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Shakespeare and the Earl of Warwick: the kingmaker in the Henry VI trilogy

Maskew, Helen Patricia (2009)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

This thesis is an appraisal of Shakespeare’s characterisation of Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick, colloquially known by his soubriquet ‘kingmaker’. Shakespeare’s reification of the reputations of characters from the regal history of late medieval England substantially maintains our interest in historical figures such as Warwick. By a process of dramatic and literary osmosis, Shakespeare infiltrates the national consciousness with such figures, refreshing individual and collective memory. The majority of the thesis is taken up with an examination of key scenes which I consider most successfully explore the roots of Warwick’s reputation. Finally, I will consider Warwick’s role in performance, though a discourse with three actors who have previously been assigned the role. I will examine their various approaches to the characterisation of the part. In the course of distilling Warwick’s clearly defined characteristics, Shakespeare examines fundamental questions of the delegation of right to rule and the accepted qualities required for effective leadership. In this context, the dramatist follows the course of events by which the Kingmaker achieved the agnomen which continues to define him as a symbol of medieval potency.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):McLuskie, Kathleen
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Shakespeare Institute
Subjects:PR English literature
PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
Institution:University of Birmingham
Library Catalogue:Check for printed version of this thesis
ID Code:448
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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