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Title: Usurpation and regicide in Shakespeare : Shakespeare's second tetralogy of history plays
Authors: Micallef, Jeffrey
Keywords: English literature -- 16th century -- Criticism and interpretation
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. Henry V
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. Richard II
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. King Henry IV
Issue Date: 2012
Abstract: This dissertation traces the fate of kings; of men who are troubled by the implications of their office, yet try to hold on to what they hold is God's given right. The theme of usurpation, at times followed by regicide, is treated with reference to Shakespeare's second tetralogy of history plays: 'Richard II', 'I Henry IV', 'Henry IV Part 2', and 'Henry V'. The concept of kingship has been recorded, in English literature specifically, at least since 'Beowulf'. A natural need for a leader to help his people survive - and thrive - developed into spectacularly complicated affairs. Leaders chosen on account of their intelligence, or strength, or a combination of the two diminished as a practice in favour of dynasties inherited by a couple of families. Whilst this ensured stability, the system of hereditary rulership, enforced by religious doctrines such as the Divine Right of Kings, got necessarily corrupted as dynastic degeneracy crept in. Fearless warriors occasionally gave way to delusional megalomaniacs, or plain incompetents who jeopardized their state's security and future. In his second tetralogy, Shakespeare uses historical facts and dramatizes them to create a vision of troubled monarchy, presenting a tentative and colourful narrative of deception and usurpation of the British throne. This dissertation is primarily faithful to the Shakespearean plays and it is on these that it bases its narrative. It also makes judicious use of sources that elaborate, or question, Shakespeare's Kings and their actions.
Description: B.A.(HONS)ENGLISH
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacArt - 2012
Dissertations - FacArtEng - 2012

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