Quantifying death, calculating revenge: mathematical justice in Henry Chettle's Tragedy of Hoffman

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Jarrett, Joseph 

jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:pIn this article, I argue that Chettle's somewhat neglected play, jats:italicThe Tragedy of Hoffman</jats:italic>, stands apart from either John Kerrigan's influential account of revenge tragedy as continual escalation, or Linda Woodbridge's more recent account of revenge tragedy as bilateral symmetry. The quantification of death and the concomitant mathematical calculation of an appropriate revenge are made a particularly explicit component of the aesthetic of jats:italicHoffman</jats:italic>, in which two distinctly Aristotelian 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. My contention here is that, by placing these two mathematical models of revenge‐justice into counterpoint, jats:italicHoffman</jats:italic> manages 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.</jats:p>

4705 Literary Studies, 36 Creative Arts and Writing, 43 History, Heritage and Archaeology, 47 Language, Communication and Culture, 4303 Historical Studies, 3601 Art History, Theory and Criticism, 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
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Renaissance Studies
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AHRC (1357535)