The influence of the duelling code on three of Shakespeare's plays: A critical study of selected plays



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The primary purpose of this paper is to prove that Shakespeare made use of the duel and the code of honor in some of his plays. In Chapter II the writer examined the duel in its historic setting and showed that the judicial duel or trial by combat was the basis on which the later duel of honor was founded. Eventually, the duel of honor appeared as a very common practice among the gentlemen of the Elizabethan era. Chapter III is devoted to the development of the code of honor. The code, in its earliest chivalric mode was guided by religious principles. Gradually, however, the religious motives were abandoned by the nobles, and at the time of the reign of Queen Elizabeth the code had become nothing more than a book of rules governing the duel of honor. In this paper the main essentials of the code were illustrated by using the works of Vincentio Saviolo, an Italian fencing master. This treatise on the code of honor was published during the Elizabethan era. [...]