This chapter outlines the topics of power and succession in the history of plays. It describes how power and succession was being staged and performed as a series of plays before ideologically and socially mixed audiences throughout the 1590s. It also draws on the existing corpus of literary criticism, mixing and matching insights and arguments culled from a broad range of methodologically distinct schools of literary criticism. The chapter explores William Shakespeare's history plays, including plays that are conventionally regarded as tragedies or Roman plays. It argues that the plays “Julius Caesar,” “Hamlet,” and “Troilus and Cressida” were all based on what contemporaries regarded as history and are available for the same processes of application to current political thought and practice as the plays about English history.
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