Published online by Cambridge University Press: 17 August 2021
The classics not only gave Shakespeare the images of war that he drew on in plays based on classical subjects, they also shaped his representation of war more generally. His knowledge of the place of war in the ancient world influenced his view of the ways in which that past informed his own present. Topics in this chapter include the relation of the classical past to the English present, the relation between foreign and domestic war, and the relation between war and peace. What happens when the hero comes home (the subject of Greek and Senecan tragedy): when Titus finishes killing, Antony lets his hair down, Hector relaxes with his family, Achilles withdraws into his tent, Tarquin takes a night off, or Coriolanus tries to turn politician. How also does war inform peace and, further, what is the relation between the “arts” of war and the arts of peace, especially literature?
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