Sunday, January 12, 2014

#365 Shakespeare - King Henry VI, Part 1

Finished the King Henry the Sixth, part one in my 365 days of Shakespeare challenge.  I always had a really, really hard time with Shakespeare in high school, so this has been much easier than I thought.  The language is the hardest part for me, but I'm getting use to it. One play down and thirty-six more to go...thank you sparknotes and Wikipedia!

King Henry VI, part was written around 1592 during the reign of Elizabeth I.  It is a history play and focuses on the time period shortly after the death of Henry V in 1422.  Part one covers the origins of the War of the Roses, describing England's lose of territories to France, Joan of Arc, and Henry VI's marriage to Margaret of Anjou.  My first introduction to the War of the Roses was reading Philippa Gregory's Cousin's War Series that tells the story of the women behind the conflict of the house of Lancaster and the house of York for the crown of English.  One of the novels, Lady of the Rivers includes the Duke of Bedford's wife, Jacquetta, Joan of Arc, young King Henry VI, among others.  It was really interesting to see a different perspective on this time period.    Major themes include the death of chivalry, multiple conflicts, and the role of untraditional women.  Of even more interest was that even though the play was written over 170 years after the event took place, the politics of the time period were still very influential.  A number of years later, but not nearly as long as writing about this era today.  The three plays of King Henry VI are thought to be the first plays based on recent essence, the first historical fiction written recent English history.

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