⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Revenge Theme In Hamlet

Saturday, August 14, 2021 4:45:29 PM

Revenge Theme In Hamlet



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The Theme of Revenge in Hamlet

Then enter the King, Clarence and Gloucester and the rest, and make a great shout, and cry "For York, for York", and then the Queen is taken, and the Prince and Oxford and Somerset, and then sound and enter all again. Taking all of these differences into account, the argument is that "Shakespeare reconceived the action, toning down the sound and fury, and thereby altering the overall effect and meaning of 3 Henry VI as a play whose attitude to war is more rueful. Another aspect of the play which has provoked critical disagreement is the character of Montague. Montague duly leaves, and when Warwick returns in Act 2, Scene 1, he is accompanied by a character called Montague, but who he introduces as an apparently new character; " As such, the character of Montague seems to represent two separate historical personages in the play, and whilst this is not unusual in Shakespearean histories, the manner of the dual representation is.

The same is true of Somerset in 3 Henry VI ; as a character , he is always the same person. Montague however, seems to represent two different people at different times in the play; i. In 3 Henry VI , at 1. Similarly, at 1. If Montague here represents Salisbury, their reference to one another as 'brother' makes sense, as Salisbury was York's brother-in-law York was married to Salisbury's sister, Cecily Neville. However, if Montague here represents John Neville, his and York's references to one another as 'brother' are inaccurate. Subsequently, at 2. As such, in 1. Salisbury , but from that point forward, after his re-introduction in Act 2, he seems to represent Salisbury's son and Warwick's younger brother, John Neville.

Salisbury is a major character in 2 Henry VI , as he is in both Hall and Holinshed's chronicles, and in reality, as outlined in the chronicles, he was killed at Pontefract in having been captured by Margaret at the Battle of Wakefield depicted in 1. In True Tragedy which treats the character of Montague as one consistent persona throughout the play , Salisbury's death is reported by Richard;. Thy noble father in the thickest throngs, Cried full for Warwick, his thrice valiant son, Until with thousand swords he was beset, And many wounds made in his aged breast, As he tottering sat upon his steed, He waft his hand to me and cried aloud: 'Richard, commend me to my valiant son', And still he cried 'Warwick revenge my death', And with those words he tumbled off his horse, And so the noble Salisbury gave up the ghost.

In the corresponding scene in 3 Henry VI however, Richard reports the death of another of Warwick's brothers, Thomas Neville , who never features as a character in any of the Henry VI plays;. Thy brother's blood the thirsty earth hath drunk, Broached with the steely point of Clifford's lance, Until with thousand swords he was beset, And in the very pangs of death he cried, Like to a dismal clangor heard from afar 'Warwick revenge, brother, revenge my death.

It is generally agreed amongst critics that the differences between these two passages represents authorial revision as opposed to faulty reporting, [43] leading one to ask the question of why Shakespeare removed the references to Salisbury, and why he wrote the preceding lines where Warwick re-introduces Montague as his brother. There is no definitive answer to this question, nor is there any answer to the question of why Shakespeare changed the character's name from Salisbury to Montague and then, after Act 1, equated him with another personage entirely.

Obviously, such a character discrepancy can create a problem for productions of the play. As an example of one way in which productions can resolve the problem, in Act 1, Scene 1 of the BBC Shakespeare adaptation, [44] Montague is not present in either the persona of Salisbury or that of John Neville. As a character, Montague is then introduced in Act 1, Scene 2, played by Michael Byrne as he is for the rest of the production. His first line in this scene however, "But I have reasons strong and forcible" l. Later, when York is giving his men instructions, his order to Montague, "Brother, thou shalt to London presently" l. John Neville. How the adaptation handles the report of the death of Warwick and Montague's brother Thomas Neville in Act 2, Scene 3 is also worth noting.

The text from 3 Henry VI reporting the death of Neville is used, but it is altered so as the report becomes about Salisbury;. Thy father's blood the thirsty earth hath drunk, Broached with the steely point of Clifford's lance, Until with thousand swords he was beset, And in the very pangs of death he cried, Like to a dismal clangor heard from afar 'Warwick revenge, son , revenge my death. From this point forward, the character remains consistent as Warwick's brother, and there is no further alteration of the text.

As such, in this adaptation, the character is presented as one figure throughout — that of John Neville, Warwick's brother, Salisbury's son and York's cousin, and any lines which seemingly contradict that have been changed accordingly. Language has an extremely important role throughout the play, especially in terms of repetition. Several motifs , words and allusions occur time and again, serving to contrast characters and situations, and to foreground certain important themes. Perhaps the most obvious recurring linguistic motif in the play is that of state power as specifically represented by the crown and the throne.

Both words occur multiple times throughout the play. He then introduces the word "crown"; "Resolve thee Richard, claim the English crown" l. During the subsequent debate over legitimacy , Exeter tells York " Thy father was a traitor to the crown" l. Also during the debate, Henry asks York, "And shall I stand, and thou sit in my throne? York next asks Henry, "Will you we show our title to the crown? As the debate reaches an impasse , Richard urges York, "Father, tear the crown from the usurper's head" l. Henry refuses to yield however, declaring "Think'st thou that I will leave my kingly throne? Subsequently, during the debate about the conflict between Henry Bolingbrook and Richard II, York asks Exeter if Richard's abdication "was prejudicial to his crown?

York then demands that Henry "Confirm the crown to me and to mine heirs" l. Although not all subsequent scenes are as heavily saturated with references to monarchical power as is the opening scene, the imagery does recur throughout the play. Also significant is the torture of York in Act 1, Scene 4, where he is forced to wear a paper crown, whilst Margaret alludes to both the real crown and the throne numerous times;. Ay, marry sir, now looks he like a King. Ay, this is he that took King Henry's chair, And this is he was his adopted heir. But how is it, that great Plantagenet Is crowned so soon and broke his solemn oath? As I bethink me, you should not be king, Till our King Henry had shook hands with death. And will you pale your head in Henry's glory And rob his temples of the diadem Now in his Life, against your holy oath?

O 'tis a fault too too unpardonable. Off with the crown; and with the crown, his head, And whilest we breath, take time to do him dead. Later, York takes off the crown and throws it at Margaret, exclaiming "There, take the crown, and with the crown my curse" l. Another example of language foregrounding authority by references to the crown and throne is found in Act 2, Scene 1, as Edward laments the death of his father; "His dukedom and his chair with me is left" l. Edward then says to Margaret, "You that are king, though he do wear the crown" 2. Later, in Act 2, Scene 6, when Edward is blaming Margaret for the civil war, he says to Henry that if she hadn't provoked the House of York "thou this day hadst kept thy chair in peace" l.

He then says to Warwick, "For in thy shoulder do I build my seat" l. In Act 3, Scene 1, Henry then debates with the gamekeepers the importance of the crown to the role of kingship;. HENRY My crown is in my heart, not on my head, Not decked with diamonds and Indian stones , Nor to be seen: my crown is called content, A crown it is that seldom kings enjoy.

I'll make my heaven to dream upon the crown, And whiles I live t'account this world but hell Until my misshaped trunk that bears this head Be round impaled with a glorious crown. And yet I know not how to get the crown. In Act 3, Scene 3, after Warwick has joined the Lancastrians, he vows to Margaret "to force the tyrant from his seat by war" l. Another recurring motif is animal imagery, particularly, bird imagery. The first example is in Act 1, Scene 1, when Warwick says "[No-one] dares stir a wing if Warwick shake his bells" l. After the news of York's death has reached them, Richard encourages Edward to take York's place; "If thou be that princely eagle's bird" 2.

When Clifford is urging Henry to protect the Prince's birthright, he attempts to illustrate to Henry that doing the right thing for his children should be a natural course of action; "Doves will peck in safeguard of their brood" 2. Bird imagery continues to be used contemptuously in France, where Margaret says of Edward and Warwick, "both of you are birds of selfsame feather" 3. Another commonly recurring animal motif is that of lambs and wolves. After being captured by the Lancastrians, York then refer to Margaret as "She-wolf of France, but worse than wolves of France" 1. Prior to the battle of Barnet, Margaret rallies her troops by claiming Edward has destroyed the country and usurped the throne, then pointing out "And yonder is the wolf that makes this spoil" 5.

A third recurring image is that of the lion. This is introduced by Rutland in Act 1, Scene 3; "So looks the pent-up lion o'er the wretch" l. As Clifford chastises Henry for disinheriting Prince Edward, he asks "To whom do lions cast their gentle looks? Other animals referred to in the play include dogs 1. One of the most obvious themes in the play is revenge, which is cited numerous times by various different characters as the driving force for their actions. At different points in the play, Henry, Northumberland, Westmorland, Clifford, Richard, Edward and Warwick all cite a desire for revenge as a major factor in guiding their decisions, and revenge becomes a shared objective between both sides of the conflict, as each seek to redress the apparent wrongs perpetrated by the other; "In 3 Henry VI , we witness the final degradation of chivalry : this play contains some of the most horrific scenes in the canon as England's warlords sacrifice honour to a remorseless ethic of revenge.

The theme of revenge is introduced in the opening scene. Northumberland responds to this with "If I be not, heavens be revenged on me" 1. Later, after Henry has resigned the crown to the House of York and has been abandoned by Clifford, Westmorland and Northumberland, Exeter explains, "They seek revenge and therefore shall not yield" 1. And more than so, my father " 3.

Revenge, however, is not confined to the Lancastrians. Upon learning of the death of his father, Richard is almost overwhelmed with a manic thirst for vengeance;. I cannot weep, for all my body's moisture Scarce serves to quench my furnace-burning heart, Nor can my tongue unload my heart's great burden, For selfsame wind that I should speak withal Is kindling coals that fires all my breast And burns me up with flames that tears would quench. To weep is to make less the depth of grief; Tears then for babes, blows and revenge for me. Richard, I bear thy name, I'll venge thy death, Or die renown'd by attempting it. During his time in France, Warwick again cites revenge as part of his reason for joining the Lancastrians; "Did I let pass th'abuse done to my niece?

It is perhaps Warwick who sums up the revenge ethic of the play; in Act 2, Scene 6, upon finding Clifford's body, Warwick orders that Clifford's head replace York's at the gates of the city, declaring "Measure for measure must be answer'd" l. Of all the characters who advocate revenge however, Clifford is by far the most passionate. His obsession with revenge for the death of his father takes root before the play even begins, in the penultimate scene of 2 Henry VI ;. Wast thou ordained, dear father, To lose thy youth in peace, and to achieve The silver livery of advis'd age, And in thy reverence and thy chair-days, thus To die in ruffian battle?

Even at this sight My heart is turned to stone; and while 'tis mine It shall be stony. York not our old men spares; No more will I their babes. Tears virginal Shall be to me even as the dew to fire, And beauty that the tyrant oft reclaims Shall to my flaming wrath be oil and flax. Henceforth I will not have to do with pity. In cruelty will I seek out my fame. Early in 3 Henry VI , Clifford makes it clear that nothing has changed in his desire to revenge his father's death. The murder of Rutland is particularly important in terms of Clifford's pursuit of vengeance, as the scene is punctuated with a debate about the limits and moral implications of exacting revenge on someone who did no wrong in the first place;.

The sight of any of the House of York Is as a fury to torment my soul, And till I root out their accurs'd line And leave not one alive, I live in hell. Therefore —. He lifts his hand. To thee I pray; sweet Clifford pity me. Thou hast one son: for his sake pity me, Least in revenge thereof, sith God is just, He be as miserably slain as I. Ah, let me live in prison all my days, And when I give occasion of offence, Then let me die, for now thou hast no cause. He stabs him. Clifford subverts all notions of morality and chivalry in his dogged pursuit of revenge, determined to visit onto the House of York the same type of suffering as it delivered onto him with the death of his father.

This culminates during the torture of York in Act 1, Scene 4. Only moments after capturing York, Clifford wants to execute him immediately, but is prevented from doing so by Margaret, who wishes to talk to, and taunt, York prior to killing him. When Margaret tells York that he will die soon, Clifford quickly points out, "That is my office, for my father's sake" l. Clifford remains relatively silent throughout most of the scene, speaking only immediately prior to his stabbing of York, and again, citing revenge as foremost in his mind; "Here's for my oath, here's for my father's death" l. However, even with the death of his father's killer, Clifford seems to remain obsessed with revenge. During his single combat with Richard at the Battle of Towton, Clifford attempts to evoke a desire for revenge in Richard by pointing out how he killed two members of Richard's family;.

Now Richard, I am here with thee alone, This is the hand that stabbed thy father York And this the hand that slew thy brother Rutland, And here's the heart that triumphs in their death And cheers these hands that slew thy sire and brother To execute the like upon thyself; And so have at thee. Despite the prevalence of revenge in the earlier parts of the play, it loses significance as a motivating factor as the nature of the conflict changes and develops into a pursuit of power, without recourse to past antagonisms. Revenge ceases to be the primary driving force for many of the characters, with lust for power taking over, and past conflicts rendered unimportant as each side desperately races for victory; "the revenge ethic has been outstripped by expedient violence with no aim other than the seizure of power.

Later, echoing Warwick's statement about his reasons for joining the Lancastrians, Richard outlines why he has remained loyal to the Yorkists; "I stay not for the love of Edward but the crown" 4. Another example is when Prince Edward is killed in Act 5, Scene 5. His death is brought about because he taunts the Plantagenet brothers, and they lose their temper with him, not because they are exacting revenge for an ongoing feud with his family.

Similarly, when Richard kills Henry, his motives have nothing to do with the conflict between his family and Henry's. He murders him simply because Henry stands in the way of his attempts to gain the throne. As Michael Hattaway writes, "family loyalties may have been the initial cause of the feuds, but an audience watching 3 Henry VI is likely to feel that individual ambition rather than family honour is what fuels the vendettas that inform the play.

Both [families] seem to have forgotten that the quarrel between [them] originally was a dynastic one: their claims to legitimacy and authority in this play are now validated only by the forces they can muster". You're into a time of change in which there is no code except survival of the fittest — who happens to be Richard. The play depicts what happens when "a nation turns on itself in epic savagery, dissolving its own social foundations. For example, the opening moments of the play see Richard introduced carrying the head of the Duke of Somerset, whom he killed at the end of 2 Henry VI.

The degradation of chivalric customs and human decency is emphasised when York responds to Richard's arrival by 'talking' to the head itself; "But is your grace dead, my lord of Somerset" 1. Michael Hattaway sees this scene as an important prologue to the play insofar as "the act of desecration signifies the extinguishing of the residual chivalric code of conspicuous virtue, the eclipsing of honour by main force. Another example of barbarism perpetrated by the Yorkists is the abuse of Clifford's body in Act 2, Scene 6, where Edward, Richard, Clarence and Warwick all speak to the corpse in derision, sardonically wondering why it doesn't answer them. Richard's treatment of Henry's body in the final scene is another example of the lack of reverence for the dead; after Henry's death, Richard stabs the corpse, proclaiming "Down, down to hell, and say I sent thee hither" 5.

As such, with power being seen by many of the characters as the ultimate goal, the play also deals with themes of disloyalty and betrayal , and outlines the results of political factionalism and social breakdown; a once calm world is seen spiralling toward chaos as barbarism and immorality come to the fore. Tillyard has written of the Henry VI trilogy; "The second part had showed us the murder of Duke Humphrey of Gloucester, the rise of York, the destruction of two of Humphrey's murderers and the enmity of the two survivors, York and Queen Margaret. Through these happenings the country had been brought to the edge of chaos. In the third part, Shakespeare shows us chaos itself, the full prevalence of civil war, the perpetration of one horrible deed after another.

In the second part there had remained some chivalric feeling [ Just as revenge gives way to a desire for power, so too does national political conflict give way to a petty interfamily feud. For example, the play opens in the aftermath of the First Battle of St Albans , and immediately dramatises the agreement between Henry and York that the House of Lancaster will cede the throne to the House of York upon Henry's death. However, in reality, this agreement was brought about not by the First Battle of St Albans but by the Battle of Northampton in , which Shakespeare chose not to dramatise.

Furthermore, the legal settlement whereby Henry agreed to relinquish the crown to the House of York upon his death came about due to lengthy parliamentary debate, not a personal agreement between Henry and York, as it is depicted in the play. As such, a wide-ranging political debate spanning five years, and involving virtually every peer in the country is telescoped in the play to an immediate agreement between two men, thus illustrating the personal nature of the conflict. Another example of a character who also personalises the national conflict and turns it from a political struggle into a personal quest is Clifford, whose desire for revenge for the death of his father seems to be his only reason for fighting.

Clifford seems unconcerned with Henry's ability to lead the country, and his desire for personal vengeance seems to outweigh any sense he has of aiding the House of Lancaster because he believes it to be the right thing to do. Similarly, Warwick's later actions in the play, as he himself acknowledges, have nothing to do with ensuring Henry remain king, but are based wholly on his personal feelings towards Edward; he is more concerned with bringing down the House of York than elevating the House of Lancaster. As such, "the York-Warwick alliance degenerates into an inter-family feud, even more petty in its tit-for-tat predictability than York and Lancaster's squabbles. This concentration on the personal and familial aspects of the war leads to another major theme in the play; the dissolution of Family.

Throughout the play, family ties are shown to be fragile and constantly under threat. The first breach of familial bonds comes when Henry agrees to pass the crown to the House of York after his death. This disinherits his son and renders the crown a piece of transferable property, rather than a symbol of dynastic heritage or monarchic succession. All of Henry's followers are aghast at this decision, none more so than Margaret, who exclaims,. Ah, wretched man, would I had died a maid And never seen thee, never borne thee son, Seeing thou hast proved so unnatural a father. Hath he deserved to lose his birthright thus?

Hadst thou but loved him half so well as I, Or felt that pain which I did for him once, Or nourished him as I did with my blood, Thou wouldst have left thy dearest heart-blood there, Rather than have made that savage Duke thine heir And disinherited thine only son. Margaret is not alone in her efforts to convince Henry that his decision is wrong. Clifford also attempts to persuade him, arguing that fathers who do not pass on their successes to their sons are unnatural;.

Ambitious York, did level at thy crown, Thou smiling, while he knit his angry brows. He but a duke would have his son a king And raise his issue like a loving sire, Thou being a king, blessed with a goodly son Didst yield consent to disinherit him, Which argued thee a most unloving father. Unreasonable creatures feed their young, And though man's face be fearful to their eyes, Yet in protection of their tender ones, Who hath not seen them, even with those wings Which sometime they have used with fearful flight, Make war with him that climbed unto their nest, Offering their own lives in their young's defence?

For shame, my liege, make them your precedent. Were it not pity that this goodly boy Should lose his birth-right by his father's fault, And long hereafter say unto his child, 'What my great-grandfather and grandsire got, My careless father fondly gave away'? Ah what a shame were this! Look on the boy, And let his manly face, which promiseth Successful fortune, steel thy melting heart, To hold thine own and leave thine own with him. Henry however, disagrees with Clifford, arguing that passing on the burden of kingship is not necessarily the natural thing for a father to do, as it brings no reward when that title was unlawfully obtained in the first place "things ill got, had ever bad success": Henry is referring to the deposition and assassination of Richard II by his own grandfather, Henry IV.

By disinheriting his son, Henry seems to think he is protecting the Prince, ensuring that he will never suffer the hardships he himself experienced when he was left a usurped inheritance by his own father "I'll leave my son my virtuous deeds behind and would my father had left me no more" ;. But Clifford tell me, didst thou never hear That things ill got, had ever bad success? And happy always was it for that son Whose father for his hoarding went to hell? I'll leave my son my virtuous deeds behind, And would my father had left me no more, For all the rest is held at such a rate As brings a thousandfold more care to keep Then in possession any jot of pleasure. As such, while Margaret and Clifford argue that Henry has destroyed his family in his deal with York, Henry himself seems to feel that he has done his offspring a favour and prevented him from experiencing future suffering.

York's deal with Henry doesn't just have implications for Henry's family however, it also has implications for York's. York willingly sacrifices personal glory for the sake of his heirs, electing not to become King himself with the promise that his sons and grandsons will be kings instead. However, almost immediately after his deal with Henry, York's family is torn apart. Act 1, Scene 2 symbolically begins with Edward and Richard arguing; "No quarrel but a slight contention" l. Act 1, Scene 3 then depicts the murder of York's youngest son, whilst in Act 1, Scene 4, York himself is tortured and murdered, with the knowledge that Rutland is already dead.

In this sense, York functions as a symbolic character insofar as "the personal losses underlining York's political 'tragedy' [magnify] the play's theme of civil war's destruction of family relationships. The dissolution of the House of York however doesn't end with the death of York himself. Later, in Act 3, Scene 2, Richard further dissolves the family by revealing his ambition to usurp Edward's throne, and thereby disinherit Edward's children, his own nephews; "Ay, Edward, use women honourably. After murdering Henry, Richard then outlines his plan to bring this about, vowing to turn Edward against Clarence:.

Clarence beware, thou keep'st me from the light, But I will sort a pitchy day for thee, For I will buzz abroad such prophecies That Edward shall be fearful of his life, And then to purge his fear, I'll be thy death. In this ambition, Richard proves successful, utterly destroying his own family in the process. Also important to the theme of family dissolution is Act 2, Scene 5, where a father unwittingly kills his son, and a son unwittingly kills his father. Stuart Hampton-Reeves [55] argues that this scene is a symbolic one referring to the conscription debate in England during the s and s. The Dutch Revolt against the Spanish Empire had begun in , and although England and France were both supporting the Dutch, they had officially remained neutral for fear of angering the Spanish.

However, in , Elizabeth I signed the Treaty of Nonsuch , which officially brought England into the conflict, with the promise of 6, troops which was then changed to 8, troops for the Dutch. As such, to supply these troops, mobilisation was needed and the government thus replaced the traditional feudal system, whereby local nobles raised armies from among their own tenantry, with national conscription. This was not without controversy, and the incident involving the fathers and sons allude to both practices; the feudal system and the national system. Upon discovering he has killed his father, the son laments "From London by the king was I pressed forth.

The son had left the family home and travelled to London, where he had been conscripted into the king's army upon the outbreak of war. The father had stayed at home and had been compelled to join the army of the local noble i. Thus they ended up on opposite sides in the conflict, as regional stability gives way to national discord and social breakdown, and the war begins quite literally to tear families apart.

After the original performances, the complete text of 3 Henry VI seems to have been very rarely acted. The first definite performance in England after Shakespeare's day did not occur until , when F. Benson presented the play at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in a production of Shakespeare's two tetralogies, performed over eight nights. As far as can be ascertained, this was not only the first performance of the octology, but was also the first definite performance of both the tetralogy and the trilogy. Benson himself played Henry and his wife, Constance Benson , played Margaret. Although little was removed from the text, it did end differently from the written play.

After Edward has spoken his last lines, everyone leaves the stage except Richard, who walks towards the throne, then turns and looks out to the audience, speaking the first thirty lines of his opening speech from Richard III from "Now is the winter of our discontent" to "I am determin'd to prove a villain" , at which point the curtain falls. Additionally, in this production, Boxall as Margaret fully participated in the Battle of Tewkesbury, which was considered a bold move at the time.

Although the production was only moderately successful at the box office, it was critically lauded at the time for Alan Howard's unique portrayal of Henry. Howard adopted historical details concerning the real Henry's madness into his performance, presenting the character as constantly on the brink of a mental and emotional breakdown. Possibly as a reaction to a recent adaptation of the trilogy under the general title Wars of the Roses , which was strongly political, Hands attempted to ensure his own production was entirely apolitical; " Wars of the Roses was a study in power politics: its central image was the conference table, and Warwick, the scheming king-maker, was the central figure.

But that's not Shakespeare. Shakespeare goes far beyond politics. Politics is a very shallow science. The introduction of the head of Somerset was also removed, with the play beginning instead at line 25, "This is the palace of the fearful king. When the Complete Works wrapped in March , the history plays remained on stage, under the shorter title The Histories , as part of a two-year thirty-four actor ensemble production. At the end of the two-year programme, the entire octology was performed over a four-day period under the title The Glorious Moment ; Richard II was staged on a Thursday evening, followed by the two Henry IV plays on Friday afternoon and evening, the three Henry VI plays on Saturday two afternoon performances and one evening performance , and Richard III on Sunday evening.

Boyd's production garnered much attention at the time because of his interpolations and additions to the text. Boyd introduced a new character into the trilogy. The actor playing the body would then stand up and allow himself to be led off-stage by the figure. The production was also particularly noted for its realistic violence. According to Robert Gore-Langton of the Daily Express , in his review of the original production, "blood from a severed arm sprayed over my lap. A human liver slopped to the floor by my feet. An eyeball scudded past, then a tongue. In , the trilogy was staged at Shakespeare's Globe as part of the Globe to Globe Festival , with each play performed by a different Balkans based company and offered as a commentary on the recent history of violence in that region.

All three plays were performed each day, beginning at midday, under the overall title Henry VI: Three Plays. Each of the plays was edited down to two hours, and the entire trilogy was performed with a cast of fourteen actors. It was noted as being a rare opportunity to see the play on its own and was well received — particularly for its staging of the conclusion, in which Henry's corpse remained onstage, doused in a steady rain of blood, throughout Edward IV's final scene, after which a naked and feral Richard bolts onstage and delivers the opening lines of Richard III , before literally eating the throne.

In Europe, unedited stagings of the play took place at the Weimar Court Theatre in Directed by Franz von Dingelstedt , it was performed as the seventh part of the octology, with all eight plays staged over a ten-day period. A major production was staged at the Burgtheater in Vienna in Jocza Savits directed a production of the tetralogy at the Munich Court Theatre in and again in This production was unique insofar as a woman Katharina Schmoelzer played Henry. Margaret was played by Katharina von Bock. Writing at the time of Popish Plot , Crowne, who was a devout royalist , used his adaptation to warn about the danger of allowing England to descend into another civil war, which would be the case should the Whig party rise to power. Changes to the text include a new, albeit silent scene just prior to the Battle of Wakefield where York embraces Rutland before heading out to fight; an extension of the courtship between Edward and Lady Grey, and the edition of two subplots; one concerning a mistress of Edward's whom he accidentally kills in battle an allusion to Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher 's Philaster , the other involving an attempt by Warwick to seduce Lady Grey after her husband's death at the Second Battle of St.

Albans this is later used as a rationale for why Warwick turns against Edward. The play was half Shakespeare, half new material. Performed at Drury Lane , Colley appeared as Winchester. As had Crowne, Cibber created a new scene involving Rutland; after the death of York, he and Rutland are laid side by side on the battlefield. In , Edmund Kean appeared in J. Material from 3 Henry VI included the opening few scenes involving York taking the throne from Henry, preparing for battle, and then the battle itself.

Following Merivale's example, Robert Atkins adapted all three plays into a single piece for a performance at The Old Vic in as part of the celebrations for the tercentenary of the First Folio. Atkins himself played Richard. The success of the — Douglas Seale stand-alone productions of each of the individual plays in Birmingham prompted him to present the three plays together at the Old Vic in under the general title The Wars of the Roses. Barry Jackson adapted the text, altering the trilogy into a two-part play; 1 Henry VI and 2 Henry VI were combined with almost all of 1 Henry VI eliminated and 3 Henry VI was edited down, with most of Act 4 removed, thus reducing the importance of Edward in the overall play.

In all, 1, lines written by Barton were added to 6, lines of original Shakespearean material, with a total of 12, lines removed. Barton and Hall were both especially concerned that the plays reflect the contemporary political environment, with the civil chaos and breakdown of society depicted in the plays mirrored in the contemporary milieu , by events such as the building of the Berlin Wall in , the Cuban Missile Crisis in and the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Hall allowed these events to reflect themselves in the production, arguing that "we live among war, race riots, revolutions, assassinations, and the imminent threat of extinction. The theatre is, therefore, examining fundamentals in staging the Henry VI plays.

Both Barton and Hall were also supporters of E. Tillyard's book Shakespeare's History Plays , which was still a hugely influential text in Shakespearian scholarship, especially in terms of its argument that Shakespeare in the tetralogy was advancing the Tudor myth. Another major adaptation was staged in by the English Shakespeare Company , under the direction of Michael Bogdanov. This touring production opened at the Old Vic, and subsequently toured for two years, performing at, amongst other places, the Panasonic Globe Theatre in Tokyo, Japan as the inaugural play of the arena , the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto , Italy and at the Adelaide Festival in Adelaide , Australia.

Also like Barton and Hall, Bogdanov concentrated on political issues, although he made them far more overt than had his predecessors. For example, played by June Watson , Margaret was closely modelled after the British Prime Minister at the time, Margaret Thatcher , even to the point of having similar clothes and hair. The production was noted for its pessimism as regards contemporary British politics, with some critics feeling the political resonances were too heavy handed. Another adaptation of the tetralogy by the Royal Shakespeare Company followed in , performed at the Barbican. This play ended with the line "Now is the winter of our discontent;" the opening line from Richard III.

Michael Bogdanov and the English Shakespeare Company presented a different adaptation at the Swansea Grand Theatre in , using the same cast as on the touring production. All eight plays from the history cycle were presented over a seven night period, with each play receiving one performance only, and with only twenty-eight actors portraying the nearly five hundred roles. This production was noted for how it handled the violence of the play. The set was designed to look like an abattoir , but rather than attempt to present the violence realistically as most productions do , Hall went in the other direction; presenting the violence symbolically. Whenever a character was decapitated or killed, a red cabbage was sliced up whilst the actor mimed the death beside it.

Condensing all fours plays into one, Markus named the play Queen Margaret , doing much the same with the character of Margaret as Merivale had done with York. Another unusual adaptation of the tetralogy was entitled Shakespeare's Rugby Wars. Presented as if it were a live rugby match between York and Lancaster, the 'play' featured commentary from Falstaff Stephen Flett , which was broadcast live for the audience. The 'match' itself was refereed by 'Bill Shakespeare' played by Coculuzzi , and the actors whose characters names all appeared on their jerseys had microphones attached and would recite dialogue from all four plays at key moments.

Also in , Edward Hall and the Propeller Company presented a one-play all-male cast modern dress adaptation of the trilogy at the Watermill Theatre. Under the title Rose Rage , Hall used a cast of only thirteen actors to portray the nearly one hundred and fifty speaking roles in the four-hour production, thus necessitating doubling and tripling of parts. After a successful run at the Haymarket, the play moved to the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Young as Richard.

Outside England, a major European adaptation of the tetralogy took place in in Weimar under the direction of Franz von Dingelstedt, who, seven years previously had staged the play unedited. Dingelstedt turned the trilogy into a two-parter under the general name Die weisse rose. The first play was called Haus Lancaster , the second Haus York. This adaptation was unique insofar as both plays were created by combining material from all three Henry VI plays. Following this structure, Alfred von Walzogen also produced a two-part play in , under the general title Edward IV. Another European adaptation was in at the Teatro Piccolo in Milan. Using Barton and Hall's structure, Strehler also added several characters, including a Chorus, who used monologues from Richard II , both parts of Henry IV , Henry V , Macbeth and Timon of Athens , and two gravediggers called Bevis and Holland after the names of two of Cade's rebels in the Folio text of 2 Henry VI , who commented with dialogue written by Strehler himself on each of the major characters as they set about burying them.

Although 3 Henry VI itself has never been adapted directly for the cinema, extracts from it have been used in many of the cinematic adaptations of Richard III. The first such adaptation was twenty-two-minute silent version of Richard III , directed by and starring F. Filmed as part of a series intended by Benson to promote the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford, the piece was pure filmed theatre, with each scene shot on-stage in a single take by an unmoving camera. Each single shot scene is prefaced by a scene-setting intertitle and a brief quotation from the text.

The play was also used in one of the earliest sound films ; the John G. Adolfi movie The Show of Shows ; a revue -style production featuring extracts from numerous plays, musicals and novels. Richard's soliloquy from Act 3, Scene 2 was used in the film, recited by John Barrymore although Barrymore incorrectly attributes the speech to 1 Henry VI , who delivers the speech after the opening dialogue of 3 Henry VI concerning Somerset's head. Barrymore had recently starred in a hugely successful five-hour production of Richard III on Broadway , and this speech had been singled out by critics as the best in the entire production.

As such, when offered the chance to perform on film, Barrymore chose to reproduce it. Film critics proved just as impressed with the speech as had theatrical critics, and it was generally regarded as the finest moment of the film. The film begins with the coronation of Edward IV, which happens between 3. Apart from the omission of some lines, the most noticeable departure from the text of 5. Buckingham is a major character throughout Richard III , where he is Richard's closest ally for a time. Jane Shore is mentioned several times in Richard III , and although she never features as a character, she is often included in productions of the play. However, after twenty-three lines, it then moves back to 3 Henry VI , quoting from Richard's soliloquy in Act 3, Scene 2;.

Why, love forswore me in my mother's womb, And for I should not deal in her soft laws, She did corrupt frail nature with some bribe To shrink mine arm up like a withered shrub, To make an envious mountain on my back Where sits deformity to mock my body, To shape my legs of an unequal size, To disproportion me in every part Like to a chaos, or an unlicked bear-whelp That carries no impression like the dam. Then since this earth affords no joy to me But to command, to check, to o'erbear such As are of better person than myself, I'll make my heaven to dream upon the crown, And, whiles I live, t'account this world but hell, Until my misshaped trunk that bears this head Be round impaled with a glorious crown.

And yet I know not how to get the crown, For many lives stand between me and home, And I, like one lost in a thorny wood, That rents the thorns and is rent with the thorns, Seeking a way and straying from the way, Not knowing how to find the open air, But toiling desperately to find it out, Torment myself to catch the English crown, And from that torment I will free myself, Or hew my way out with a bloody axe.

Why, I can smile, and murder while I smile, And cry, 'content' to that which grieves my heart, And wet my cheeks with artificial tears, And frame my face to all occasions. I'll drown more sailors than the mermaid shall, I'll slay more gazers than the basilisk ; I'll play the orator as well as Nestor , Deceive more slyly than Ulysses could, And, like a Sinon , take another Troy. I can add colours to the chameleon, Change shapes with Proteus for advantages, And set the murd'rous Machiavel to school Can I do this, and cannot get a crown? The opening scene depicts Henry and his son Edward played by Christopher Bowen preparing for the forthcoming battle.

However, a surprise attack is launched on their headquarters by Richard, and both are killed. This scene is without dialogue. The last line of 3 Henry VI is also used in the film; Edward's "For here I hope begins our lasting joy" appears as a subtitle after the coronation of Edward and is altered to read "And now, they hope, begins their lasting joy", with "they" referring to the House of York. The film then moves on to the coronation of Edward IV again without dialogue , before Richard delivers the opening speech of Richard III as an after-dinner toast to the new king. Loncraine's film also used a line from 3 Henry VI in its poster campaign — "I can smile and murder whiles I smile" 3.

The film then moves on to the arrest of George. The show comprised fifteen sixty- and seventy-five-minute episodes which adapted all eight of Shakespeare's sequential history plays. The twelfth episode, "The Morning's War" covers Acts 1, 2 and Act 3, Scenes 1 and 2, concluding with Richard's soliloquy wherein he vows to attain the crown. With each episode running one hour, a great deal of text was necessarily removed, but aside from truncation, only minor alterations were made to the original. For example, in "The Morning's War", the character of Edmund, Earl of Rutland is played by an adult actor, whereas in the text, he is a child and Margaret is present during the murder of Rutland, and we see her wipe his blood on the handkerschief which she later gives to York.

What's perhaps the saddest part of Ophelia's death is that Hamlet appeared to drive her to it; had he taken action earlier to avenge his father, perhaps Polonius and she would not have died so tragically. Although he seems to consider killing himself as an option, he does not act on this idea Similarly, he does not act when he has the opportunity to kill Claudius and avenge the murder of his father in Act 3 , Scene 3. Share Flipboard Email. Lee Jamieson. Theater Expert. Lee Jamieson, M.

He previously served as a theater studies lecturer at Stratford-upon Avon College in the United Kingdom. Cite this Article Format. Jamieson, Lee. Death as a Theme in Hamlet. A Scene-by-Scene Breakdown of 'Hamlet'. What Is a Soliloquy?

Another television version of the play was produced by the BBC Revenge Theme In Hamlet for their BBC Television Shakespeare Revenge Theme In Hamlet, although the episode didn't air until And, sister, as Revenge Theme In Hamlet winds Make Lemonade Environment Revenge Theme In Hamlet And convoy is assistant, do not Revenge Theme In Hamlet, Squatting Case Study let me Revenge Theme In Hamlet from you. Revenge Theme In Hamlet focused upon Revenge Theme In Hamlet Act Revenge Theme In Hamlet, Scene 5; the scene of the son Why I Want To Pursue In College his father and the father killing his son.

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