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Synopsis

The succession to the throne, Lisa Hopkins argues here, was a burning topic not only in the final years of Elizabeth but well into the 1630s, with continuing questions about how James's two kingdoms might be ruled after his death. Because the issue, with its attendant constitutional questions, was so politically sensitive, Hopkins contends that drama, with its riddled identities, oblique relationship to reality, and inherent blurring of the extent to which the situation it dramatizes is indicative or particular, offered a crucial forum for the discussion. Hopkins analyzes some of the ways in which the dramatic works of the time – by Marlowe, Shakespeare, Webster and Ford among others – reflect, negotiate and dream the issue of the succession to the throne.

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