David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
The paper addresses questions of legal and political theory concerning the representations of law, sovereign power and justice within Hamlet. I explore how the play can be seen to emphasise the significance of the restraints that can be placed upon the sovereign and Hamlet himself, by natural law and justice. Applying the natural law theories of Shakespeare's contemporaries and John Finnis's modern theory of natural law in particular, I argue that Claudius is an illegitimate figurehead of state and law whose exercise of practical reason and prudentia is flawed, and that his actions cause his law to lack the moral content demanded of law worthy of that name. In part II of the paper, I assess Hamlet's unfulfilled potential as a sovereign lawmaker and consider whether his philosophical, cautious nature would have been apt for this role. In the final part of the paper, I argue that Hamlet's own actions are also open to legal and moral critique. I contend that at the end of the play, Hamlet neglects his duty to the people of Denmark since his killing of Claudius is an act of personal revenge that, at the very most, achieves a crude version of justice, rather than a public act legitimated through law.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Owen J. Anderson (2012). The Natural Moral Law: The Good After Modernity. Cambridge University Press.
Charles Covell (1992). The Defence of Natural Law: A Study of the Ideas of Law and Justice in the Writings of Lon L. Fuller, Michael Oakeshot, F.A. Hayek, Ronald Dworkin, and John Finnis. [REVIEW] St. Martin's Press.
Roland Pierik & Wouter Werner (2005). Cosmopolitism, Global Justice and International Law. The Leiden Journal of International Law 18 (4):679-684.
David Lyons (1971/1993). Moral Aspects of Legal Theory: Essays on Law, Justice, and Political Responsibility. Cambridge University Press.
Neil MacCormick (2007). Institutions of Law: An Essay in Legal Theory. Oxford University Press.
Joseph Raz (1979). The Authority of Law: Essays on Law and Morality. Oxford University Press.
Garrett Barden (2010). Law and Justice in Community. Oxford University Press.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads13 ( #127,289 of 1,101,880 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #68,243 of 1,101,880 )
How can I increase my downloads?