Shakespeare and the Fall of the Roman Republic: Selfhood, Stoicism and Civil War

Shakespeare and the Fall of the Roman Republic: Selfhood, Stoicism and Civil War

by Patrick Gray


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Shakespeare and the Fall of the Roman Republic introduces Shakespeare as a historian of ancient Rome alongside figures such as Sallust, Cicero, St Augustine, Machiavelli, Gibbon, Hegel and Nietzsche. In Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare shows Rome's transition from Republic to Empire. Why did Rome degenerate into an autocracy? Alternating between ruthless competition, Stoicism, Epicureanism and self-indulgent fantasies, Rome as Shakespeare sees it is inevitably bound for civil war. Shakespeare and the Fall of the Roman Republic considers Shakespeare's place in the history of concepts of selfhood and reflects on his sympathy for Christianity, in light of his reception of medieval Biblical drama, as well as his allusions to the New Testament. Shakespeare's critique of Romanitas anticipates concerns about secularisation, individualism and liberalism shared by philosophers such as Hannah Arendt, Alasdair MacIntyre, Charles Taylor, Michael Sandel and Patrick Deneen.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781474427456
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Publication date: 12/01/2018
Series: Edinburgh Critical Studies in Shakespeare and Philosophy Series
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 9.20(w) x 6.30(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Patrick Gray is Assistant Professor of English Studies at Durham University.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Shakespeare and the vulnerable self
Part I. Julius Caesar
1. "A beast without a heart": Pietas and pity in Julius Caesar
2. "The northern star": Constancy and passibility in Julius Caesar
Conclusion to Part 1: Shakespeare's Passion play
Part II. Antony and Cleopatra
3. "The high Roman fashion": Suicide and Stoicism in Antony and Cleopatra
4. "A spacious mirror": Interpellation and the other in Antony and Cleopatra
Conclusion to Part II: The last interpellation
Conclusion: Between humanism and antihumanism

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