Perspective in Shakespeare's English Histories

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Larry S. Champion examines Shakespeare's English history plays and describes the structural devices through which Shakespeare controls the audience's angle of vision and its response to the pattern of historical events. Champion observes the experimentation between stage worlds and the significance of a dramatic technique unique to the history play-one that combines the detachment of a documentary necessary for a broad intellectual view of history and the simultaneous engagement between character and spectator. Champion sees a conscious bifurcation occurring in Shakespeare's dramaturgy after Richard II . In Julius Caesar , Shakespeare continues to focus on the psychological analysis and internalized protagonist which lead to his major tragic achievements. In King John and Henry IV , the playwright develops a middle ground between the polarities of Henry VI , in which the flat, onedimensional characters essentially serve the purposes of the narrative, and the tragedies, in which the spectator's consuming interest is in the developing central figure whose critical moments they share. Champion sees Henry V as the culmination of Shakespeare's efforts in the English history play.

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University of Georgia Press
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