Sovereignty is a key issue in the baroque, and especially in the Dutch Republic with its incredibly complicated political organisation. Consequently, in and through Joost van den Vondel's theatre plays, sovereignty was explored. Vondel sensed a fundamental problem in the construction of Europe’s politico-cultural 'house'. The questions he asked with respect to that construction concerned the relation between theology and politics, also in terms of gender and culture. Since these questions could barely be considered explicitly, let alone be discussed, they had to be presented through literature – theatre. A close reading of a number of plays reveals a pivotal discussion that concerns Vondel's own times, but also an ongoing struggle in the European exploration of sovereignty. In that context, power and potency – a distinction made by Spinoza – determine the status of sovereignty that any body can acquire.
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