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Tyranny and UsurpationThe New Prince and Lawmaking Violence in Early Modern Drama$
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Doyeeta Majumder

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781786941688

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786941688.001.0001

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Tyranny added to usurpation

Tyranny added to usurpation

Richardus Tertius, The True Tragedy, and Richard III

(p.136) Chapter Five Tyranny added to usurpation
Tyranny and Usurpation

Doyeeta Majumder

Liverpool University Press

The last chapter analyzes three adaptations of the story of Richard III’s usurpation and trace a trajectory of the development of the usurpation plot from neo-Latin University plays to the commercial theatre of late-Elizabethan London in an attempt to delineate the politico-historical and ideological reasons for the gradual conflation of the notions of tyranny and usurpation. The usurpation plot and the tyrant-usurper protagonist, pushes against the ideological bulwark of divinely ordained sovereignty to foreground a cosmetic, manufactured notion of legitimacy. This movement can be read in conjunction with the Tudors’ concerted efforts of legally consolidating their questionable dynastic claims to the throne. Within the plays this conflictual intermeshing is complemented by the increasing importance accorded to the consent of the governed in matters of governance, both in drama and in contemporary political theory, marking a proto-liberal turn in humanist political thought.

Keywords:   Richard III, Machiavelli, Monarchomachia, Usurpation, History play

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