Although he would probably deny the charge, William Shakespeare the dramatist was also in many ways William Shakespeare the historian. Shakespeare was fascinated by power and its abuses, by the interplay of the personal and the political. His plays are a guide to how individuals react to the competing pressures of statecraft and personal ambition, fear and love. Indeed, our images of Richard III, Henry V, and Mark Antony are in large degree Shakespeare's. The book will not only consider these "cases" in the plays themselves, but also in the sources available to Shakespeare - usually Holinshed and Plutarch - the techniques Shakespeare used to transform history into drama (and to keep himself in the good graces of Queen Elizabeth and King James), and what modern historians have come to say in extending our knowledge (sometimes arriving at the same conclusions Shakespeare did). Each chapter includes a sidebar about notable film and stage productions and adaptations - for example, the Oscar-winning "A Man for All Seasons", which centres on Henry VIII.
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