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How Shakespeare Put Politics on the Stage – Power and Succession in the History Plays - Yale Scholarship Online
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How Shakespeare Put Politics on the Stage: Power and Succession in the History Plays

Peter Lake


This book presents an analysis of how Shakespeare's plays intersected with the politics and culture of Elizabethan England. With an ageing, childless monarch, lingering divisions due to the Reformation, and the threat of foreign enemies, Shakespeare's England was fraught with unparalleled anxiety and complicated problems. The text reveals the extent to which Shakespeare's plays speak to the depth and sophistication of Elizabethan political culture and the Elizabethan imagination. The book shows the complex ways in which Shakespeare's major plays engaged with the events of his day, particularly ... More

Keywords: Shakespeare, Elizabethan England, Elizabethan political culture, contemporary issues, Reformation

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2017 Print ISBN-13: 9780300222715
Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2017 DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300222715.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Peter Lake, author
Vanderbilt University

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Part II Past into present and future: 2 and 3 Henry VI and the politics of lost legitimacy

Part III Happy endings and alternative outcomes: 1 Henry VI and richard III

Part IV How (not) to depose a tyrant: King John and Richard II

Part V The Essexian circle squared, or a user’s guide to the politics of popularity, honour and legitimacy

Part VI Using plays to read plays: The court politics of the dramatic riposte

Part VII Julius Caesar: the dangers of playing pagan and republican politics in a Christian monarchy

Part VIII Disillusion: Christian and pagan style

End Matter