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Is Edward II a history play?

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nilanjan | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 15, 2010 at 2:01 PM via web

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Is Edward II a history play?

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lynnebh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted February 15, 2010 at 11:13 PM (Answer #1)

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Edward II is a Renaissance play. It was written by Christopher Marlowe around 1593 (some debate about this). The play chronicles the life and reign of Edward II of England. Edward ruled England from 1307 until 1327, when he was forced to abdicate the throne. Edward was one of the Plantaganet kings of England. The story of his life is full of intrigue and drama. He was either homosexual or bisexual and paid more attention to his male "favorites" than to his wife, Isabella of France. Eventually, Isabella and her son formed an alliance with France and invaded England. In the end, Parliament took over and forced Edward to give up the throne due to incompetence.

Have you ever seen the movie Braveheart? If so, Edward II is portrayed as an effiminate homosexual who struggles against William Wallace and Robert the Bruce of Scotland. A great deal of Edward's reign was spent fighting the Scots and this story is chronicled in Braveheart. The Scots eventually won their freedom from England. You may remember the famous scene in the movie where William Wallace, being drawn and quartered, yells "FREEDOM!"

I'm not really sure what you are asking for here, but I am assuming you are wanting to know the historical background of the play. Edward II is considered to be one of the worst of the English kings.

You can read more about the background here on eNotes. There are two historical sites to read about Edward II below.

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drrb | College Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted February 15, 2010 at 11:27 PM (Answer #2)

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In the rise of the English chronicle plays , Marlowe'd Edward II stands out conspicuously . It is a history play in the purest form. It is found to be a great improvement upon the previous chronicle plays of England. It is faithful study of history with a penetrating vision for the grandeur  of a true tragedy. It is history well preserved  and well dramatised  and well  transformed  into a poetic  tragedy.  Marlowe has covered a quite long  period of history  from the accession of Edward  II in 1307 to the execution of Mortimer in 1330. The history  of those 23 years contains certainly  profuse material to indicate both the unsettled  political state in England and the irony  of English kinship. The historical materials treated in the play are enough to bring about distinctly the tussle for the monarchial authority and the act of reckless cruelty to win or retain this. The historical aspect of the play reposes on the political scenario of England  in the early decades  of the fourteenth century. The dramatic action presents the civil war between the King and the barons led by younger Mortimer. This is a clear deviation from the source material as in the chronicle it is the Elder Mortimer along with Lancaster who lead the revolt against the king. The character of Isabella is also more individualised than it is in the historical source

 

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