Giuseppe Leone

Shakespeare's Use of the Ineffectiveness of Poison against Worthy Kings and Good Characters

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Shakespeare; Bible; Poison; Queen Elizabeth; Dr. López; Mark.

Starting from the observation that, in Shakespeare's tragedies and romances, poison never affects innocent rulers or characters, this paper aims to investigate whether there is a causal motivation which links the ineffectiveness of poison to the character's innocence. Is this choice the result of a deliberate decision? The systematic inevitability with which, in given situations, the ineffectualness of poison occurs lets one suppose that it is not the result of plain chance. But does it suffice? Why did Shakespeare decide to opt for such a choice? This paper tries to find out whether there is a reason - more or less conscious, more or less due to political requirements or to cultural influences - why good kings and good characters, victims either of subversive attempted regicides or of other wicked plans, benefit from the inefficacy of poison.

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