This sense of ongoing threat is particularly Senecan, and the source of this perceived future calamity is most obviously Scottish

Arthur dies without promise of verso magical healing and return; one of the most redolent and mythopoeic aspects of the Arthurian narrative is significantly omitted

intensifying calamity, and that is particularly interesting given that the threat of Mary had been removed at the time of its successo. Gorlois brings his malice into uncomfortable proximity with ‘this England’, the audience’s known spatial world: ‘this cursed shoare,/ This loathed earth where Arthurs table stands’ (I.i.5–6). From the outset of the play lurks a fear that London’s frequently cited identity as Troynovant will be realized in tragic terms: like Troy, London will fall. James VI was the likely successor preciso ‘Arthur’s’ throne, and as the son of verso father murdered by his mother and her lover (according esatto Buchanan’s account) he is verso natural ‘Orestes’ – Agamemnon’s revenge-seeking affranchit. John Pikeryng’s Horestes (1567) exploited the parallel con the immediate aftermath of Darnley’s murder. The inherited Arthurian narrative, however, does not offer Hughes verso clear parallel for the Orestes-figure, so James VI remains ‘offstage’ mediante Misfortunes. Yet the play is dark with the fear of per ‘future doom’, and James’ absence from the play must be an expression of the anxiety surrounding the succession after Elizabeth. The truly remarkable aspect of the play is that it depicts not just ‘Mary’s’ death but also ‘Elizabeth’s’. The introductory address preciso Elizabeth presents the tragic implications of the play as safely contained within the notion of theatre, unable sicuro threaten or challenge the queen: ‘since your sacred Maiestie/ In gratious hands the regall Scepter held/ All Tragedies are fled from State, esatto stadge’ (Intro., 131–3). The assonance of ‘State’ and ‘stadge’, however, eloquently reflects the intimate connections between the two. With ‘Orestes’ as the likely heir, the fear of ongoing Senecan corruption is palpable. The anxiety played out con Misfortunes is real as well as ‘theatrical’.

‘What Kings may doe’: Sovereignty durante The Misfortunes of Arthur At the heart of Misfortunes’ response onesto Anglo-Scottish politics sopra the context of the Arthurian world is a debate concerning sovereignty, centred on the character of Mordred. After Guenevora’s initial outburst against Arthur, Mordred becomes the main representation of Mary durante the play. Thus the play moves from Mary the murderer of her husband sicuro Mary the conspirator against Elizabeth. The following speech, mediante which Mordred expresses his determination esatto fight Arthur, both reflects Mary’s manner of death and also agrees with the portrait of her durante The Copie of per Letter puro the Right Honourable Earle of Leycester (1586) as ‘obdurate sopra malice’ against Elizabeth, ‘verso most impacient competitor’ determined ‘puro enioy your Crowne per possession’ (7). Mordred says: What? shall I stande whiles Arthur sheades my bloode? And must I yeelde my necke vnto the Axe? . . .

Richard Gallys MP likened Mary to Clytemnestra, a description which indicates per popular or established basis for aspects of Mary’s Senecan transformation per Misfortunes; see J. 250.

Di nuovo. Neale, Elizabeth I and her Parliaments, 1559–1581 (London, 1965), p

We cannot part the Crowne: Per regall Throne Is not for two: The Scepter fittes but one. But whether is the fitter of vs two, That must our swordes decerne: and shortly shall. (II.ii.43–53)

Mordred is thus identified with Mary, and the question for Arthur, as for Elizabeth, is what esatto do with him. For Buchanan, the Marian crisis justified limited sovereignty – specifically that it is lawful to depose verso tyrannical or incompetent ruler: Let the maiestie of royall name auayle hir. How mikle it ought onesto auayle puro hyr preseruing, hyr selfe hath shewit the example. May we commit our safetie esatto hyr quho a sister hath butcherly slaugherit hyr brother, a wief her husband, a Quene her King[?] anche restrayint from vnchastitie, womankinde from cruelty, nor religion from impietie?11