‘The Vow is Made’: communal swearing and succession in Titus Andronicus

Stacey, R. (2018) ‘The Vow is Made’: communal swearing and succession in Titus Andronicus. Forum for Modern Language Studies, 54(1), pp. 60-72. (doi: 10.1093/fmls/cqx081)

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This article considers the extent to which William Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus endorses a politico-legal system in which succession can be authorized by communal swearing. Through exploring instances of vowing in relation to the rhetorical and affective properties delineated by the Bond of Association, this article debates whether the transference of power from one regime to another is as smooth as it first appears when sovereignty is legitimized by the emotional component of a group vow. The sustained emphasis on fellow-feeling as a central aspect of group vowing does not always result in implementation of the conciliar power structures emblematized by the spectacle of communal swearing on stage. Rather, it can be a method by which personal ambition is fostered through manipulation of the perceived association between mass pledging and political consent by ambitious claimants.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Stacey, Dr Richard
Authors: Stacey, R.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Journal Name:Forum for Modern Language Studies
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):1471-6860
Published Online:21 December 2017

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