From Chronicle To History Play
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Shakespeare was not exceptional in finding the genre of history play attractive. Something like 20 per cent of the plays written in the last two decades of the sixteenth century were history and chronicle plays. Of the eighteen or so plays written by Shakespeare up to and including Henry V, half were English history plays. He continued to write history plays after Henry V, but only one, Henry VIII, had an English subject. The implications of dramatised history were very direct to the Elizabethans. The Queen herself saw Shakespeare’s Richard II as dramatising her own feared deposition and almost a hundred years later, Charles II, not the most restrictive of monarchs, personally banned that play.
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