In this new collection, leading scholars analyze Shakespeare's plays to show how they shape issues arising from the interpretation of statute and common law as well as respond to new ideas of contract, the rights of subordinates, and the demands of the market. Central to this discussion are such topics as the authority of the law in conflict with the power of the monarchy; the responsibilities of persons holding real property in relation to the rights of tenants; the identification of slander; the legal resources available to women; the perpetration of fraud on persons and institutions; commercial practice and the marriage contract; and the status of unwritten law or the law of nature. These essays explore what happens to law when it is rendered in fiction, illustrating the complementary relations between play text and legal text, between the dramatization of conflicts on stage and their discursive renderings in the words of the law.

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