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The Spectacle of Sovereignty: The Abject Multitude in Marlowe’s The Massacre at Paris and Shakespeare’s 1 Henry IV.

Kyle DiRoberto

Résumés

La différence religieuse n'est paradoxalement pas l'unique origine de la peur dans Massacre à Paris, bien que la pièce de Marlowe porte sur les violences de la Saint-Barthélémy. Au contraire, c'est la représentation du désir mimétique qui y perpétue, tout comme dans la première partie du Henri IV de Shakespeare, la menace de violence intestine qui hante la pièce. La pièce de Marlowe et celle de Shakespeare éclairent toutes deux la façon dont une interprétation genrée de l'agentivité ou de l'auto-détermination du sujet permet de faire émerger et de consolider une inquiétante "zone d'indistinction" qui voit la convergence de "l'individuation et la totalisation des structures du pouvoir moderne2". Cette intersection complexe apparaît de manière évidente chez Marlowe et Shakespeare dans les représentations des luttes du souverain et des sujets pour établir et asseoir le pouvoir. Ces œuvres suggèrent en réalité que le discours genré façonne les représentations de la soif de pouvoir et de reconnaissance du sujet en même temps que la dépendance du souverain au peuple. De manière plus signifiante encore, ces pièces montrent l'importance du discours sur le genre et le désir dans le passage du féodalisme à un premier capitalisme marchand et aux prémices d'une démocratie libérale.

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  • 3 According to Joshua Barkan, “one of the most pressing concerns about corporate power today is the w (...)
  • 4 I would like to thank Joseph DiRoberto and Robert Hornback for their continued guidance and support (...)

1Early modern literature seems to offer a critical perspective on our current political realities now more than ever. Ways of thinking we tend to see as outside our more positivist worldviews, those we expect to encounter only in the dusty realm of medieval and early modern jurists’ thinking, concepts like a lack of distinction between legal and literary fictions, the subject and social contract, or even the distinctions between a person and a corporation (think Hobby Lobby), are suddenly of utmost importance. Far from being arcana, such concepts are relevant to the very survival of our civil liberties. In fact, the Supreme Court granting corporations freedom of speech (i.e., special interest groups being granted unlimited campaign funding) and religion (again, in the case of Hobby Lobby), seems to suggest an agenda that may empower certain types of future oppression.3 Significantly, legal discourse relating to gender, especially female sexuality, may hide an economic desire for power, as the government gives more rights to corporations backed by special interest groups to sway elections and suggest future limits to the rights now granted to the individual; these rights lately seem less and less impervious to change. Indeed, behind much of the discourse of exclusion that is playing a central role in constricting even geographic liberty, economic interests point to a diminishing of important elements of democracy in this stage of late consumer capitalism. We seem, in fact, on the brink of slipping into totalitarianism, where the spectacle of the autocrat looms large. As such, Marlowe’s the Massacre at Paris and Shakespeare’s 1 Henry IV still have much to teach us.4

The Feminine Abject and the Discourse of Revolution

  • 5 See also Jacques Lacan, Seminar VII: The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-1960. Trans. Dennis Porter, (...)
  • 6 Slavoj Žižek, Enjoy Your Symptom! New York, Routledge, 2001, p. 43.
  • 7 Alison Hugill, “The Act as Feminine: Antigone Between Lacan and Butler,” Psychoanalytic Post, Tamar (...)
  • 8 Yannis Stavrakakis, “The Lure of Antigone: Aporias of an Ethics of the Political,” in Umbr(a): Igno (...)

2Feminine sexuality, even its criminalization, is not only a discourse of oppression it is also central to expressions of liberty. The character of Antigone for example has long been thought to represent the spirit of revolution. From G. W. F. Hegel to Melissa Sanchez scholars have explored the feminine gendering of a male political subject in acts of rebellion. According to Slavoj Žižek, who reinterprets Hegel via Lacan, in Antigone, the ultimate rebellion arises out of the feminine abject self-determining act:5 “the paradigmatic case of such an act is feminine: Antigone's “No!” to Creon, to state power; her act is literally suicidal, she excludes herself from the community, whereby she offers nothing new, no positive program— she just insists on her unconditional demand.”6 Likewise Judith Butler, proposed that Antigone be read as a “parodic figure who [,] speaking in the voice of . . . the state . . .[,] performatively question[s] social normativity.” 7 Most recently, in fact, Yannis Stavrakakis, rethinks readings of Antigone’s “inhuman, (antisocial and antipolitical) desire” in the context of the tragedy as a whole, and suggests that the play represents a useful conception of rebellion, that it “articulate[s] a set of aporias,” which, understood through Lacanian ethics, can, even now, serve “a politics of radical social transformation.”8

  • 9 Stavrakakis, “ Re-Activating the Democratic Revolution: The Politics of Transformation Beyond Reocc (...)

3This transformation is based on “an anti-essentialist ontology of lack and negativity.” It both frees one from the fantasy of desire for transcendence and reconciles one to democracy as a perpetual “struggle.” This realization and the acceptance of a lack of transcendence, wholeness, resolution, etc., becomes the “ethical nodal point” of “a new political order worthy of the democratic tradition,” worthy because this “radical absence” of the fantasy of completeness becomes “the basis for a critique of any form of oppression.” 9 Significantly, this seemingly disparate politics of cynicism and discourse of abject feminine desire, in the early modern era, forms a critique of proto democratic rebellion and absolute monarchy. Expressed primarily through the rhetoric of Machiavelli and Calvin, Marlowe’s the Massacre and Shakespeare’s 1 Henry IV epitomizes such a notion as “radical absence” in the representation of the spectacle of sovereignty in the abject multitude.

The Feminine Abject in the Early Modern Period

  • 10 Melissa Sanchez, Erotic Subjects: The Sexuality of Politics in Early Modern English Literature, New (...)

4Much like the above readings of Antigone, Melissa Sanchez finds in the feminine engendering of rebellion the emergence of a hagiographic political identity founded on a virtue of opposition that was difficult to distinguish from feminine abjection. As Sanchez claims, this gendered discourse draws on the aesthetic of Petrarchism and the rhetoric of Protestant martyrology, providing a “public fantasy” upon which “perversion rather than integrity [and] ambition rather than humility” just as likely represent the constitutive act that challenges authority as does integrity or virtue.10 A byproduct of this rhetoric, Sanchez claims, is that

  • 11 Sanchez, Idem, 243.

human susceptibility to abject and narcissistic desire means that erotic and political subjects can never be entirely certain what the rational course of action would be much less whether they are following it. One’s worst enemies are within, and the fact that one rarely recognizes them as such make them all the more fearsome.11

  • 12 John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion The Library of Christian Classics Vol. XX, Trans. (...)
  • 13 Calvin, Idem, 15.
  • 14 Calvin, Idem, 15.

5This fear of feminine abjection and the preoccupation with discovering appetite driven motives are in fact part of a Calvinist ideology to which the mostly Puritan authors (e.g., Spenser, Sidney, Milton) that Sanchez examines would adhere. However, this Calvinist discourse became increasingly widespread as it articulated the structure of power that arose out of capitalism and liberal democracy, and while it simultaneously rendered suspect the motives of the subject, as Sanchez suggests, its primary function seemed to be the limiting of the sovereignty of the monarch. The preface to Calvinist Institutes, in fact, cautions Francis I that “the king who in ruling over his realm does not serve God’s glory exercises not kingly rule but brigandage,” or highway robbery.12 He cautions the king using a similar rhetoric of self-serving desire by which he condemns his enemies: “their God is the belly . . . and their kitchen their religion.”13 And even though Calvin asserts his humility, claiming he and his followers “are quite aware of what mean and lowly little men” they are, what “miserable sinners,” his preface to the King belies the potentially dangerous conviction that their doctrine, “must tower unvanquished above all the glory and all the might of the world.”14

  • 15 Victoria Kahn, Wayward Contracts: The Crisis of Political Obligation In England 1640-1674, 2004, Pr (...)
  • 16 Irving Ribner, “Marlowe and Machiavelli” Comparative Literature, Vol. 6, No 4 (Autumn, 1954), pp. 3 (...)
  • 17 Ribner, Ibid, p. 356

6Alongside this Calvinist discourse of conscience, as Victoria Kahn reminds us, there also arose a Machiavellian “discourse of contract.”15 In the Massacre everyone is abject and religion is alternately a vehicle to justify vengeance and to facilitate a lust for power, in essence the play exemplifies this Machiavellian discourse of power, as scholars have noted. Little attention, however, has been focused on the role of this feminine abject as a vehicle for the contestation of authority, for facilitating the agentic in a proto social contract, or for the intertextual nature of this discourse in another popular history play of this era - Shakespeare’s 1 Henry IV - which, significantly, echoes Marlowe’s Massacre. Andrew Kirk’s article on the Massacre, in fact, comes close to uncovering this element of the feminine abject in what he astutely claims to be the play’s reflection of the proper structure of political power according to Machiavelli, affirming what Irving Ribner argues in his article “Marlowe and Machiavelli.” Ribner claims the Guise is an expression of a more complex view of Machiavelli’s political perspective, one that comes closer to Dido, Queen of Carthage or Tamburlaine,16 than is The Jew of Malta, which represents a more one-dimensional but popular conception of this discourse.17 Of course, Ribner was referring to a Machiavellian construction of absolute monarchy, whereas Kirk’s reading of Machiavelli in terms of gender is even more complex, as is Marlowe’s.

The Abject Feminine in Representations of France and Marlowe’s The Massacre at Paris

  • 18 Andrew M. Kirk, "Marlowe and Disordered Face of French History", SEL, 1500-1900, vol. 35, no. 2 Tud (...)
  • 19 Kirk, Idem, p. 199.

7As Kirk notes a “gendering of historical causation occurs in Machiavelli, who writes that a feminine fortune requires an opposing masculine response,” mutability itself “was seen to be “a product of inconstancy or fickleness . . . attributes . . . assigned to women, children, . . . the lower classes,” and any “other.”18 In fact, the English constructed France as disordered and used this feminine abject “other” as an aporia of contestation and self-creation. 19 Kirk suggests, in fact, that the conflict in France, historical texts about France’s instability in the period, and popular theater was used to

  • 20 Kirk, op. cit., p. 198.

demarcate a historical topos that, like the female body, was imagined as a space open to male contestation and appropriation. Though nondramatic texts also provided sites for the confrontation of self and cultural other, the popular theater, as Steven Mullaney has shown, was a place more open to the representation or “rehearsal” of alterity.20

8Kirk claims the Guise and Navarre represent two possible structural patterns of masculine order,

  • 21 Kirk, Idem, p. 205

two modes of bringing order to the disorder of French history. Guise, as illegitimate aspirer, wishes to mold France to his own image, imposing the order of his own towering will onto everything that surrounds him.21

  • 22 Kirk, op. cit., p. 205.
  • 23 Kirk, Idem, 206-7. This representation of Navarre suggests the multiple uses of Machiavelli. That i (...)
  • 24 Kirk, Idem, 209.

9Conversely, Navarre is said to define his “role in providential history . . . ostensibly a manifestation of an underlying divine order.”22 Of course, both of the possibilities are anything but uncomplicated masculine figures of order, as Kirk acknowledges. In fact, the Guise and Navarre remain more emblematic of abject feminine desire. The Guise is an aspiring but, ultimately failed, treacherous, cuckold and Navarre is an ambitious coward. As Kirk’s close reading of Navarre’s soliloquy suggest: he is too close to the Guise in his “overriding sense of self-identity” and in the instance when “he speaks of how ‘opportunity’ will serve him and of the army he must raise so that he will not be ‘crossed’ in his ‘enterprise,’his language points to economics and personal ambition.23 Finally, Kirk suggests that the masculine order arrives at the end of the play, ironically, in the form of a woman, in Navarre’s expressed allegiance to the English monarch, Queen Elizabeth, suggesting that order is ultimately constructed out of English representations of French political instability and a fantasy of “stable, self-affirming English power.”24 This is a rather reductive place to arrive in reading the Machiavellian discourse of contract that along with the Calvinist discourse of conscience, as Kahn suggests, was part of an ultimately revolutionary discourse of power that was restructuring Europe socioeconomically.

Abject Feminine Desire in 1 Henry IV and The Massacre at Paris

  • 25 William Shakespeare Richard II, Arden Shakespeare, Third Series, ed. Charles R. Forker, 2002, Londo (...)
  • 26 Idem, 1.4.31-33

10It seems, in fact, that English authors are both anxious and invested in the complexities of the feminine abjection as an expression of liberty and as contestation. This is evident in Shakespeare’s 1 Henry IV which alluding to the Massacre, expands our understandings of these discourses beyond French politics and the nobility, even beyond Machiavelli, to the emergence of the agentic, as well as the dependence of all sovereignty on spectacle and, at the least, to political recognition. In Richard II, for example, the play which proceeds I Henry IV in the Henriad, Richard describes how Bolingbroke successfully woos the people “div[ing]into their hearts / With humble and familiar courtesy.” His strategies are reverence, patience, and humility.25 He doffs “his bonnet to an oyster-wench” and when “a brace of draymen bid God speed him” he pays them tribute “by kneeling.”26

  • 27 William Shakespeare, I Henry IV, Arden Shakespeare, Third Series, ed. David Scott Kastan, 2002, Lon (...)

11The rhetorical situation changes in 1 Henry IV because of religious and economic realities, and so, too, does the monarch’s need to master their new discourses of power. The rising prominence of the lower gentry and even the new significance of the lower classes is evident in Hal’s need for a tutor in Falstaff, so that he can boast that he is “so proficient” in this rhetoric that he can “drink with any tinker in his own language,” even the discourse of contracts is hinted at in his exclamation that he is “sworn brothers to a leash of drawers.”27 Falstaff, the quintessential emblem of feminine disorder, however reveals a sea change in the deployment of religious discourse. The emphasis is hardly on humility and self-sacrifice, although those are still recognizable elements. Religion has shifted to an interpretive game, an often Calvinistic/Machiavellian linguistic exercise in exegesis, open to the insight of the lower classes, but also open to the construction of a more complex Machiavellian sincerity, a sincerity based on performance. Truth becomes a kind of shell game in which contradictions are aired, laughed at, and, astonishingly, vanish. Hal for example attempts to prove Falstaff to “be one of the wicked” based on his obvious lack of a vocation. This is evident in Hal’s response, when Falstaff asks him the time:

  • 28 1Henry IV, Idem., 1.2.5-9

What a devil hast thou to do with the time of the day? Unless hours were cups of sack and minutes capons and clocks the tongues of bawds and dials the signs of leaping-houses and the blessed sun himself a fair hot wench in flame-coloured taffeta.28

  • 29 Idem, 4.1.4-5

12Significantly, Hal ties the appetite driven individual to the use of a religious discourse associated with the vice, which is reinforced by the phrase “what a devil.” He is not reverential, patient, or humble towards Falstaff. In fact, his relationship is constructed as far more intimate. He has become the common man, not just bowed to him, and his rhetoric is that of the market, of the comic spectacle, of “razzing.” Hotspur, the hoped for emblem of masculine order, against whom Hal is juxtaposed, as Richard is to Bolingbroke, is mistaken when he advises Douglas not to “go so general current through the world."29

  • 30 Marlowe, op. cit., 19.23
  • 31 Idem, 19.22
  • 32 Idem, 14.56-57
  • 33 Idem, 19.31-32

13In The Massacre Marlowe also dramatizes the nature of the proper sovereign through representations of its inverse—monarchs who are driven entirely by appetite, especially feminine appetite. “The face of rebellion” spawns a brutal world of endless massacres and civil wars. Religious hatred merely masks this appetite for power, and it is a mask often haphazardly worn. For example, in reply to Epernoune’s accusation that the Guise acts for “[his] own benefit,”30 the Guise claims he “is not traitor to the crown of France” and, in fact, with a phrase that echoes Puritan rhetoric, he claims that his rebellion was done for “the Gospell sake.”31 Moreover, the capriciousness of the Guise’s religious excuses for killing are evident in the translation of his plan to kill “Puritans,” as members of the house of “Burbon,”32 this mere excuse is even more evident, when later in the play the Guise himself claims his reason for being an enemy to “the Burbonites” is that he is “a Prince of the Valoyses line,”33 not that he objects to their religious beliefs or practices.

14Furthermore, the feminization of appetite among the nobility is all pervasive in the Massacre. Initially the Guise attempts to rule the kingdom through the Queen Mother, who rules Charles. In this way the play suggests the Guise’s already inordinate appetite for power is further polluted by his association with the feminine. And when the Queen acts to maintain that power, by possibly murdering her son, Charles, as she threatens to do in the scene before Charles suddenly dies, her replacing him with Henry, who she believes to be the more receptive to her will, only seems an excuse for the play to focus on Henry’s selfishness, violence, and tyranny. At Henry’s coronation, this lawlessness and unrestrained greed is deftly represented in a powerful allegorical scene in which Henry’s minion, Mugernoun, whimsically cuts off the ear of a cutpurse that has cut off Mugernoun’s gold buttons. He catches his ear and offers to trade the thief’s ear for the gold buttons. This violence is evocative of the cutting off the subject’s means of perception (especially in a play, which people went to hear rather than to see). Such a cutting off would be important if the king’s power was reliant on the acting out of glory for the people, but the only audience members the solipsistic Henry attempts to impress are his minions. In fact, in this instance of sudden violence predicated by greed, against an unnamed subject, the Guise, who speaks out against the act, becomes momentarily heroic, and, by contrast—rather unbelievably—a more desirable ruler. He also, earlier in the play, could have been seen as a violated subject, in that he suffers the tyranny of a king who facilitates a kind of usurpation of his property, when the king’s minion carries on an adulterous relationship with the Guise’s wife, justifying his act of rebellion.

  • 34 I Henry IV, op. cit., 1.2.17.
  • 35 William Shakespeare, Henry V, Arden Shakespeare, Third Series, ed. T. W. Craik, 1995, London, Thoma (...)

151 Henry IV, in a more comic vein, depicts Falstaff’s envisioning Hal as the future king, and recalling the customary salutation, “God save thy grace,” but suddenly claiming, because of his state of reverie, to have forgotten and to correct himself, that he should substitute the term “majesty”34 for grace, asserting (and turning the same discourse that Hal uses on him, on to Hal) that Hal is one of the damned, for “grace thou wilt have none” and he adds, similarly to Hal’s tying religion in Falstaff to sexual desire, that grace for the prince also hides appetite. It is a mere perfunctory prayer before eating: “not so much as will serve to prologue an egg and butter.”35 Likewise, Falstaff, in the role of the Puritan subject, challenging the legitimacy of the king, emblematizes the humor and arrogance of commoners presuming to know the will of God and to correct the king; not unlike Calvin, he still simultaneously aids the king in creating the right kind of spectacle, one reliant on a conjunction of the sacred and the profane.

  • 36 I Henry IV, op. cit.
  • 37 Loc. cit.
  • 38 Marlowe, op. cit., 2.40-43.
  • 39 I Henry IV, op. cit, 2.ii. 136-137

16The rhetoric of the common man, not “the grace of God,” of official discourse suggests the crucial construction of spectacle over the older glory of medieval kings. Through Hal’s successful performance of sovereignty, we come to associate Hal, as we do the Guise, with a spectacle of spirituality, the stuff of theater, and also with transgression. His reformation must “glitter o’er [his] fault”36 to be compelling. In fact, he rather irreligiously, like Navarre, uses the rhetoric of providence (and sin) to construct a viable sovereignty: “I'll so offend, to make offence a skill;/ Redeeming time when men think least I will.”37 In making grace a prologue for a prince’s will to power, however craftily constructed as self-sacrifice, the play suggests Hal can be reinterpreted as unfit to rule, similarly to Richard II, at any time. As mentioned in I Henry IV, Hal’s identity is frightfully close to that of the Guise, as is evident in the Guise’s soliloquy regarding his aspirations to be king: “although my downfall be the deepest hell. / For this I wake, when others think I sleep; / For this I wait, that scorn attendance else.38 Similarly, the Guise’s ambition, his wanting to achieve an uncommon glory with regard to “the diadem of France” which he claims he will “either rend . . . with [his] nails to naught, Or mount the top with [his] aspiring wings” is echoed in Hal’s pledge to bend France to his “awe, / Or break it all to pieces”. 39

The Abject Feminine in the Construction of the Self and the Other in Proto Capitalism and the Emergence of Liberal Democracy

  • 40 Henry V, op. cit., 1.2.247-248.
  • 41 Lander, op. cit., p. 121.

17As Jesse M Lander relates in ‘"Crack'd Crowns' and Counterfeit Sovereigns: The Crisis of Value in 1 Henry IV," Falstaff’s puns about coinage throughout the play suggest an equally unethical economic practice of kings. Falstaff claims "thou cam'st not be of the blood royal, if thou darest not stand for ten shillings,"40 and as Lander explains “he is punning on the fact that a royal was worth, or stood for, ten shillings.” However, as she further explains, “Falstaff is[also]teasing Hal for his reluctance to engage in robbery. In this case, it is cowardice that calls his royalty into doubt, and somehow we arrive at the disturbing conclusion that to be a courageous robber is to be truly royal.”41 Moreover, Lander also documents the way in which economic fraud, such as debasing coins, was not beyond the morality of kings. In fact, because of this behavior in Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth had to restore the value of the sterling, and she, as well, was perpetually concerned with issues of legitimacy. In sum, it is often the theme of money and merely the rhetoric of religion, in all these works, that throws into relief the role of ambition in structuring both the subject and the monarchy’s subjectivity.

18Marlowe and Shakespeare’s representation of the economic interests underpinning new religious practices—especially those expressed in the Machiavellian cultivation of the self—belies the new role of religious rhetoric in the development of a secular individualistic economics characteristic of the lower classes and the ruling class. This is true of Catholics, Protestants, and, in fact, those who merely feign religion like the Guise and Falstaff. This development is reflected in Shakespeare’s Henriad, as a source of excitement and anxiety, at once seditious and empowering, as is evident in the characters Falstaff and Hal. Like Marlowe’s Guise and Navarre, Shakespeare represents Falstaff and Hal as metonymically linked to the common man, who are at once both sacred and profane figures of disorder. Falstaff would sell his country by trading able bodied men for coin and brings men incapable of defending the realm to fight for the king. Yet his pockets are empty, and he is undone by the lack of promises from the king.

  • 42 Shanahan, op. cit., p. 77.
  • 43 Marlowe, op. cit., 2.70-1.

19Finally, this lack of recognition constitutes the death dealing blow, as Hal comes to disavows him altogether. This “human essence” or sovereignty of the subject is not as some radical Puritans, themselves, wanted a “freedom from the will of others.”42 On the contrary, Shakespeare’s plays suggest that the subject and the monarch are both, in this era, perpetually on trial, continually having to sell a spectacle to their audience, whether subject or king. In the Massacre, too, the monarch is constituted by the abject, as is anyone who takes on a position of power. This is evident in the Guise’s opposition to Charles, who he claims has “pleasure uncontrolled, [that] / Weakneth his body, and will waste his Realm.”43 Yet, the Guise, like Hal, is also defined by his own self-determining ambition. He willingly risks his life in these acts of treason, claiming that “perill is the cheefest way to happiness.” His abjection is obvious in that, like Antigone, his desire is alternately nihilistic and “pure demand:” “Ile either rend it with my nayles to naught, / Or mount the top with my aspiring wings,” and, ultimately, beyond comprehension.

20The transformations of Hal and Falstaff are evocative of the resurrection and Hal’s successful staging of kingship is a Machiavellian cultivation of spectacle. As mentioned above Hal's theatrical plan is laid out in his first soliloquy:

  • 44 1 Henry IV, op. cit., 1.2.187-207.

Yet will I imitate the sun,
Who doth permit the base contagious clouds
To smother up his beauty from the world,
That, when he please again to be himself,
Being wanted, he may be more wandered at
By breaking through the foul and ugly mists
Of vapours that did seem to strangle him
[…] So when this loose behavior I throw off
And pay the debt I never promised
By so much shall I falsify men's hopes
[…] I'll so offend to make offence a skill,
Redeeming time when men think least I will.
44 

21In this soliloquy, he scripts his role of kingship by acting out a rhetoric of redemption and prodigality, by emphasizing the relationship of the parable of the prodigal son to Christ's death and resurrection. He talks about throwing off this "loose behavior" as the son in the parable does, but he also speaks of paying debts that he never promised, alluding to the idea of Christ having paid the debt of original sin. Moreover, he evokes images of rising, in his image of the sun, and of "the redeemer" who conquers death, when he claims to redeem time. In an inverse of Flastaffian rhetoric, a rhetoric that attempts to transform immorality by the imposition of moral terms on immoral behavior, Hal redefines moral action as deception; his Christ-like action will falsify men's hopes and make offense a skill.

  • 45 1 Henry IV,op., cit., 5.5.158.  
  • 46 1 Henry IV, op., cit., 5.5.163-5.

22Likewise, Falstaff uses a sacred parody of the resurrection to his advantage.  He sets off his deceptions with the prince's gilt, like the prince who uses Falstaff's foul contagion as a foil. Falstaff uses his relationship with Hal to build his reputation. He pretends to kill Hotspur and has the prince endorse his lie. Hal responds to Falstaff's deceptions that "if a lie can do [Falstaff] grace [he'll] gild it with the happiest terms [he] has."45 Hal's rhetoric of repentances and future conversion are found in Falstaff's promises. He claims that if he grows in greatness, in other words advances politically, he will "purge and leave sack and live cleanly, like a nobleman should do."46 Moreover, in giving the famous rebel Colevile to Lancaster, he echoes the prince's sun and gem metaphor, insisting,

  • 47 1 Henry IV, op., cit., 5.3.45-52.  

Let it be booked with the rest of this day's deeds, or by the Lord I will have it in a particular ballad else, with mine own picture on the top on't, Colevile kissing my foot: to the which course if I be enforced, if you do not all show like gilt twopences to me, and I in the clear sky of fame o'er-shine you as much as the full moon doth the cinders of the element. . . 47

23In a mock resurrection, Falstaff pretends to be dead on the battlefield, and even listens to the prince's eulogy of him before rising and giving a disquisition on being; and fearing Percy might actually be playing dead too, he asks, "how if he should counterfeit too and rise?"  The relationship of his death and resurrection to that of Christ is emphasized and joined with the blasphemy of popular writers such as Marlowe by an obscure referent for the word 'too' and by Shakespeare's use of the descriptive term 'rise.' The referent could refer to Christ, as well as to Falstaff, and hence, to Marlow's infamous suggestion, reported by Kidd, that Christ's miracles (like those of Falstaff's) were a fraud. But more to the point, Shakespeare not only reflects the artistic deceptions and pleasures that underpin a Machiavellian spectacle of the self, but he also mocks the conversion experience, which was central to Puritan ideology, and the discourse of conscience as a potential economically motivated performance of religious identity.

  • 48 Marlowe, op. cit , 2.61-62.
  • 49 Marlowe, op. cit., 1.1.24.

24Moreover, the similarities that characterize the Catholics and Protestants in The Massacre are all primarily of socioeconomic significance. Marlowe represents the Guise’s treasonous plans, for example, as financially motivated, and he metonymically associates these with identities of foreign corruption in all Catholics: Spain’s “Indian” gold and the “largesse” of the Pope represent the Catholics’ corrupt motives. 48 Likewise, Marlowe alludes to the Huguenot’s Puritan practices of usury as potentially treasonous and, especially, foreign, referring to their clandestine meetings as “synagogues.”49 The practice of usury that Marlowe’s play alludes to, in associating Protestants with Jews, is, in fact, a common association in this period in England. This was a shorthand for economic predation, and it conflates Puritans with what will be understood as capitalism and, thereby, with a Machiavellian identity, as the Machivellian prologue to The Jew of Malta suggests.

  • 50 Daniel Shanahan, Toward a Genealogy of Individualism, Amherst, University of

25However, this self as property construction, associated with capitalism, indeed, with “the tenets of possessive individualism” which, C.B. Macpherson claims, ultimately lead to liberal democracy and a rhetoric of inclusion, also significantly limits the self especially the gendered or economically disadvantaged self by constructing the “individual” on a subject/abject dichotomy, which associates the feminine, the poor, or the racialized other with the abject.50 As Jonathan Gil Harris argues,

The accusation that the strangers are “infected” with Spanish gold is most striking . . . for its pathological language. . . the term “infected” arguably works to fashion the foreigner as . . . a transnational site of undecidable identity, a diseased hybrid of Dutch, Jew, and Spaniard. In this pathological hybridity, moreover, lurks once more the color-full stain of usury.

  • 51 Harris, op. cit., p. 67.

26After that year, according to the antiquarian Iohn Southerden Burns, one-third of Antwerp’s “merchants and the workmen who worked and dealt in silks, damasks, and taffeties, and in baizes, sayes, serges, stockings, &c., settled in England, because England was then ignorant of those manufactures.” As Burns’s observation makes quite clear, people from the Low Countries migrated to England for economic as much as for religious reasons.51

  • 52 Harris, op. cit., p.67.
  • 53 Sir Edward Coke, The Selected Writing and Speeches of Sir Edward Coke, ed. Steve Sheppard, Indianap (...)
  • 54 J.H. Hexeter, “Property, Monopoly, and Shakespeare’s Richard II,” Culture and Politics: From Purita (...)

27“These migrants were perceived as a significant threat by merchant gentry and laborers alike: London’s artisans repeatedly protested what they saw as the usurpation of their labor by skilled strangers . . .” 52 In fact, it is the anxiety around monopolies that leads to the emergence of the rights of the subject as property in the early modern era, which is evident in the case of Darcy v. Allen, in which, a grant of monopoly was found to “take away a man’s skill from him”53 and as Coke argues, in one of many moments of judicial activism, applying what he claimed as the Magna Carta’s declaration against depriving “the plowman of his wain . . “ man’s occupation is his property by inheritance or lawful acquisition.”54

  • 55 Nancy G.M. Hartstock, The Feminist Standpoint Revisited And Other Essays p. 141.
  • 56 Hartstock, op. cit., p.149.

28The justification for leveling the playing field, or, indeed, giving the advantage to the natural born English is realized in terms of the rights of the subject to themselves as property, and rhetorically structured through this literature on the denunciation of greed. The subject is constructed against the political discourse of desire. It is easy to see, thereby, the way in which the rights of the subject, though somewhat empowering for the poor locally, is problematic for all “others,” especially for those who are (through race, gender, or economics) associated with the body through appetite, which extends the threat of criminalization to anyone. Often as Louis Althusser’s claims facile representations of this subject offer “a description of the ruling class’s social reality”55 and ignore “The division and dehumanization that results from class .”56

  • 57 L. S. Koetsier, Natural Law and Calvinist Political Theory, Victoria, Trafford Publishing, 2003, p. (...)

29In addition, although as the Puritan Leveller Henry Overton wrote, “God made everyone free to enjoy birthright and privilege of property, liberty, and freedom”57, the relentless competition of the world of Marlowe’s play attests:

  • 58 Shanahan, op. cit., p. 79.

Conflict[ . . . ]must inevitably emerge out of attempts by an unlimited number of individuals of unequal talents and positions, operating within an increasingly finite economic “space” to achieve and enjoy the benefits of proprietorship[. . . ]rais[ing] profound and perhaps unanswerable questions about the viability of the liberal-democratic theories . . . built upon the premises of possessive individualism.58

30Indeed, the glorification of equality, humility, and generosity that a Puritan religious rhetoric of inclusiveness enacts, in the period, is fraught with the possibility that heretofore the landless, constrained, and disenfranchised will continue landless, constrained, and disenfranchised. Yet the Puritans do seem to be more accepting of difference if it is economically useful. The Calvinistic Puritans in England construct the significance of their new theological economic understandings of the sovereignty of the subject on private property, linking their new found Christian discourse not to economics directly but to religious difference, so that the Jews, indeed, become their model for this theological economic belief.

  • 59 Werner Sombart, The Jews and Modern Capitalism, tr. M. Epstein, original date 1911, Charleston, Nab (...)
  • 60 Marlowe, op. cit., 16.12.
  • 61 Idem, 19.21.

31As Wermer Sombart points out, the Puritan “Levellers,” who called themselves “Jews” . . . advocated the adoption of the Torah as the norm of English legislation,” and “on the banners of the victorious Puritans are inscribed “The Lion of Judah.”59 In addition, early modern critics often attributed Puritan affiliation with the Jews as predicated upon unethical economic practices and a lack of allegiance to the monarch. Moreover, they associated Puritanism and Jewish identity not only with the economic undermining of communities but with a disruptive emergent possessive individualism. Indeed, The Massacre associates unethical practices with religious identity, whether Catholic or Protestant. Marlowe is indiscriminate with his foreign associations. He associates the Puritans with Spain, as mentioned above, perhaps due to their status as merchants. He claims that the Puritans are “infected” with “Spanish gold,” and, in so doing, associates them with Popery, as the Massacre claims, Spain “is the council chamber of the Pope.”60 Moreover, they are represented as disloyal due to personal economic motives, like the Guise, who Epernoune denounces as a traitor to “the crowne of France” for the same reason.61

  • 62 Kantorowicz, Idem, p. 38

32As Ernst Kantorowicz reading of the king’s two bodies suggest the Henriad stages the criminalization of the King; his “inner kingship[...]dissolve[s];” and he realizes “his place among the Pilates and the Judases” having become “no less a traitor[. . .] or even worse [. . .],” having become, “a traitor to his own immortal body politic and to kingship[. . .]. 62 Although Kantorowicz claims this as a historical moment in the secularization of government and in emergent notions of the higher office of kingship, the impact of a new religiosity in a Calvinist discourse of conscience is also evident as the audience sees its function in delimiting the monarch. However, this Calvinist examination of conscience could just as easily limit the subject and empower authority. As Hal’s use of a Calvinist rhetoric with Falstaff makes clear, a Calvinist discourse of conscience constituted not so much an opposition to the Machiavellian discourse of contract as a tool at the disposal of anyone rhetorically capable of using it. The abject feminine, of course, traversed them both, and it could be at once as exciting as it was anxiety producing rendering this authorial identity illicit, this illicit identity legitimate, reducing all, in fact, for the popular theater, to a matter of spectacle.

  • 63 Agamben, The Power and the Glory, op. cit., p. 197-259.
  • 64 Idem, p. 451
  • 65 Agamben, op. cit., p. 6

33In The Kingdom and the Glory, Agamben, in fact, suggests the sovereign’s dependence on popular appeal and asserts glory’s evolution into “the spectacle,” a spectacle that he claims will ultimately structure the modern system of power. As he argues, absolute monarchy becomes “consensus democracy.”63 The jurist’s representation of the sovereign taken over by popular playwrights like Shakespeare and Marlowe, functions then not just, as Kantorowicz claims, “to establish an image of kingship which was merely human and of which MAN, pure and simple, was the center and standard. . .” but also to expose the limits by which both sovereign and subject qualify as human or “MAN.”64 In fact, it is this abject structuring of power and scapegoating of “the other” that still informs both this economic environment of liberalism and the religious conception of the subject. It is this abject self that then as now, constitutes the “zone of indistinction . . . where techniques of individualization and totalizing procedures converge.”65

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Notes

1 Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, tr. Daniel Heller-Roazen Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1998, p. 6.

2 Giorgio Agamben, Homo sacer : le pouvoir souverain et la vie nue, Paris, Seuil, 1997, p. 13.

3 According to Joshua Barkan, “one of the most pressing concerns about corporate power today is the ways that the economic strengths of corporations enable them to govern fundamental aspects of life without the checks associated with democratic government.” See Joshua Barkan Corporate Sovereignty: Law and Government Under Capitalism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013) p. 220. This is also echoed in the dissenting opinion of Justice Stevens in referring to the ruling in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission as potentially granting corporations “special advantages in the market for legislation.” See Stevens, Justice. Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (24 Mar. 2009), [www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/08-205.ZX.html], p. 82. Unfortunately, this does not seem to have influenced the Supreme Court’s allowing Hobby Lobby’s exercise of religious freedom to trump the concept of “personal, marital, familial and sexual privacy” said to be protected by the Bill of Rights or its penumbras. See Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965); and Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S 438 (1972)).

4 I would like to thank Joseph DiRoberto and Robert Hornback for their continued guidance and support.

5 See also Jacques Lacan, Seminar VII: The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, 1959-1960. Trans. Dennis Porter, New York, W.W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1997.

6 Slavoj Žižek, Enjoy Your Symptom! New York, Routledge, 2001, p. 43.

7 Alison Hugill, “The Act as Feminine: Antigone Between Lacan and Butler,” Psychoanalytic Post, Tamar Schwartz, July 13th, 2015. www.pyschoanalyticpos.com/the-act-as-feminine-antigone-between-lacan-and-butler/paper/Tamar-schwartz.

8 Yannis Stavrakakis, “The Lure of Antigone: Aporias of an Ethics of the Political,” in Umbr(a): Ignorance of the Law, No. 1 (2003): 117-129, p. 117.

9 Stavrakakis, “ Re-Activating the Democratic Revolution: The Politics of Transformation Beyond Reoccupation and Conformism,” Parallax, 2003, vol. 9. no. 2, p. 56-71, p 62. .

10 Melissa Sanchez, Erotic Subjects: The Sexuality of Politics in Early Modern English Literature, New York, Oxford University Press, 2011, p. 243.

11 Sanchez, Idem, 243.

12 John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion The Library of Christian Classics Vol. XX, Trans. Ford Lewis Battles, Ed. John T McNeill, Philadelphia, The Westminster Press, 1960, p. 12.

13 Calvin, Idem, 15.

14 Calvin, Idem, 15.

15 Victoria Kahn, Wayward Contracts: The Crisis of Political Obligation In England 1640-1674, 2004, Princeton, Princeton University Press, p. 1.

16 Irving Ribner, “Marlowe and Machiavelli” Comparative Literature, Vol. 6, No 4 (Autumn, 1954), pp. 348-356, p. 335. The Guise as a caricature of Machiavelli is also offered by Marlowe himself, in the third line of the prologue to The Jew of Malta.

17 Ribner, Ibid, p. 356

18 Andrew M. Kirk, "Marlowe and Disordered Face of French History", SEL, 1500-1900, vol. 35, no. 2 Tudor and Stuart Drama (Spring, 1995), p. 193-213, pp. 200.

19 Kirk, Idem, p. 199.

20 Kirk, op. cit., p. 198.

21 Kirk, Idem, p. 205

22 Kirk, op. cit., p. 205.

23 Kirk, Idem, 206-7. This representation of Navarre suggests the multiple uses of Machiavelli. That it is used to condemn the Catholic royal government is evident in accusations, in Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos (1574), the authors of which claim that, “Catherine de Medici had used Il Principe as a text book for her children” and that it was “her bible.” Moreover, Henry III was said to have “learned his lessons well at his mother’s knee,” keeping a copy of it “always in his pocket, for ready reference, when he needed guidance on how to be most effectively evil.” See Vindiciae, Contra Tyrannos, Or Concerning the Legitimate Power of a Prince over the People and the People over a Prince, ed. George Garnett (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994) p. xxi. Here Marlowe suggests its equal applicability in the condemnation of the Protestant Navarre.

24 Kirk, Idem, 209.

25 William Shakespeare Richard II, Arden Shakespeare, Third Series, ed. Charles R. Forker, 2002, London, Thomas Learning, 1.4.25-6.

26 Idem, 1.4.31-33

27 William Shakespeare, I Henry IV, Arden Shakespeare, Third Series, ed. David Scott Kastan, 2002, London, Thomas Learning, 2.4.6, 17-19.

28 1Henry IV, Idem., 1.2.5-9

29 Idem, 4.1.4-5

30 Marlowe, op. cit., 19.23

31 Idem, 19.22

32 Idem, 14.56-57

33 Idem, 19.31-32

34 I Henry IV, op. cit., 1.2.17.

35 William Shakespeare, Henry V, Arden Shakespeare, Third Series, ed. T. W. Craik, 1995, London, Thomas Learning,1.2.18-2.1.

36 I Henry IV, op. cit.

37 Loc. cit.

38 Marlowe, op. cit., 2.40-43.

39 I Henry IV, op. cit, 2.ii. 136-137

40 Henry V, op. cit., 1.2.247-248.

41 Lander, op. cit., p. 121.

42 Shanahan, op. cit., p. 77.

43 Marlowe, op. cit., 2.70-1.

44 1 Henry IV, op. cit., 1.2.187-207.

45 1 Henry IV,op., cit., 5.5.158.  

46 1 Henry IV, op., cit., 5.5.163-5.

47 1 Henry IV, op., cit., 5.3.45-52.  

48 Marlowe, op. cit , 2.61-62.

49 Marlowe, op. cit., 1.1.24.

50 Daniel Shanahan, Toward a Genealogy of Individualism, Amherst, University of

Massachusetts Press, p. 77.

51 Harris, op. cit., p. 67.

52 Harris, op. cit., p.67.

53 Sir Edward Coke, The Selected Writing and Speeches of Sir Edward Coke, ed. Steve Sheppard, Indianapolis, Liberty Fund, 2003, Vol. 1: (accessed on line at http://rey.myzen.co.uk/libell.htm http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/coke-selected-writings-of-sir-edward-coke-vol-i--5#razing-01_head_109 last accessed April 15th, 2017, section 109.

54 J.H. Hexeter, “Property, Monopoly, and Shakespeare’s Richard II,” Culture and Politics: From Puritanism to the Enlightenment, Ed. Perez Zagorin, Los Angeles, University of California Press, 1980, p. 15.

55 Nancy G.M. Hartstock, The Feminist Standpoint Revisited And Other Essays p. 141.

56 Hartstock, op. cit., p.149.

57 L. S. Koetsier, Natural Law and Calvinist Political Theory, Victoria, Trafford Publishing, 2003, p.136.

58 Shanahan, op. cit., p. 79.

59 Werner Sombart, The Jews and Modern Capitalism, tr. M. Epstein, original date 1911, Charleston, Nabu Press, 2010, kindle edition, loc. 3690-3695.

60 Marlowe, op. cit., 16.12.

61 Idem, 19.21.

62 Kantorowicz, Idem, p. 38

63 Agamben, The Power and the Glory, op. cit., p. 197-259.

64 Idem, p. 451

65 Agamben, op. cit., p. 6

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Référence électronique

Kyle DiRoberto, « The Spectacle of Sovereignty: The Abject Multitude in Marlowe’s The Massacre at Paris and Shakespeare’s 1 Henry IV. », Actes des congrès de la Société française Shakespeare [En ligne], 36 | 2018, mis en ligne le 04 avril 2018, consulté le 17 novembre 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/shakespeare/4075 ; DOI : 10.4000/shakespeare.4075

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Kyle DiRoberto

The University of Arizona, Sierra Vista

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