This study guide gives students the basis for an informed discussion of Shakespeare's play, both in its original context and in the light of its theatrical tradition to modern times.
Three formats: PDF, ePub and Mobi.
Students with little or no prior experience of studying Shakespeare in depth will find very useful the summaries of the conclusions of recent research into theatrical conditions, conventions and concepts in the time of Shakespeare. After an overview of Shakespeare's life and career, the book summarises Elizabethan attitudes to History and Politics, concepts of the cosmos, theological issues such as Free Will and the Fall of Man, and the tensions that ultimately destroyed consensus on these matters. Discussion of expectations of different types of plays then precedes detailed analysis of Henry IV's structure, genres and literary strategies, and of the major themes it explores. The play is firmly placed in the sequence of history plays from Richard II to Henry V. A chapter examines fully the issues surrounding the Education of a Prince for rule, concluding with full exploration of the part played by Falstaff. The final chapters examine the conceptual and ideological implications of the play's languages and styles, and the career of the play, which, especially in Part 1, has been greatly successful in later ages when its original topicality is quite forgotten. There is an Appendix listing some extant History Plays, and copious explanatory hyperlinks.
About the author
Charles Moseley teaches English and Classics in the University of Cambridge, and was formerly Programme Director of the University's International Summer Schools in Shakespeare and English Literature. He has written extensively on Shakespeare, early modern and mediaeval literature, and in this series has written studies of The Tempest and Richard III, and also an introductory book, English Renaissance Drama: A Very Brief Introduction to Theatre and Theatres of Shakespeare's Time.
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