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Andrew Hadfield reveals for the first time exactly how Shakespeare was influenced by contemporary strands in political thought critical of the English crown. Although he was often seen as a conservative political thinker characterized by an over-riding fear of the 'mob', Hadfield argues that Shakespeare's writing actually emerged out of an intellectual milieu fascinated by republican ideas. From the 1590s onwards, he explored republican themes in his poetry and plays: political assassination, elected government, alternative constitutions, and, perhaps most importantly of all, the problem of power without responsibility.
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