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Forum LockedShakespeare's historical plays

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    Posted: 09-Aug-2008 at 17:34
sharespeare wrote a number of plays on English monarchs. Along with 3 plays about ancient romans (Titus, Julius Caesar, Coriolanus). Where would Shakespeare have gotten access to history documents at that time ? Coriolanus in particular is fairly obscure to people who are not familiar with early Roman history.

Were Shakespeare's plays the least bit historically accurate?
did he write about any other real people ?

I believe Hamlet took place in Denmark. Was it based on a real person ?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sparten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Aug-2008 at 17:57

Many were collaberations, others were reworkings of existing plays (Hamlet for instance) no copyright then. Sources for Rome was usually Plutract.

The Germans also take vacations in Paris; especially during the periods they call "blitzkrieg".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Aug-2008 at 18:56

MacBeth and Hamlet were genuine historical figures, apart from the obvious ones.

Shakespeare was not greatly concerned with historical accuracy. Like all successful playwrights his manin concern was putting 'bums on seats' - i.e. appealing to the playgoing public.

Luckily for us the Elizabethans had great taste in poetry and plays, even if they had a somewhat uninformed and biassed attitude to history.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sparten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Aug-2008 at 19:38
Macbeth did to...........Macbeth what Braveheart did to Edward I.
The Germans also take vacations in Paris; especially during the periods they call "blitzkrieg".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Aug-2008 at 20:41
Not a bad analogy. I just said the characters were real not the events. Smile
 
Mind you, William probably made up the drunken porter.
 
Coincidentally there is a play called 'The Real MacBeth' which attempts to right the balance. It won the FEATS first prize a couple of years ago. It was put on by the Brussels Shakespeare Society, written by Stuart Delves.
 
(FEATS - Federation of European Anglophone Theatrical Societies.)
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Alkibiades Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Sep-2008 at 21:51
Most current and recent historical plays, films, novels, and TV dramas wreak havoc with historical fact anyway.
 
Many elements in Shakespeare's history plays were based on heresay that was generally assumed (by 16th century Englishmen) to be accurate (even if it wasn't)--for example the sad fate of Prince Arthur of Brittany in "King John." or the fate of the little princes in the Tower (Richard III).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote perfectinsanity Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Nov-2008 at 19:45
Whilst not actually including any characters based on real persons (AFAIK), Shakespeare's last play, 'The Tempest', is thought to have been heavily inspired by a letter written by William Strachey recounting a shipwreck in Bermuda in (I believe) 1610. Shakespeare was acquainted with members of the Virginia Company, who must surely have been responsible for circulating a copy of the letter to him, given that it was not actually published until 1625.
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