The Audiences o/Behemoth atid the Politics of Conversation

  • Geoffrey M. Vaughan
Keywords: Thomas Hobbes, Behemoth, historiography, audience, political education


Thomas Hobbes's Behemoth must be read as a dialogue if we are to understand that there are two audiences being addressed. There is the immediate audience within the dialogue, that is, the younger interlocutor. He is the audience of the history of the English Civil War as it is presented to him; he is the audience of the narrative. But there is also the audience of the dialogue as a whole, the audience of the meta-narrative. Once we understand this twofold structure we can begin to see that Behemoth is Hobbes's example of how to educate people in their duties through the use of history. Thus, Behemoth is not his history of the war, nor is it an attempt to understand the war through the prism of Hobbesean theory. Instead, it is an education for the reader in how to make his or her interlocutors into good subjects.


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How to Cite
Vaughan GM. The Audiences o/Behemoth atid the Politics of Conversation. FV [Internet]. 2016Jan.3 [cited 2020Sep.22];24(2). Available from: