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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: February ::
Shakespeare and the Spanish Delegation
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0341  Monday, 21 February 2005

From:           David Evett <
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Date:           Friday, 18 Feb 2005 12:58:30 -0500
Subject: 16.0329 Shakespeare and the Spanish Delegation
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0329 Shakespeare and the Spanish Delegation

In response to Tom Krause's query about possible traces in the plays of
the experience of the King's Men as grooms of the chamber during the
visit of the Spanish legation in August 1604, I see stronger signs in
*Measure for Measure* than in *Othello*--names, especially Isabella's,
the historical linkage of Vienna and Madrid as the twin centers of the
Holy Roman Empire, the prominence and respect accorded to nuns and
friars, but more deeply, following Debora Shuger's very persuasive
argument in *Political Theologies in Shakespeare's England*, the play's
endorsement of an understanding of government more aligned with
traditional Continental theory, with its Thomistic, ultimately New
Testament and Aristotelian emphasis on juridical equity and penitence,
than with the Puritan emphasis, rooted in the Mosaic law and in Plato,
on rigid conformity and punishment. The play was presented at court at
Christmastide, 1604, and the company would have expected the Spanish
ambassador to report on it. Does anybody know if such a report survives?

Iberically,
David Evett

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