Files in this item



application/pdfPARK-DISSERTATION-2019.pdf (1MB)Restricted Access
(no description provided)PDF


Title:Competing to succeed: Monarchy and succession in English history plays and tracts, 1559-1607
Author(s):Park, Chae Yoon
Director of Research:Neely, Carol T
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Neely, Carol T
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Gray, Catharine; Newcomb, Lori H; Perry, Curtis
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Early modern drama
William Shakespeare
Thomas Dekker
John Webster
Henry VI
Sir Thomas Wyatt
Elizabeth I
James I
Abstract:Competing to Succeed examines how fifteenth and early sixteenth century British non-dramatic texts and history plays use medieval and early modern English history to interrogate the Elizabethan succession crisis. By doing so, they publicize the manifold problems that plague hereditary monarchy during the Tudor reign. Despite the Elizabethan law outlawing any discussion of Elizabeth’s successors, the inflammatory topic was repeatedly addressed implicitly and explicitly. Verse narratives like William Baldwin’s Mirror for Magistrates (1559), chronicle histories like Edward Hall’s The Union of the Two Noble Families of Lancaster and York (1548) and Raphael Holinshed’s Chronicle of England, Scotland and Ireland (1587), and succession tracts like those of Peter Wentworth (1587, 1594), Robert Parsons (1594), and Sir John Harington (1602) have different agendas and reach varied literate and elite audiences. But all these texts unsettle monarchy. Baldwin, penning fictional monologues of the fall of sovereigns, ventriloquizes their flaws. Chronicle histories, dedicated to the monarch, may celebrate Tudor order, but invariably reveal threats to it. Each succession tract, to support a favored candidate, must de-legitimate other contenders, calling legitimacy itself into question. Plays on English history have often been interpreted as promoting national order sustained by the divinely appointed monarch. However, close analysis of William Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Parts 1, 2, and 3 (1589-1592) and Thomas Dekker and John Webster’s The Famous History of Sir Thomas Wyatt (1607) demonstrates how, by representing history onstage, these plays graphically stage crises of legitimacy. By representing the weakness of kings, the power of queens, the inadequacy of heirs, factional rivalry, aristocrat and plebian rebellion, usurpation and counter-usurpation, they interrogate hereditary monarchy to reveal that it cannot work. The public stage, I show, functions as a site for widespread ideological dissemination far beyond that of printed books and includes the diverse and dissident voices of women, plebeians, foreigners, and rebels.
Issue Date:2019-07-10
Rights Information:Copyright 2019 Chae Yoon Park
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-11-26
Date Deposited:2019-08

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Item Statistics