Content Category

Literary Criticism

Abstract/Description

In this paper, I will propose that there are three bodies of power present in Shakespeare’s Richard II. The first two bodies present, the body politic and the body natural, were introduced by Ernst Kantorowicz in opposition to Carl Schmitt’s Political Theology. The third body introduced is the pseudo body, which is a temporary body used by the body politic to depose the body natural. I will argue that Richard’s actions allow Bolingbroke to become the pseudo body through the backing of the body politic. And that Bolingbroke’s role as the pseudo body enables him to become the king.

Origin of Submission

as part of a class

Faculty Involvement

Dr. Jason Kerr

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Falling into Kingship: Bolingbroke's Slide into Power in Richard II

In this paper, I will propose that there are three bodies of power present in Shakespeare’s Richard II. The first two bodies present, the body politic and the body natural, were introduced by Ernst Kantorowicz in opposition to Carl Schmitt’s Political Theology. The third body introduced is the pseudo body, which is a temporary body used by the body politic to depose the body natural. I will argue that Richard’s actions allow Bolingbroke to become the pseudo body through the backing of the body politic. And that Bolingbroke’s role as the pseudo body enables him to become the king.