Shakespeare’s Politics

Ed. by Harry V. Jaffa and Alan Bloom, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.

Summary from the Publisher:

Taking the classical view that the political shapes man’s consciousness, Allan Bloom considers Shakespeare as a profoundly political Renaissance dramatist. He aims to recover Shakespeare’s ideas and beliefs and to make his work once again a recognized source for the serious study of moral and political problems.

In essays looking at Julius Caesar, Othello, and The Merchant of Venice, Bloom shows how Shakespeare presents a picture of man that does not assume privileged access for only literary criticism. With this claim, he argues that political philosophy offers a comprehensive framework within which the problems of the Shakespearean heroes can be viewed. In short, he argues that Shakespeare was an eminently political author. Also included is an essay by Harry V. Jaffa on the limits of politics in King Lear.

Table of Contents:

1: Introduction: Political Philosophy and Poetry
2: On Christian and Jew: The Merchant of Venice
3: Cosmopolitan Man and the Political Community: Othello
4: The Morality of the Pagan Hero: Julius Caesar
5: The Limits of Politics: King Lear, Act I, Scene i by Harry Jaffa

University of Chicago Press