I thank Paul A. Cantor, Werner J. Dannhauser, Arthur Melzer, and Richard Zinman for their helpful criticism of this article's earlier drafts.
Pious Princes and Red-Hot Lovers: The Politics of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
Article first published online: 27 MAR 2003
Journal of Politics
Volume 65, Issue 2, pages 350–375, May 2003
How to Cite
Weinberger, J. (2003), Pious Princes and Red-Hot Lovers: The Politics of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Journal of Politics, 65: 350–375. doi: 10.1111/1468-2508.t01-2-00004
- Issue published online: 27 MAR 2003
- Article first published online: 27 MAR 2003
Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is obviously a tragedy of impetuous young love. But it is also a play about politics, especially politics as conditioned by Christian morality and religion. The play's action is determined by the conflict between secular and priestly authority, and by the complex interaction among mercy, love, and punishment as practiced by Escalus, Prince of Verona, and Friar Laurence, the Franciscan. In the course of this action, the Veronese regime is transformed, and the common good determined, in ways more compatible with the friar's interests than with those of the Prince. Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare's pictures of the unique problems that determined modern, as opposed to ancient, political life.