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Shakespeare's Early History PlaysFrom Chronicle to Stage$
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Dominique Goy-Blanquet

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780198119876

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198119876.001.0001

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National Unity and Military Honour

National Unity and Military Honour

(p.19) 1 National Unity and Military Honour
Shakespeare's Early History Plays

Dominique Goy-Blanquet

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the continuity of historical facts and characters, development of themes and images, and the dramatic links tying present to past and future events in Henry VI and Richard III. It presents a brief description of the events in Shakespeare's trilogy. It also shows a genealogy of Henry VI and examines its sources. It evaluates the chronology of events in the trilogy as well as the conflicts between its sources brought by the complex sequence of events. It argues that a reading of the chronicles shows how close the playwright kept to his material, and how independent he was in rearranging facts, compressing or expanding details, and most of all, infusing historical episodes with meanings his sources had never imagined. It discusses that thematic coherence showed the need for readjustments of the original material; stage necessities explain a number of others.

Keywords:   trilogy, Henry VI, Richard III, genealogy, chronology

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