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'This Prison Where I Live': Ireland Takes Centre Stage / N. Collins

Cahiers Élisabéthains: A Journal of English Renaissance Studies, Volume: 88, Issue: 1, Pages: 125 - 138

Swansea University Author: Taylor-Collins, Nicholas

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DOI (Published version): 10.7227/CE.88.1.9

Abstract

Although never visibly staged, Ireland plays a critical role in monarchic succession in Shakespeare's histories. Through two complementary offstage phenomena, the ‘spectral’ and the ‘obscene’, this article reveals how Ireland imprisons England. In '2 Henry VI', Ireland's spectral...

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Published in: Cahiers Élisabéthains: A Journal of English Renaissance Studies
ISSN: 2054-4715
Published: 2015
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URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa36111
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Abstract: Although never visibly staged, Ireland plays a critical role in monarchic succession in Shakespeare's histories. Through two complementary offstage phenomena, the ‘spectral’ and the ‘obscene’, this article reveals how Ireland imprisons England. In '2 Henry VI', Ireland's spectral presence provides York with the ideal space from which to foment rebellion and challenge Henry VI. In 'Richard II', by contrast, Richard heads to Ireland to quell rebellion; however, Richard's trip leads to his enforced abdication. Richard, imprisoned, is caught between an obscene state of exclusion and the spectral world beyond the prison walls: Ireland, crucially, is shown to imprison England's imagination.
Keywords: William Shakespeare, Richard II, 2 Henry VI, spectral, obscene, Ireland, England
College: College of Arts and Humanities
Issue: 1
Start Page: 125
End Page: 138