Reflections of contemporary socio-political and religious controversies in William Shakespeare's Henry IV parts 1 and 2, Henry V and Henry VI parts 1, 2 and 3
While the general idea is to illustrate how William Shakespeare reflected the contemporary conflicts and problems of the Elizabethan society, the particular aim of the thesis is to offer a close critical analysis of Shakespeare's Henry IV Part 1 and Part 2, Henry V and Henry VI Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 plays in an eclectic critical approach derived from the theoretical principles of New Historicism and Cultural Materialism. In order to provide a better understanding of the plays studied in the thesis, there is a presentation of the development of drama, both religious and secular, in the Reformation period. In addition to this, main features of Cultural Materialism and New Historicism are given. The English Reformation and its effects on drama have been given in the introductory chapter. In the first chapter, contemporary religious controversies as reflected in Shakespeare's 1 and 2 Henry VI plays are discussed. The second chapter deals with the reflections of contemporary social conflicts in especially the Jack Cade episode of Shakespeare's 2 Henry VI. In the third chapter, reflections of political conflicts in Shakespeare's Henry V, Henry V, and Henry VI plays are analysed in terms of the appropriation of commoners by the ruling class for the preservation of the dominant order. The thesis concludes that the plays are polyvalent in meaning and thus open to further academic discussions for the years to come.