Shakespeare News

The Choice of the Four Fathers | Early Modern and Open Access

By March 15, 2016 No Comments

This is part of a weekly series here at TSS: Early Modern and Open Access regularly showcases peer-reviewed articles (or other resources) of interest to early modernists that are freely available in open access formats.

Citation and Link:

Kenji Yoshino, The Choice of the Four Fathers: Henry IV, Falstaff, the Lord Chief Justice, and the King of France in the Henriad, in Yale School of Law and Humanities, (Volume 22, Issue 2, Article 8).


To speak of justice in Shakespeare’s plays without speaking of the sovereign may seem like playing Hamlet without the Prince. In Shakespeare’s time, the sovereign was the ultimate symbolic source of justice, as seen in the iconographic conflation of Queen Elizabeth I with Astraea, the goddess of Justice. Perhaps Shakespeare’s deepest meditation on what makes a just ruler lies in the four plays scholars have dubbed the Henriad (Richard II; Henry IV, Part 1; Henry IV, Part 2; and Henry V). In these plays, we follow the development of the dissolute youth Prince Hal as he matures into the paradigmatic good ruler, Henry V.

Shani Bans

Author Shani Bans

Shani Bans is an assistant editor at TSS and a PhD candidate at University College London. Her thesis, 'Optics in Shakespeare and his Contemporaries' - explores the relationship between optics and literature in early modern Europe, supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Her other interests include: the culture of dissection in early modern drama, representation of ugly women; early modern science, medicine and technology; the history of Shakespearean criticism; Sidney circle; Miguel de Cervantes, Michel de Montaigne; Virginia Woolf; Hergé; Derrida and epistolarity.

More posts by Shani Bans

Leave a Reply

Upcoming Events

There are no upcoming events at this time.