Author(s): Kenan YERLI

William Shakespeare, the greatest playwright of Renaissance England, wrote great number of history plays about English history. Prominent historical events of the middle ages and the lives of the medieval kings were the main sources of his history plays. However, the political atmosphere of Renaissance England was also influential on Shakespeare, when he was writing his history plays. In these plays, Shakespeare usually distorted historical facts for the favour of the reigning monarchs and advocated the political views of Elizabeth I and James I through the bridges he built between the similar events of his time and the middle ages. The aim of this paper is to review the turning points in the political atmosphere that influenced William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616) when he was writing his Macbeth, Richard II, Richard III and the Life and Death of King John. Briefly stated, there were significant social, political and religious events of early modern England behind the history plays of William Shakespeare. Therefore, it is important to know these major political events to understand and analyse Shakespeare’s histories better.


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