Shakespeare: odd-job man for the Tudors?_
The Elizabethan era named by the Tudor Queen Elisabeth (1558-1603) is known as one of the most attractive epochs in English history. This time combined the exotic way of figures, costumes, habits and a refreshing sensuality connected with both the individual and the collective view of community. That epoch did not only exist as historical reality but moreover as a myth- containing first of all the imagination of the Tudor dynasty. "Merry Old England"- Harmony and peace below a Queen, a land full of life-spirit, , celebrating and playing: England as such.
The real Tudor age started with Henry Tudor, a Lancastrian , who defeated King Richard III in the battle of Bosworth. As a consequence the Wars of the Roses came to an end..
Historically the mystery about the Tudor myth firstly was "founded" by chronicle writers. This aspect expresses the sight of many different critics, e.g.: Thomas More, Holinshed or Vergil. They all described King Richard as a brutally, cruel person full of villainy. The very famous playwright William Shakespeare was also fascinated by this person’s wicked character, so that he wrote a brilliant play about him and his social surrounding. However, such considerations only modify a dramatic traditions from which emerges Shakespeare’s paradoxical villain-his Richard III is at ones evil and comical, hypocritical and candid, demonic and human . In brief , Shakespeare’s Richard is a complex literary character, not intended to represent the actual King Richard III. He himself, as king of England and the myth surrounding him had already become separated in the minds of Shakespeare’s contemporaries. His drama releases the spectators after Richmond's final speech into the mystery of this new beginning era. The author put a special emphasis on this theme he even endowed the audience with a vitality which seemed to be quiet astonishing. One will never be able to solve the "problem" whether Shakespeare really wanted to justify the Tudor dynasty. As a fact in the medieval age aristocrats usually hired playwrights for their private amusement therefore a critic of Shakespeare's drama could have claimed that he in a way was forced to try to justify this predominant myth. His intention and his decision was at least a result of social and financial acceptance in England. Consequently, the Queen's favor or the support of the Tudors might have been reasons for Shakespeare's choice. There is no doubt that Elizabethan history plays, including Shakespeare Richard III , were never intended as strictly historical documents. Most importantly, it was made clear that Shakespeare’s so-called history-plays undoubtedly represent a genre of dramatic literature. A drama leaves a more intensive effect for the posterity than facts which base on historical reality. Shakespeare was a creative dramatist but never an historian but the question of historical accuracy in Richard III persists. Some even had the Ricardian love-hate attitude towards the play "as very good Shakespeare, but very bad history."
|HOMEPAGE||Shakespeare's 'Richard III'|
|PSYCHOLOGICAL APPROACH||Richard III and women|
|Richard III the multi-faced villain|
|Physical and psychological deformity|
|Richard's family background|
|HISTORICAL APPROACH||Richard III in the mirror of centuries|
|Justification of Tudor dynasty?|
|History in Shakespeare's Richard III|
|Guilty or not guilty?|
|POLITICAL APPROACH||Richard III - a modern dictator?|
|Richard III the Machiavellian villain?|
by Team 26314 of Marienschule Opladen, Germany