4. Plays of the 1590s
- Stanley Wells
During the first decade of Shakespeare’s career he wrote a series of closely inter-related plays based on English history drawing heavily on Holinshed’s Chronicles and other accounts. These plays show a serious concern with political problems, with the responsibilities of a king, his relationship with the people, the need for national unity, and the relationship between national welfare and self-interest. ‘Plays of the 1590s’ introduces each of these plays, sketching its origins, stories, and themes. It also touches on aspects of Shakespeare’s techniques and artistry. The plays considered are Henry VI (Parts One to Three), Richard III, Titus Andronicus, Romeo and Juliet, Richard II, Henry IV,Henry V, Edward III, and King John.