<i>Quantifying death, calculating revenge: mathematical justice in Henry Chettle's</i> Tragedy of Hoffman
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Jarrett, J. (2017). <i>Quantifying death, calculating revenge: mathematical justice in Henry Chettle's</i> Tragedy of Hoffman. Renaissance Studies, 31 (4) https://doi.org/10.1111/rest.12247
In this article, I will focus on one somewhat neglected revenge play, Henry Chettle’s Tragedy of Hoffman, and argue that it stands apart from either Kerrigan’s influential account of revenge tragedy as continual escalation, or Linda Woodbridge’s more recent account of revenge tragedy as ‘bilateral symmetry’. In Hoffman, the quantification of death and the concomitant mathematical calculation of an appropriate revenge are made a particularly explicit component of the play’s aesthetic, so that two distinct models of revenge are permitted to emerge: one relies upon the geometrical proportionality inherent to the concept of distributive justice, and the other relies upon the arithmetical proportionality inherent to the concept of corrective, or rectificatory justice. By placing these two overtly mathematical models of revenge-justice into a productive counterpoint, Chettle’s play is able to interrogate them simultaneously as two separate architectures of justice, each with their own logics and aesthetics, problematics and justifications, but also to question where the boundaries between these models might lie, and how the subjective alteration of those boundaries might effect their social and judicial utility.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/rest.12247
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/279540