1 Henry IV Part 2

Act II, Scene 4 Prince Hal has recently returned from a night of drinking with some random men. He argues that this will be good for him because, as King, he will be able to talk with anyone in his kingdom. He thanks Poins for joining him in tricking Falstaff and plans to kill the … Continue reading 1 Henry IV Part 2

1 Henry IV Part One

Act I, Scene 1 King Henry IV reflects on the positive direction of the kingdom. Following the turmoil of Richard II’s reign, which ended in his usurpation, the country is at peace. Neighbor no longer fights neighbor and they can all get behind the cause of driving those darn pagans from their Christian lands. Unfortunately, … Continue reading 1 Henry IV Part One

Introduction to Henry IV, Part 1

It will surprise no one to know that Shakespeare took a fair amount of creative liberty when presenting the history of Henry IV's reign. He did this in part to create a more compelling story and in part to satisfy the Tudor propaganda that was extremely relevant to his ability to produce plays. First, he … Continue reading Introduction to Henry IV, Part 1

Portia: Independent and Controlled

Since I touched on the anti-Semitism in my introduction, I thought I would try to take the road less travelled (or at least the road less congested) and discuss Portia. I found Portia to be a striking female character because she exists in this grey area in between being independent and being under the control … Continue reading Portia: Independent and Controlled

The Merchant of Venice Discussion Guide

Introducing students to The Merchant of Venice is tricky, but directly confronting the issues that make it so can lead to several interesting and necessary discussions. What is anti-semitism and how has it appeared throughout history? It is important to take the time to identify the stereotypes and develop and understanding of how those stereotypes … Continue reading The Merchant of Venice Discussion Guide

Richard II and Elizabeth I

Elizabeth I was famously supposed to have compared herself to Richard II. We may find that surprising to think of today because she is remembered as Gloriana, a great Queen. However, late in her reign when Richard II was written, this was not that surprising of a comparison. As the Queen aged, eyes started looking … Continue reading Richard II and Elizabeth I

Richard II Part 3

No pictures with this one because they would all just be too depressing... Act IV, Scene 1 Henry Bolingbroke calls Bagot before him to ask what he knows of Gloucester’s death. He immediately blames the whole affair on Aumerle. Aumerle scoffs at the accusation and barely even wants to offer a response, but throws down … Continue reading Richard II Part 3

Richard II Part Two

Act III, Scene 1 Bolingbroke sentences Bushy and Green to death. He wouldn’t even bother telling them why, but he doesn’t want anyone thinking that he killed them unjustly. So, he explains that they lead the King astray and stole his attention so often that they actually came between him and his Queen. Then, of … Continue reading Richard II Part Two

Act I, Scene 1 Richard calls forth his uncle, John of Gaunt, to explain the position of Henry Bolingbroke, Gaunt’s son. As far as Gaunt can tell, Bolingbroke has evidence of some treachery from Thomas Mowbry, the Duke of Norfolk. Since the treachery seems directed at Richard, he decides to hear their case. Bolingbroke and … Continue reading

The Tumultuous Reign of Richard II

Before we jump into the play about Richard II, it's important to understand the basic facts of his reign, as they would have been understood by an Elizabethan audience. Richard's reign was defined by those who tried to exert power through him. First, by the men put in charge of him as a minor. Then, … Continue reading The Tumultuous Reign of Richard II