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Shakespeare and The Body Politic
The frontpiece of Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan presents an interesting image: A King towers over a large city with a sword in one hand and a Bishop’s crosier in the other. On close inspection one can see that his body is made up of people, his subjects, who are all looking toward his head. Hobbes published Leviathan in 1651, which places him a little beyond Shakespeare’s time but also indicates that Hobbe’s was most likely familiar with the work of England’s most famous playwright. In Leviathan, Hobbes gives his