implies that Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan's conjuring of absolute sovereignty from natural anarchy expels one domination only by producing another. Jean Jacques Rousseau's Du Contrat Social criticises post-Lockean parliamentary liberalism, and states that free societies must declassify wealth and power, while Locke claims that God created, and thus ‘owns’ mankind. All of these thinkers, like Shakespeare, are trying to make sense of a ‘brave new world’ that seeks to depart from inherited constraint, yet still recognise the traditional wisdom whereby everything is embedded.

Keywords:   contemporary critical theory, social contract, John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Jean Jacques Rousseau, William Shakespeare

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