English Kings in William Shakespeare's histories
Chonicles differ from the tragedies and comedies. The reason is that in chronicles real persons are described and they, I mean, chronicles define social and political conflicts of the past. What captures attention, is that Shakespeare created dual images of all "his" monarchs and Henry IV as well. In the chronicle "Richard II", Henry Bolingbroke, future Henry IV, is the rioter. To free the country from tyranny of Richard II is the purpose of the Bolingbroke's rebellion. And it seems pretty noble. But the fact that the power was usurped depicts Henry IV not as a noble man. In the next chronicle, "Henry IV", the King seemed more presentable.
The next ruler is Henry V, and he is another double-imaged person. Before the reign, he lived an absolutely nonking lifestyle. The young heir had an image of a brigand; he was absolutely unsuitable for the kingship. However, at the end of a chronicle, Shakespeare rehabilitate the young man. It is clearly seen in the moment when Henry V is breaking up with his bandit.
The next play, that is devoted completely to King Henry V, describes the monarch as a very gifted man. Shakespeare's attitude towards this monarch is definitely positive. Almost every character in the chronicle marked the talent of Henry V. Summing up, we can easily observe the difference between 2 monarchs. One is surrounded with intrigues and dissatisfaction, another one is a national hero and a real leader.
The figure of the next ruler is contrasting with Henry V. Henry VI hated all the possible sins, did not take revenge and turned very disappointed when somebody mentioned God in a bad manner; he was kind and gracious, but Shakespeare enforced his religionism. Henry IV was so unsuccessful in governing the country due to being young, when he was acclaimed a king. He also might have been influenced be his experienced uncle, Duke of Gloucester, who was the practical ruler in England.
Undoubtedly, the King's wife, Margaret of Anjou, affected Henry VI the most. Shakespeare introduced another practical ruler - a strong woman, who committed her do's firstly by Henry VI, then she started acting on her own.
The last monarch is Richard III. Shakespear "awarded" Richard with unattractive appearance. According to the chronicle, he was shorter than an average man, hunchbacked, limped and his tight shoulder was higher than his left one. He (Richard III) pushed aside all his rivals, destroyed both parties, and like an ancient titan, swallowed all of his relatives and real and imaginary enemies in order to be the one and only ruler of his country. Obviously, Richard III, became another governor who did not manage to organize peaceful life in England.
Why England was ruled by inappropriate monarchs for almost 100 years? Maybe we should not trust Shakespeare, due to him not being a historian? Then what was the purpose of chronicles and are they trustworthy or not? Shakespeare wrote about events that happened in the past and that must never be brought back again. Developing this idea, his historical chronicles have a pragmatic function. The teach the new generation to avoid the mistakes of the past and show the consequences of these mistakes.
As for the authenticity of the plays, the abovementioned aim can be reached by purposely exaggerating some facts and characters. Of course, the historian who is interested in precise facts will not find Shakespearean chronicles useful, but the historian, who tries to immerse into the atmosphere of the century and understands the inner reasons of politic crisis in medieval England, would definitely find information in Shakespearean plays.
Д. А. Бабяк
|Опубликовано 27.11.2019 14:59 | Просмотров: 19 | Блог » RSS|