• Shakespeare’s Henry VI plays: a story of two dynasties or social commentary on a nation? Discuss with reference to Shakespeare’s texts and the BBC’s television productions from 1983 and 2016.

    Author(s):
    Andrea Smith (see profile)
    Date:
    2018
    Subject(s):
    Great Britain, History, Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616, Literature--Adaptations, Television
    Item Type:
    Dissertation
    Institution:
    Open University
    Tag(s):
    bbc, Adaptation, British history, Shakespeare, Shakespeare in adaptation
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/nmwn-kv46
    Abstract:
    William Shakespeare’s three Henry VI plays are often perceived as solely being about the Wars of the Roses. The texts, in particular 3 Henry VI, do follow the dynastic progression that leads to the Wars of the Roses, but their complexity means they are not just a story of the English line of succession. The presentation of the characters provides a social commentary, critiquing them both directly and indirectly. In the 1983 television productions, part of the BBC Television Shakespeare series, the social commentary is undercut by buffoonish humour, although the director was keen to alert viewers to the horrors of war. The 2016 versions, presented under the banner of The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses, brought the dynastic plot to the fore. By cutting subsidiary characters and storylines, it also vastly reduced the social commentary. However the director uses the texts to raise awareness of the impact of war, this time on the individual. In conclusion, the Henry VI plays provide both social commentary and a story of two dynasties, but the way they do this varies, depending on the way they are presented.
    Notes:
    Masters of Arts in English, awarded with Distinction.
    Metadata:
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    4 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved

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