Shakespeare 's King Richard IIi And The Problematics Of Tudor Bastardy
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In his article, "Shakespeare 's King Richard III and the Problematics of Tudor Bastardy", Maurice Hunt gives a convincing (dare I say legitimate!) argument for why he believes Shakespeare took a large risk writing and performing his play King Richard III during the life of Queen Elizabeth I. Knowing the challenges Elizabeth faced during her childhood and into her reign because of her father, King Henry VIII 's ever-changing mind whether or not she was a legitimate heir or a bastard, I agree with Hunt in the fact Shakespeare took a huge risk with his performances of Richard III, if in fact she did see the performance which is something I will be touching on later on, but for the sake of the review of his article I will be focusing on his argument based on Elizabeth being present. Hunt also spends a great deal explaining the history of bastardry in the Tudor family so that we can understand why that would have been a touchy subject for Elizabeth and a dangerous one to broadcast to her subjects. And finally an interesting point is brought up regarding missing lines from the original play 's script and performances regarding bastardry in the 1597 Quarto.
Firstly, Hunt explains to his readers the history of bastardry throughout the Tudor dynasty so that it is clear how the content of King Richard III reflected Tudor bastardry and why this was a potential risk for Shakespeare. He begins with John Beaufort the Earl of Somerset, who was Henry VII 's great grandfather who was declared a bastard . He then goes on to Henry VII 's grandfather Owen Tudor who fell in love with Catharine of Valois (the widow of Henry V). They had three children, Edmund, Jasper and Owen, however his sources show that Owen and Catharine may in fact never have been...
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... Henry Tudor and his dynasty to come if he were to succeed him (Richard). Hunt goes into great depth and explores the meanings in great detail and without bias of opinion and sticks to straight historical facts in this section of his article, thus making a very convincing case for a very possible reason for the missing lines in 1597 Quarto of King Richard III.
In conclusion, even though there is no confident proof for the first performance of Shakespeare 's King Richard III to have been playing during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I or that she even saw it at all, Hunt makes very clear and convincing arguments for his belief that she was indeed present and why Shakespeare took a great risk in writing and performing a play for her and her subjects underlining hers and her family 's history and constant battle of bastardry and legitimizing their claims to the throne.