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Theaters of Pardoning$
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Bernadette Meyler

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781501739330

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501739330.001.0001

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Non-Sovereign Forgiveness Mercy among Equals in The Laws of Candy

Non-Sovereign Forgiveness Mercy among Equals in The Laws of Candy

(p.111) 3 Non-Sovereign Forgiveness Mercy among Equals in The Laws of Candy
Theaters of Pardoning

Bernadette Meyler

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines The Laws of Candy, composed either partially or principally by playwright John Ford, who resided for a long time in the Middle Temple, one of the Inns of Court that formed England’s early law schools. While on first blush The Laws of Candy seems merely to displace sovereignty from a King onto a legislative body, this chapter argues that it rejects sovereignty and a vision of pardoning attached to sovereignty in its entirety. Instead, the play presents the possibility of reconstructing a state faced with potential dissolution through a series of non-sovereign offers of forgiveness. The priority here is placed on law over sovereignty. The chapter also examines how this emphasis relates back to a possible intertext for the play, Plato’s Laws, which was widely read and cited by lawyers, including in Henry Finch’s Nomotexnia, and in compilations of ancient materials, such as Polyanthea and Polyanthea Nova.

Keywords:   Forgiveness, John Ford, Laws of Candy, Inns of Court, Sovereignty, Plato’s Laws, Henry Finch’s Nomotexnia, Polyanthea

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