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William Shakespeare
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Did the Tudors influence Shakespeare?

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message 1: by Liz (new)

Liz Cole Several of Shakespeare's plays I have read recently include haunting thematic echoes of the events of the Tudor's reign. Perhaps the best example I have is in the first three acts of The Winter's Tale: King Leontes suspects his wife Hermione has been unfaithful to him, expels her from his court and supposedly kills her, and declares her newborn daughter not his and sends her away. To me, I see this as a retelling of Anne Boylen's final days. I'll be honest, it is kind of a stretch from what actually happened, and The Winter's Tale was actually written after Elizabeth I's death, but Shakespeare would have wanted to stick with the official interpretation of events around Elizabeth's birth and label Anne and Elizabeth both as innocent victims. I've seen more Tudor-era issues in other plays. Legitimacy and illegitimacy is a big one, and it crops up in King Lear, King John, and Richard III, but I'm still working on the details of what other similarities could be in those plays.

What do you think? There is substantial evidence that Shakespeare was grappling with contemporary issues. Was he also retelling recent events in his plays?


message 2: by Mary (new)

Mary | 69 comments I believe Shakespeare adhered closedly to the political winds of his time. If he wanted his plays produced, he had to tell them from the politically correct point of view. He may have placed a few barbs or commentary within the plays, but overall the plays were as the government approved, especially the histories!


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 1928 comments "Know you not I am Richard II?" - Elizabeth Tudor


message 4: by happy (last edited Mar 13, 2013 02:48AM) (new)

happy (happyone) | 106 comments If you believe Mark Anderson, author of Shakespeare by Another Name: The Life of Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, the Man Who Was Shakespeare, the Shakespeare plays are all about contempory politics (Elizabeth's Court)and are also very autobiographical.

As an aside I thought he made a decent case that De Vere could have been the Bard, but that is for a different thread :)


message 5: by Denise (new)

Denise (dulcinea3) | 88 comments Shakespeare was very pro-Tudor (he knew which side the bread was buttered on), and his play of Richard III is one of the main reasons that many people think of Richard as a monster. He stuck to the account of Richard's character that the Tudors wanted history to remember, not really an accurate portrayal.


message 6: by Liz (new)

Liz Cole It's true that the political backdrop needs to be taken into account, but what about in a more literary sense (ie themes)?


message 7: by Richard (new)

Richard Lee (histnovel) I just read a fascinating historical novel which has as one of its themes the ways in which plays were used politically. Shakespeare is a character in the book, and the protagonist is a friend and fight choreographer for him. The book addresses a number of the themes mentioned above.

Shakespeare's Rebel by C.C. Humphreys


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