Studies in Literature and Culture
Edited By Grzegorz Czemiel, Justyna Galant, Anna Kędra-Kardela, Aleksandra Kędzierska and Marta Komsta
The Political Siding of Thomas Hobbes: Revision of Power in Leviathan
← 270 | 271 →Paweł Kaptur
Written in the turmoil of the Civil War, Hobbes’s Leviathan still remains one of the most crucial political works ever written. Although the work offers a high level of complexity and ambiguity, its perception has been largely simplified throughout centuries. As it is generally believed, Hobbes’s idea of sovereign power was meant to support royalty and reinforce the position of the banished Prince Charles. Others claim that Hobbes’s masterpiece is deprived of any political bias as it only exemplifies the seventeenth-century political thought whose goal was to theorize about perfect social systems and perfect governments. It is quite difficult, though, to believe that such a highly politicized work written during one of the most turbulent periods in the history of England could remain fully objective and stand outside the political background of the time. The aim of the present article is to demonstrate that Leviathan cannot be read at a shallow level of interpretation and that the question of Hobbes’s allegiance is not as easy to answer as it might be expected.
Hobbes was connected with the Devonshires – one of the most influential royalist families in England. For over thirty years he was a servant to the Cavendish family being a tutor to William Cavendish, later Earl of Devonshire. As he was generally known a loyal royalist defending the divine rights of King Charles I, the prospect of the political crisis made him leave England and stay in Paris until 1652. One of the reasons for his escape...
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