- from Shakespeare
Shakespeare’s history plays explore the reigns of kings Richard II and III, John, and Henry IV, V, VI, and VIII.
But he doctored some facts to make the stories more dramatic. His kings are all gigantic personalities. But they are not always good rulers. Richard II wasted the national treasury, and Henry IV fought rebellious noblemen. However, Shakespeare’s last history play, Henry VIII, ends with the happy birth of Elizabeth.
Shakespeare’s sonnets were written during the same early period as most of the history plays. Because they are written in the first person (the writer uses “I” and “me”) and were circulated only “among his private friends,” people have read them for clues to Shakespeare’s life. They are especially interested in the identities of the noble young man and the Dark Lady. In the sonnets, as in the plays, Shakespeare used a popular form of art. But he did it better than anyone else.