The importance of the political element in William Shakespeare's Richard II

Fraser, R. Scott (1985) The importance of the political element in William Shakespeare's Richard II. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

[img] [English] PDF (Migrated (PDF/A Conversion) from original format: (application/pdf)) - Accepted Version
Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.

Download (19Mb)
  • [img] [English] PDF - Accepted Version
    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
    (Original Version)

Abstract

Throughout the twentieth century, literary critics have largely undervalued the political element inherent in William Shakespeare's Richard II, preferring instead to emphasize its tragic qualities. However, upon close analysis of the text and the period in which it was written one finds that the play's printed and performed popularity owed much to its political content. -- With an analogy existing between Queen Elizabeth I and Richard II, writing on the subject of the latter monarch's reign was both a daring and dangerous thing to do in the last decade of the sixteenth century. Yet, Shakespeare was able to write his play with a great deal of current political commentary and political theorizing without any extensive repercussion - even after his play was performed on the eve of the Essex Rebellion in 1601. This contrasts starkly with the fate of Dr. John Hayward, who was imprisoned in 1599 until after the death of Elizabeth for employing the analogy to comment on the politics of the day in his prose history Henry IIII. -- It is the assertion herein that Shakespeare was able to do so because he carefully balanced his play between tragedy and political theory - a balance permitting Richard II to operate as a cautionary tale within the area of functional ambiguity.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5461
Item ID: 5461
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves [120]-128.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature
Date: 1985
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616--King Richard II

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Downloads

Downloads per month over the past year

View more statistics