Sovereignty and Commonwealth in Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part 2

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Henry VI, Part 2, portrays the descent of England into civil war. Many factors contribute to this but the main narrative falls into two parts. The first depicts the downfall of the Duke of Gloucester, the Protector of the realm, and a principled guardian of the ‘commonwealth’. The second part of the play is concerned largely with revolt. This article focuses on play's political concerns. Henry VI, Part 2 presents not simply a raw struggle for power between competing forces but an equally compelling dispute over the meaning of sovereignty, that is, between different ways of conceptualizing its powers. In this respect, it serves as an excellent introduction to the ‘history play’ as a genre.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Tudor Drama
EditorsTom Betteridge, Greg Walker
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Pages619-634
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)978-0-19-956647-1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • Tudor theatre
  • plays
  • England
  • civil war
  • history play
  • sovereignty

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