What is a key element of a chronicle or history play? What is a key element of a chronicle or history play? A.) The use of a historic character to develop the contemporary settingB.)The use of a limited number of characters C.)The use of a theme that stressed the patriotism of the times D.)The use of historical details to develop a modern character
None of these choices gets very close to a working definition of a Chronicle play, which is a dramatization of the “facts” as recorded in chronicles of the times, but with the unrecorded or only partially recorded personal events expanded or omitted or invented or warped or condensed or otherwise embellished to highlight the personalities and energies behind the recorded events and their causes, and to enhance the “drama” of history. The richest example comes from Shakespeare’s use of Holinshed’s Chronicles of the English monarchies (as well as his use of Froissart’s Chronicles, a French chronicler) to write his histories of the dynasties of Richard I through III and Henry I through VIII. Of the four choices above, (C) gets closest, in that Shakespeare’s plays subtly reflected Elizabeth I’s reign, avoiding direct criticism but paralleling some of her choices in the details Shakespeare chooses from Holinshed’s and Froissart’s chronicles, a parallel not unnoticed by his audience.
A contemporary modern parallel might be the musical 1776, which dramatizes the framing and signing of the American Constitution.
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