Shakespearean histories

From Academic Kids

Traditionally, the works of William Shakespeare have been grouped into three categories: tragedies, comedies, and histories.

The group includes figures, mainly kings, from English history history of England. Other, older historical figures such as Pericles, Prince of Tyre, King Lear and Julius Caesar are not usually included in the classification.

The basis for many of these plays came from Holinshed's chronicle. Shakespeare's plays, though, tell only a small part of his characters lives and omit significant events for dramatic purposes.

Shakespeare's histories are often regarded as a form of propaganda. He was living under the reign of Elizabeth I the last monarch of the house of Tudor and plays showing her distant royal ancestors, Henrys IV, V and VI, from the house of Lancaster in a heroic light were popular. Singled out for particular odium was Richard III who was the last member of the rival house of York. Despite being dead for over one hundred years, Richard is portrayed as an evil monster—"that bottled spider, that foul bunchback'd toad"—the truth of which is disputed by many modern historians.

A clear example of political bias can also be seen in the refulgent and effusive portrayal of Henry VIII, Elizabeth's father, which is today is among Shakespeare's least performed works.

List of Shakespeare's Histories:

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