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Shakespeare's Fugitive Politics$
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Thomas P. Anderson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780748697342

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748697342.001.0001

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The Embodied Will in Julius Caesar: An Introduction to Shakespeare’s Fugitive Politics

The Embodied Will in Julius Caesar: An Introduction to Shakespeare’s Fugitive Politics

Chapter:
(p.1) Chapter 1 The Embodied Will in Julius Caesar: An Introduction to Shakespeare’s Fugitive Politics
Source:
Shakespeare's Fugitive Politics
Author(s):

Thomas P. Anderson

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748697342.003.0001

The unpredictable promise of Shakespeare’s fugitive politics is perhaps best illustrated in the ritual events surrounding Caesar’s funeral depicted in Julius Caesar. The play serves as a touchstone, establishing and amplifying dimensions of the political at stake throughout Shakespeare’s plays. Julius Caesar is a play that has at its center a flash mob occupying the marketplace and rendering a form of wild justice on Cinna—the poet who unfortunately bears the same name as one of Caesar’s conspirators. Roman plebeians randomly come across the poet on his way to Caesar’s funeral and promise to ‘[t]ear him to pieces’ (34) and to ‘[p]luck but his name out of his heart’ (32-3). The contingency of the event of Cinna’s murder and its fleeting, yet absolutely essential political nature are the culmination of events in the play informed by early modern concerns about sacred sovereignty, friendship, and body politics that are the themes of Shakespeare’s Fugitive Politics.

Keywords:   Julius Caesar, sacred sovereignty, friendship, corporeal violence, funeral effigy, democracy

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