The Divinity That Doth Hedge a King: The Evolution and Classification of Divine Right Monarchies

Date
2014-09-26
Authors
Kim, Jerome
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract
Of ill-fated Macbeth Shakespeare wrote: Those he commands move only in command, Nothing in love. Now does he feel his title Hang loose about him like a giant's robe Upon a dwarfish thief. (Macbeth, V, ii, 22-5) Beauty of imagery aside, Shakespeare underscores the significance of legitimacy to a king's rule. Without proper justification, the power of a king and his right to govern are undermined. To avoid this dilemma there have evolved a number of mechanisms to ensure the legality of the king's authority. The development and characterization of these institutions of a king's legitimacy are not bereft of pattern, and may be distinguished and classified by the features of their history.
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