The Politics of Love: The Broken Heart in the Caroline Context

Jessica Dyson


Critical attention to John Ford’s The Broken Heart has tended to minimise the relevance of a Caroline context of production. In this essay, I would like to reposition the play within a Caroline context, as engaging with issues of law and prerogative under debate in the late 1620s and 1630s. Through a politicised reading of its representations of love and death, and dramatic rendering of literary tropes of courtly love on stage, I will argue that Ford employs ideas of neo-Platonism and the Caroline court’s chaste self-representation in an image of monarchy within marriage to advocate temperate monarchy, bound by the reason of law.

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