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Shakespeare's Body PartsFiguring Sovereignty in the History Plays$
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Huw Griffiths

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781474448703

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474448703.001.0001

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Necks, Throats and Windpipes in Henry V: Sovereignty Translated

Necks, Throats and Windpipes in Henry V: Sovereignty Translated

Chapter:
(p.59) Chapter 2 Necks, Throats and Windpipes in Henry V: Sovereignty Translated
Source:
Shakespeare's Body Parts
Author(s):

Huw Griffiths

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474448703.003.0003

Henry V features a lot of throats, necks and – in French – “gorges”. It is also a play interested in the relationship between sovereign power and capital punishment. These vulnerable body parts are frequently placed within violent acts of translation and exchange: throats cut, strangled and transformed. French gorges are put in the place of English throats as Nym and Pistol trade threats back in England; Pistol offers to refrain from “couper la gorge” if he is given English “brave crowns” in return; the “col” of a French princess is translated into an English “nick”; and Bardolph’s “vital thread” is “cut / With edge of penny cord” in return for stealing “a pax of little worth”. It is in, and through, the “throat” that Henry V represents and interrogates the transactions that pertain to the mechanics of sovereignty.

Keywords:   Shakespeare, Sovereignty, Henry V, The Body, The Neck, Capital Punishment, Translation, Jacques Derrida

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