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King Edward III

3.2  ·  Rating Details ·  344 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
Edward III is a major addition to the Shakespearean canon, being included for the first time in an authoritative edition of Shakespeare's works. Melchiori claims that Shakespeare is the author of a significant part of the play, the extent of which is discussed in detail. The introduction explores the play's historical background and its relationship to the early cycle of h ...more
Paperback, 236 pages
Published March 28th 1998 by Cambridge University Press (first published 1592)
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Bill  Kerwin
Apr 04, 2012 Bill Kerwin rated it it was ok
If this play is indeed Shakespeare--and it seems at least a part of it is--it wins the award for worst history play, beating "King John" by at least a length and a half. Like "John," it is an episodic, shambling thing, but it has nothing half as good as the bastard Falconbridge to recommend it.

Some of the verse, particularly in the Countess of Salisbury sequence, possesses a grace uncharacteristic of the play, and imagery which is felicitous if not memorable. In addition, there is a scene in wh
Wow. In its own way this is worse than Titus Andronicus. Less gruesome, and, unlike "Titus," the characters have plausible motivations, but this is so stunningly incoherent that it deserves some sort of special recognition. Oh, and an "English king" play where we are cheering for the French? Edward III, much like Titus, has enough sons that he regards them as utterly disposable -- never an attractive characteristic in a father.
Aug 19, 2012 Phil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the Bard's apocrypha - the plays that didn't make the cut for the Folio, for whatever reason, and weren't captured in the early additions (as plays like Pericles and Two Noble Kinsmen were). Although now widely thought to be partly by Shakespeare, there's division of opinion about how much.

I find Shakespeare authorship arguments hard to fathom sometimes, because when you get past the not-always-reliable text analysis, it usually boils down to "if it's not great, let's say it's not by Shak
Jan 05, 2014 James rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't know there was a Shakespeare's Edward III? I didn't either. I read this because I have a long-held ambition, which may or may not come to fruition, to read all of the history plays. I thought perhaps I would do it this spring in conjunction with John Julius Norwich's historical background survey Shakespeare's Kings , which treats Edward III as canonical.
While reading this play, I thought a great deal about Arthur Phillips' superb 2011 novel, The Tragedy of Arthur , the second half o
Greg Kerestan
May 19, 2016 Greg Kerestan rated it it was ok
How much of "King Edward III" did Shakespeare actually write? There is no clear consensus, and it is only recently that critics and scholars even consider him a definitive author of even PART of this lumpy and misshapen play. If anything, Shakey appears to have contributed the seduction plotline, and possibly some of the monologues later in the play, but this is low-tier Shakespeare at best. Plots are seized on and then dropped, characters behave inconsistently, the poetry is second-rate and the ...more
Caidyn (BW Book Reviews)
Reading this, I definitely got the hint of Shakespeare throughout it. Especially in the war scenes. Very much like him. The relationship with the Countess was also very Shakespeare, although I didn't think it was needed in the play since it was mentioned then never discussed again. Edward III's reign is one I'm not terribly familiar with, but it's a good prelude to the conflict England had with France with territory up through Mary I's reign.

This edition is great. There are so many notes to help
Sep 23, 2014 Scott rated it it was ok
Shelves: drama
It did have its moments (some of the dialogue between Prince Edward and Audley was rather moving, as well as the scenes between King Edward and the Countess of Salisbury), but on the whole it was a bit disappointing. The emotional complexity of the first act or two is transformed into a sort of jingoistic pageant, with the good guys (England) triumphing over the bad guys (France). One of Shakespeare's weakest plays (assuming Shakespeare did write at least some of it, that is). It's not bad, but ...more
Okay, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this apocryphal play is at least partly by Shakespeare, but you'll have to wait until I have more free time to run some analyses on it for evidence. The plot is quite different in nature from the rambling and episodic style of 2H6, but I guess the date would be closer to H5, which seems like a good parallel. Onward to more apocrypha!
Darren Freebury-Jones
A collaboration with Thomas Kyd judging by stylistic analysis. The play, much like Henry VI Part One, is flawed in many respects, but Shakespeare's handling of the wooing scenes is mellifluous in its language.
Samuel Rooke
A play written in part by Shakespeare, but not in whole, “Edward III” is rarely found in published Shakespeare collections, even though theoretically it would slot nicely between “Richard II” at the start of the first Henriad histories cycle. But, like “King John”, which as a history chronologically before “Richard II” would hypothetically be a logical read before it, the lack of any real connection to the Henriad cycles means there’s no meaningful connections or reason to read them in sequence. ...more
Mar 06, 2017 Heather rated it it was ok
Glimpses of Venus and Adonis and Henry VI, but overall rambling. Best part was when King Edward told his court that he wasn't especially concerned about his son because he had a lot more sons.
Mar 09, 2017 Carol rated it liked it
I find the character of Edward III repugnant. He seeks to seduce a married woman; coerces her own father to solicit her on the king's behalf; changes his mind when he sees his son whose appearance reminds him of his wife, oh, and, right! he's married! A few minutes later, the king is again on the prowl.

Later in battle, Edward ignores his soldier's pleas to rescue the prince in a tight skirmish with these callous words: If not[if his son doesn't survive], what remedy? we have more sons than one,
Oliver Ho
Mar 10, 2017 Oliver Ho rated it liked it
A little dull after Richard III--the heroes and villains weren't as compelling. I suppose it's mainly about duty and honour, the heroes doing what they considered to be the right thing at the time, and the villains...not.
Aug 18, 2013 Lydia rated it liked it
Now I know I have read the Histories completely out of order, so perhaps if I had read this one in it's proper place (instead of very last, but I couldn't find it anywhere!) I would have appreciated it more. That said, I did like this play, it just isn't one of my favorites. Neither is it one that I loathe, it's fairly solidly in the middle.

Right, so the play itself focuses on the titular Edward III of England, during whose reign the Scots were revolting (no, not that kind of revolting, the rev

Tori Samar
Did Shakespeare even write this? There's a lot of evidence that says no, he didn't. Revised it, maybe. Who knows? Boo. Anyway, the King Edward/Countess storyline was fascinating, but not much else.
Mar 03, 2015 David rated it it was ok
History very interesting, King Edward change history with the English invasion at Calais in 1355. This time King Edward only 20 or maybe even only 19 year old but lead major battle. This is why it is one important king in Europe history and many great authors write about him. He in from top 10 important kings of Europe history. The books says that the king died on 21 June but I read from other authors it was 4th June and some wrote 7th June, not sure what is more historic accurate. I like King E ...more
May 27, 2016 Barbara rated it it was ok
I feel incredibly arrogant giving a Shakespeare play a 2. But it has only recently been added to the canon and I have to wonder. While some of the prose is lyrical and does soar (only once in a while), the events and organization are bumpy. First part is about a king's passion for the "other woman," who then disappears into history. The Second part is about war. Perhaps the moral of the story is that a king must set aside personal desire and focus on war? Anyway, I just saw it performed this wee ...more
Jun 04, 2013 Charles rated it really liked it
Shelves: play, read-in-13
I read this once before in The Disputed Plays... It is a awkward play in that there is no dialogue as such. All the characters make speeches. It must have made performance very stilted. I'm not wonkish enough to have an expert opinion on the play's authorship. I accept it's S's. Acts I and II crackle with sexual tension and would be exciting to perform. The rest of the play loses considerable energy and would be hard to keep an audience engaged in, although there are enough speeches to stoke up ...more
Mike Jensen
Jan 01, 2016 Mike Jensen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very strange play. The Shakespeare has a wonderful lyricism and play of language at the service of witty repartee and an ethical discussion. The rest, Marlowe has been suggested and discredited as the author, Thomas Kyd has been suggested and not yet discredited in the scholarship I have seen, is about war. The, tentatively, Kyd portion is very good and competent work. The Shakespeare portions, however, are long, comprising a lot of this play. The failure of the two parts to mesh makes this se ...more
Nov 19, 2015 Craig rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2.5 to 3. Simple yes the play pushes not your mind. yet are there some well placed shots? Yes. Mention of the vulning pelican and it's accompanying motto, "Quod in te est, prome" to bring forth what is in you amply harks to the play in it's starker moments. Along with a decent statement about death and fear elucidated by Audley, this work fleshed out promises more than the wilted leaf grasping crafts and wiles written for more than we might want or guess that we think we might need.
It was not what I expected. Although, to be fair to Billy, what I was expecting was a horrible Pericles-esque thing (I did not like Pericles). This was surprisingly good--I mean, don't get me wrong, it's not Hamlet or Henry VI pt. 3 good. But it's good.

You can read all of my feelings in my full review, at
Steve Hemmeke
Apr 09, 2016 Steve Hemmeke rated it it was ok
A play published anonymously, and only recently seen as written by Shakespeare. So it isn't in most of the collected works of Shakespeare!

This felt in my amateur judgment like an early nationalistic piece. The King begins badly, by pursuing adultery, but repents before following through. Then he fights France and conquers, sending his son the prince into battle to win his spurs. He does. End of story.

This play doesn't have the depth of most other WS plays.
Nicholas Whyte
"[return][return]It's actually a play of two very distinct halves. The first two acts concern Edward III's attempts to seduce the Countess of Salisbury, which she successfully repulses; Acts III-V cover the Black Prince's campaigns in France, including the Battle of Cr
May 22, 2016 David rated it it was ok
Published anonymously in 1595, it wasn't ascribed to Shakespeare until the mid 1600s. Current scholarship attributes scenes 2, 3, 12 and 13 as possibly his, and the rest to unknown authors. Most of it is sub-mediocre, and though Edward III was a long-lived important historical figure, the story here of English troops invading France is done better by Shakespeare in other plays.
Apr 04, 2012 Rozonda rated it really liked it
I'm ready to believe this play is by Shakespeare; it is nicely readable with moments of grand poetry echoing other plays by his (there is a despised prophecy about a battle defeat, similar to the one in Macbeth, for example)Some parts of the play are a bit weak but even they echo the weak parts of early plays like Henry VI. Beautiful and worthy of being in the canon.
Mike Jensen
Sep 14, 2012 Mike Jensen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, this is a stupid edition of the play that tries and fails to make the case that Shakespeare was the sole author. I'd feel embarrassed for editor and essayist Eric Sams, except that he is so damn annoying. He has also passed away, and so he is past embarrassment. Read this edition for the play if you must, but you can do better.
David Kowalski
Jul 22, 2016 David Kowalski rated it really liked it
Loved this. What an unexpected surprise. I read this with Norwich's Shakespeare's Kings, which was a brilliant adjunct and gave the context. It's probably Shakespeare and buds but authorship aside I found the poetry beautiful and despite the episode nature of the structure I enjoyed it immensely.
Robert Zaslavsky
Jan 23, 2016 Robert Zaslavsky rated it liked it
All the argumentation of the editor notwithstanding, this does not seem like Shakespeare's work to me. The verse is flat and lacks the texture that one finds in the canonical works. In a way, it seems like the Elizabethan equivalent of Shakespeare for Dummies.
Dec 12, 2016 Rhonda rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. Liked parts of it, didn't care for others.
Mar 26, 2015 Haley rated it it was ok
This play is ostensibly by Shakespeare; the Oxford edition asserts that he wrote 3 of the 18 scenes. I just couldn't get into it, personally.
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William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been tr ...more
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