Henry II in Drama: Changing Historical Outlooks


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

William Shakespeare, who often wrote about those who "sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings," did not himself entertain Globe audiences with one of the saddest of all the stories. Henry II, who loved and hated his sons in roughly equal measure, died after one final battle with his surviving heirs, muttering, we are told, last words perfectly suited to biographers and playwrights: "Shame, shame on a vanquished king."1 But if Shakespeare ever wrote a play about Henry II, it has not survived.2 His only known writing about the early Plantagenets deals with Henry's youngest son, John.

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.