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ENGL401: Shakespeare

Unit 4: Historical Plays   Though the first historical play we will read, Richard III, was one of Shakespeare’s earliest plays, it features remarkable rhetorical talent and brilliant characterization.  Shakespeare would go on to write a number of rich historical plays (including Henry V), which together explore the decline of feudal England and the rise of the modern nation-state.  In this unit, we will continue our project of closely reading Shakespeare’s most famous plays, attempting to link these plays to those we have already read in terms of form, style, and theme.

Unit 4 Time Advisory
This unit will take you 20.5 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 4.1: 9 hours

☐    Subunit 4.1.1: 6 hours

☐    Subunit 4.1.2: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 4.1.3: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 4.2: 11.5 hours

☐    Subunit 4.2.1: 7 hours

☐    Subunit 4.2.2: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 4.2.3: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 4.2.4: 1.5 hours

Unit4 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Describe and identify Shakespearean history plays.
  • List the major attributes of Shakespearean historical drama and differentiate this genre from Shakespearean tragedy and comedy.
  • Account for both Shakespeare’s Richard III and Henry V in terms of each play’s respective moral vision(s), debts to English history, enactment and staging of drama, as well as issues of English war and church.

4.1 Richard III   4.1.1 Reading Richard III   - Reading: The Saylor Foundation's version of William Shakespeare’s Richard III Link:  The Saylor Foundation's version of William Shakespeare’s Richard III (PDF)
 
Also available in:
HTML
eText format on the Kindle (Free)
ePub format on Google Books
 
Instructions:  Please read Shakespeare’s play.  If you can find a filmic adaptation of this play at a movie store or online, please view it.
  
Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

4.1.2 Overview of the Play’s Construction and Its Place in the First Tetralogy   - Reading: BBC.com’s Historical Figures: Richard III (1452—1485) Link:  BBC.com’s Historical Figures: Richard III (1452—1485) (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Please scroll down and read the entirety of BBC.com’s Historical Figures (Richard III) for an introduction to the historical figure dramatized by Shakespeare.  
   
About the link:  BBC.com has made available online this article on Richard III through their “Historical Figures” series.  
 
Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.1.3 Shakespeare’s Moral Vision of English History in Richard III   - Reading: Malaspina University-College: Dr. Ian Johnston’s “Lecture on Shakespeare's Transformation of Medieval Tragedy and an Introduction to Richard III” Link:  Malaspina University-College: Dr. Ian Johnston’s “Lecture on Shakespeare's Transformation of Medieval Tragedy and an Introduction to Richard III” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Please scroll down and read the entirety of Dr. Johnston’s lecture on Shakespeare’s moral vision of English history and introduction to this play.  
   
About the link:  Dr. Johnston’s lecture has been made available online through the website of Vancouver Island University.   
 
Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.2 Henry V   4.2.1 Historical Review: Who Was Henry V?   - Reading: The Saylor Foundation's version of William Shakespeare’s Henry V and The University of Puget Sound: Background Information on Henry V Links: The Saylor Foundation's version of William Shakespeare’s Henry V (PDF) and The University of Puget Sound: Background Information on Henry V (HTML)
 
Also available in: (Shakespeare)
HTML
ePub format on Google Books
 
Instructions:  Please read Shakespeare’s play as well as the entirety of The University of Puget Sound’s background information on Henry V.  If you can find a filmic adaptation of this play at a movie store or online, please view it. 
 
About the links: The University of Puget Sound has made this webpage available through the university’s website.  
 
Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyrights and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

4.2.2 Placing Henry V in Shakespeare’s Oeuvre of History Plays   - Reading: Vancouver Island University: Dr. Ian Johnston’s “The Ironies of Success in Politics: An Introduction to Shakespeare's Henry V” Link:  Vancouver Island University: Dr. Ian Johnston’s “The Ironies of Success in Politics: An Introduction to Shakespeare's Henry V” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Please scroll down and read the entirety of Dr. Johnston’s essay contextualizing this play in both the context of English history as well as in the trajectory of Shakespeare’s history plays.  
   
About the link:  Dr. Johnston has made this webpage available through his departmental website at Vancouver Island University.  
 
Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.2.3 War and Church in Henry V   - Reading: Cal Poly University (San Luis Obispo): Steven Marx’s “Holy War in Henry V” Link:  Cal Poly University (San Luis Obispo): Dr. Steven Marx’s “Holy War in Henry V” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Please scroll down and read the entirety of Marx’s essay on religious war in Shakespeare’s play.  What is the relationship between church and state in this play?  Do you agree with Marx’s analysis of this relationship based on your reading of his essay?  Why or why not?  
   
About the link:  Dr. Steven Marx, of Cal Poly University (San Luis Obispo), has provided this article online through his university website.  
 
Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

4.2.4 Study Questions for Henry V   - Reading: California Polytechnic State University: Dr. Debora B. Schwartz’s “Henry V: Study Questions” Link:  California Polytechnic State University: Dr. Debora B. Schwartz’s “Henry V: Study Questions” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  Please scroll down, read, and draft answers to the questions provided by Dr. Schwartz concerning this play.  
   
About the link:  Dr. Schwartz has made this webpage available through her departmental website at California Polytechnic State University.  
 
Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.