'Imaginary puissance': Shakespearean theater and the law of agency in Henry V, Twelfth Night and Measure for Measure

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This article considers the presentation of principles of legal and theatrical agency in Henry V, Twelfth Night and Measure for Measure. It argues that the treatment of these ideas in plays written for performance at the new Globe from 1598/9 to 1603 goes beyond the framework of contemporary law, and that in doing so it articulates a structural transformation of the status of the professional player; arising from that, a qualitative transformation of the terms on which the Chamberlain's/King's Men presented the experience of theater to their audiences, and of the political values associated with that experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-329
Number of pages14
JournalShakespeare Survey
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2013


  • Shakespeare
  • Henry V
  • Twelfth Night
  • Measure for Measure
  • legal and theatrical agency
  • the institution of theater
  • law and literature

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