Literature represents much of the very best of humanity's writings, and it is not by any accident that, after bestsellers and sensationalized books have faded from memory, literature continues to thrive and remain intensely relevant to contemporary human conditions. Literature's stories and texts survive the fires of time. This is why for decades and centuries - long after their authors have gone silent - the writings of Dante, Shakespeare, and Austen, among so many other vital voices, will continue to captivate readers and comment upon life. Literature has innumerable qualities and purposes and can open doors to unique situations and worlds which are never wholly removed from our own.
Representations of Kingship and Power in Shakespeare's Second Tetralogy Amanda Mabillard Since it is impossible to know Shakespeare's attitudes, beliefs, and play writing methodology, we can only present hypotheses, based upon textual evidence, regarding his authorial intention and the underlying didactic message found in the second tetralogy of history plays.
In constructing his history plays, Shakespeare most likely relied upon the Chronicles of Froissart, and, primarily, Holinshed, but he altered and embellished the material found in these sources.
Through an examination of both the plays and Shakespeare's sources, we see that many of the changes are implemented to promote a deliberate political philosophy. The plays make the statement that the best possible ruler must be both anointed and politically shrewd.
A monarch's license to rule is not based simply on his or her divine right of succession, but also on his or her ability to shoulder the responsibility that comes with being divinely appointed — to lead the people wisely, placing the welfare of the nation above personal desire.
This philosophy seems to be a combination of Tudor and Machiavellian theories on the nature of kingship and power. Moreover, it is possible that this didactic message linking all four history plays in the second tetralogy was constructed as a reaction to the succession problem and the potentiality that Elizabeth and her council might choose an heir lacking in one or both of these areas.
Thus, the plays, to a large extent, can be read as a collective guide to help Elizabeth select the next ruler of England. In order to assess the credibility of the argument that the plays contain the didactic message that a ruler needs the combination of divine right and leadership qualities, we must examine the three main characters, Richard II, Henry IV, and Henry V, as found in the chronicles and in the plays.
The historical events of Richard's reign are kept in sequence and no significant changes are made to his character. However, it is the small and subtle changes to the chronicles that so effectively reshape the focus of the play from a simple report on history, to a dramatic lesson on the responsibilities of monarchs.
Many of the embellishments Shakespeare makes to the information he found in Holinshed's Chronicles are directed towards stressing and reaffirming Richard's status as a divinely sanctioned king.
The first and most striking example is the way the character of Gaunt changes.
Shakespeare's portrayal of Gaunt is one of the few instances where he dramatically alters the source material of Holinshed1. In the Chronicles, Gaunt is a disorderly and rapacious magnate. However, in Richard II, Gaunt is the voice of reason, wisdom, and, above all, patriotism.
It is likely that Shakespeare relied on the Chronicle of Froissart for his characterization of Gaunt. The following passage from Froissart's Chronicle shows the similarities: The duke of Lancastre was sore dyspleased in his mind to se the kynge his nephewe mysse use himselfe in dyvers thynges as he dyd.
He consydred the tyme to come lyke a sage prince, and somtyme sayd to suche as he trusted best: Our nephue the kynge of Englande wyll shame all or he cease: The Frenchman are right subtyle; for one myschiefe that falleth amonge us, they wolde it were ten, for otherwise they canne nat recover their dommages, nor come to their ententes, but by our owne means and dyscorde betwene ourselfe.
And we se dayly that all realmes devyded are destroyed. John Froissart, Chronicles [London: In these passages from Froissart is a Gaunt who greatly resembles Shakespeare's character, but Shakespeare further enhances Gaunt's patriotism and loyalty to the king in order to place the emphasis on Richard's divine right to rule.
In many of his speeches in the play, Gaunt emphatically expounds the importance of the Divine Right of Kings. Gaunt knows Richard was an accomplice in the murder of Gloucester, but still he refuses to support any action that would put Richard's crown at risk: To stir against the butchers of his life!
But since correction lieth in those hands Which made the fault that we cannot correct, Put we our quarrel to the will of heaven. I, ii, God's is the quarrel; for God's substitute, His deputy anointed in His sight, Hath caused his death; the which is wrongfully, Let heaven revenge; for I may never lift An angry arm against His minister.English Literature Glossary of Literary Terms.
This is a reprint from The Essentials of Literature in English PostWords in bold within the text indicate terms cross-referenced to . Lily, Lindy M.
Zart Underwater Homes, Therese Hopkins Bulgarian Horrors and the Question of the East (), William Ewart Gladstone By Stroke of Sword - A Romance Taken from the Chronicles of Sir Jeremy Clephane (), Jeremy Clephane, Judas Fraser, Andrew Balfour.
MacBeth - Analysis of Fear Fear, this motivates us to do many things no matter if they are right or wrong. In the play Macbeth it was fear that was the main motivating factor that influenced the outcome of the play.
Guide to Theory of Drama. Manfred Jahn.
Full reference: Jahn, Manfred. A Guide to the Theory of Drama. Part II of Poems, Plays, and Prose: A Guide to the Theory of Literary Genres.
English Department, University of Cologne. No Fear Shakespeare by SparkNotes features the complete edition of Macbeth side-by-side with an accessible, plain English translation.
Essay on Analysis of Macbeth and His Struggle for Power - In William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, there is a constant struggle for power by Macbeth that leads to many problems, not only for himself, but for the very nature of Scotland as well.