Presented by Diane Zetlin (Confirmation)

On the frontispiece of De Cive an armed hag-like figure presides over a scene of armed men fighting while what appears to be a human limb is roasting on a spit. This is obviously Hobbes’s state of nature, but why is it presided over by the hag? This chapter of the thesis explores the transitions from the state of nature when mothers make the choice either to abandon (or kill) their offspring or to raise the child. The hag represents the mother who refuses nurturance of the child, a ‘monstrous mother’ who must be vanquished if the state of nature is to become civil society.  The alternative image on the frontispiece shows a woman reigning over a peaceful kingdom armed with the scales of balance and the sword of justice, the mother who raises her child. This image suggests readings of Hobbes in which women (or rather mothers) have the capacity to develop covenanted societies.

Venue

Forgan Smith Building (1) St Lucia Campus
Room: 
E302

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