Chronicle Plays Criticism: Historiography And Literature - Essay

John E. Curran, Jr. (essay date August 1999)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Curran, John E., Jr. “Geoffrey of Monmouth in Renaissance Drama: Imagining Non-History.” Modern Philology 97, no. 1 (1999): 1-20.

[In this essay, Curran reviews the story told in Shakespeare's King Lear as it appears in several chronicle plays, comparing Shakespeare's more poetic treatment of historical events and figures with those of more factual chronicle dramas.]

At the end of King Lear, Shakespeare makes a crucial decision that sheds much light on his intentions for the play: contrary to the story he would have read everywhere else, he has Regan and Goneril die without issue. Geoffrey of Monmouth's version, recounted in his...

(The entire section is 8912 words.)

Joan Parks (essay date spring 1999)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Parks, Joan. “History, Tragedy, and Truth in Christopher Marlowe's Edward II.SEL 39, no. 2 (spring 1999): 275-90.

[In this essay, Parks takes issue with the traditional notion that Edward II functioned to bring about the transition between the chronicle play and more modern history plays.]

Christopher Marlowe's Edward II is typically applauded as an aesthetic achievement, a history play that brings form and meaning to the incoherent material of its chronicle source by retelling the king's slightly dull, twenty-year reign as the fierce and deadly struggle of a few willful personalities. Within the development of Elizabethan drama,...

(The entire section is 6810 words.)

Peter Saccio (essay date 2000)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Saccio, Peter. “History and History Plays.” In Shakespeare's English Kings: History, Chronicle, and Drama, second edition, pp. 3-15. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

[In this essay, Saccio provides a background for the historical events addressed in Shakespeare's history plays—events that also comprise the subject matter of several other chronicle plays of the period.]

Methinks the truth should live from age to age.

Late in Shakespeare's Richard III, three royal ladies, the dowager queens Margaret and Elizabeth and the dowager duchess of York, sit upon the ground to catalogue their...

(The entire section is 4036 words.)