Eternal Bonds, True Contracts: Law and Nature in Shakespeare's Problem Plays

Front Cover
SUNY Press, Jul 15, 2004 - Literary Criticism - 195 pages
In Eternal Bonds, True Contracts, A. G. Harmon closely analyzes Shakespeare s concentrated use of the law and its instruments in what have often been referred to as the problem plays: Measure for Measure, Troilus and Cressida, The Merchant of Venice, and All s Well That Ends Well. Contracts, bonds, sureties, wills all ensure a changed relationship between parties, and in Shakespeare the terms are nearly always reserved for use in the contexts of marriage and fellowship. Harmon explores the theory and practice of contractual obligations in Renaissance England, especially those involving marriage and property, in order to identify contractual elements and their formation, execution, and breach in the plays. Using both legal and literary resources, Harmon reveals the larger significance of these contractual concepts by illustrating how Shakespeare develops them both dramatically and thematically. Harmon s study ultimately enables the reader to perceive not only these plays but also all of Shakespeare s writing including his poetry as integral with, and implicated in, the proliferating legalism that was helping to define early modern English culture.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

The Contracts
25
The Mock Contract
55
Contracts Bonds
81
Contractual Performance
115
Beyond the Problem Plays
145
Notes
165
Works Cited
185
Index
191
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2004)

A. G. Harmon is Lecturer at the Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America and the author of the novel A House All Stilled.

Bibliographic information