Monday, November 7, 2016

Of Kings and Servants: Responsibility and Trust Across Shakespeare's Plays

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King Henry V in disguise, discussing responsibility with his soldiers.
Over the summer I studied a novel about the Vietnam War and wrote a lot about responsibility and trust. These ideas seemed to be changed by the novel, and I found the ideas fascinating. Who is responsible in a war? Is it the soldier? The leader? Or some combination of people?

Shakespeare deals with lots of different relationships, all of which involve trust and responsibilities. I would like to refer back to Shakespeare's discussion of responsibility in war in Henry V. It gets interesting when comparing what we can read there with the same issues in something lighthearted, like the comedy Twelfth Night. I haven't fully studied all of the ideas through yet, but my basic ideas are that responsibility and trust are changeable, and actually very different depending on the situation, according to Shakespeare's plays.
With some basic research, I have come across a video discussing Henry's conversation about responsibility with his soldiers. I also found an article titled Henry V's Politics of Non-Responsibility, which I think I will find very useful for my essay. Overall, this issue might not be discussed to broadly across other plays, which is why I think the comparison will be so useful, since trust and responsibility are both things we use and recognize everyday, even if we don't notice it all the time. Viewing the connections between the leaders and servants in Shakespeare has the potential to lead to some applicable conclusions.

After reading through other's posts on slack and posting my own, there is one other person who may be doing something similar, which is good because we can help each other research. It's also good that it's just one person, so that my topic can be pretty unique.


  1. The idea of responsibility and trust is awesome because it is so prominent in our world today and a topic that has been brought up many times during this campaign season.

    1. That's a great point! There could be some connecting I can do to our times.

  2. I think McKay's comment is fascinating. I'd love to see if you could tie in this year's election with Shakespeare.