Tag Archives: Shakespeare’s sources

The Merry Wives of Windsor

Continuing my series on Shakespeare’s sources we turn our attention to one of Shakespeare more original plays, The Merry Wives of Windsor. This story in which the fat knight Falstaff woos two married ladies simultaneously, gets discovered by them and subsequently punished is the only one of Shakespeare’s plays to be set in contemporary England. […]

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Shakespeare’s Sources – The Comedy of Errors

Continuing my series on Shakespeare’s sources, today I am going to look at one of Shakespeare’s lighter plays The Comedy of Errors. This play about the separation and eventual reunion of two pairs of twins (a ‘pair’ of masters and their servants) is full of hilarious moments of mistaken identity as unbeknown to them the […]

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Shakespeare’s Sources – Measure for Measure

Continuing my series of blogs about Shakespeare’s sources for his plays, we now take a look at one which is currently being staged at the RSC, Measure for Measure. You may recall that in this story the corrupt Angelo offers the innocent Isabella a chance to save her brother’s life if she will sleep with […]

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Shakespeare’s sources – Henry VIII

Continuing my series on Shakespeare’s sources I am going to take a brief look at Henry VIII. Henry VIII was a late play of Shakespeare’s and many think it was written in collaboration with John Fletcher. Typically it borrows heavily from Holinshed and in fact some people have suggested that the lack of interventions into […]

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Shakespeare’s sources – Henry VI part 3

Having looked at Henry VI parts one and two in my last two blogs it is time now to consider part three. As with the previous two parts Shakespeare’s primary sources for part three were Edward Hall’s The Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Families of Lancaster and York (1548) and Raphael Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland (1587). Holinshed […]

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Shakespeare’s Sources – Henry VI part 2

Following on from last week’s blog which looked at Shakespeare’s sources for Henry VI part 1, I am going to move on to part 2. Again Shakespeare uses two historical sources Holinshed’s Chronicles and Edward Hall’s  The Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Families of Lancaster and York. Shakespeare selects details which suit him […]

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Shakespeare’s Sources – Henry IV part ii

Continuing from last week’s blog about Henry IV part 1 and Henry’s crusade this week we move into the next play, Henry IV part 2, but keep an eye on the theme of crusades. Here we see Henry more established in his reign planning, quite cold heartedly to use the crusade as a way “to […]

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Shakespeare’s Sources – Henry IV – part one

Like most of Shakespeare’s plays, Henry IV has a number of different sources including  Holinshed’s Chronicles, Samuel Daniels’ The civil war between the houses of York and Lancaster and Machiavelli’s The Prince. But in this blog I am going to take a quick look at the idea of crusade and penance. At the very beginning […]

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Shakespeare’s sources – Cymbeline

This week I turn my attention to Shakespeare’s Cymbeline. This  comedy is based on a real king written about by Holinshed and also by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his  “The history of the kings of Britain”.  By all accounts Cymbeline was a fair and just king, although he does not appear to have and any […]

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