|Publisher:||Creative Media Partners, LLC|
|Product dimensions:||6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.25(d)|
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III. THE ENGLISH HISTORICAL PLAYS The aim of the present monograph is to examine, with reference to the theory of dramatic contrast, Shakespeare's use of his sources in the English historical plays. Our purpose is not to compare Shakespeare's dramas with the actual facts of history, but to study his sources on the one hand and his plays on the other, to note the more important instances in which he diverged from those sources and to discover to what extent the theory of contrast offers an explanation of such divergences. The English historical plays have been selected for this investigation for three reasons. In the first place, the sources are accessible and the fact of their being sources is universally admitted. Secondly, in the historical plays Shakespeare employed for the most part definite historical material rather than plot ideas that had previously been cast in fictional form, so that his manipulation of it represents his own choice and shaping of the material. Thirdly, the historical plays were written during a period (1591-16J2) which roughly covers his entire career as a dramatist, and hence this study should afford some valuable suggestions bearing upon the genesis of Shakespeare's artistic ideals. The ten historical plays are taken, therefore, not in the order in which they correspond to the facts of English history, but in the order in which they were written. Dates of Composition King Henry VI, Parts I, II, and ///. Shakespearean scholars are all but unanimous in giving 1591 and 1592 as the approximate dates of authorship. Shakespeare, in the Epilogue to King Henry V, makes it clear that the plays commemorating the reign of Henry VI antedated that play: Henrythe Sixth, in infant bands crowned King Of France and England, did this King succeed; ...