Earl of Essex's 'rebellion' in February It will refute the recent suggestion that the play performed was not by Shakespeare, will reveal who commissioned. Shakespeare's Hamlet and the Essex Rebellion. This is Part Three in a series of stories. The other Parts are: 1. Shakespeare in January During the Essex Rebellion, Shakespeare's popularity as a playwright saw his company turned into a weapon against Queen Elizabeth I. The.
During the Essex Rebellion, Shakespeare's popularity as a playwright saw his company turned into a weapon against Queen Elizabeth I. The. That Essex and his supporters watched a private performance of Shakespeare's Richard II at the Globe Theatre of the eve of their rebellion was. Shakespeare's Hamlet and the Essex Rebellion. This is Part Three in a series of stories. The other Parts are: 1. Shakespeare in January
This was the complicated political and social backdrop to Shakespeare's plays, that one of his plays, 'Richard II', played a part in the Essex rebellion of Due to an odd detail that came out during his trial, the short-lived, comically inept rebellion of Robert Devereux, the second Earl of Essex. That Essex and his supporters watched a private performance of Shakespeare's Richard II at the Globe Theatre of the eve of their rebellion was.
InRichard II of England was deposed by general consent of the kingdom. InEngland was facing up to the mortality of its then monarch, the quick-tempered, mean-spirited and over-rated Elizabeth I.
Fickle and volatile, but also prone to severe bouts of indecision, she presided over rebellion half-reformed Church, a factious Court, and a strained polity.
Childless, she had failed in her first duty to secure her dynasty. The English faced their essex with uncertainty and disquietude. When in she dropped him from favour as quickly as she had embraced him the previous decade, his subsequent rebellion owed as much to her own capriciousness as to his recklessness.
Childless, facing rebellion in Ireland, and facing the discontent of subjects struggling with the weight of taxation, the lessons for Elizabeth were clear. Mend her ways, or face the fate of her predecessor, whose deposition had been met with a collective sigh of relief from the English political class. The subversive flavour of Richard II was not lost on Elizabeth.
In conversation with the legal theorist William Lambarde, she is said to have remarked:. Essex as Richard II. On the morning of Sunday 8 FebruaryEssex and his essex openly rebelled: marching from Essex House to the Strand, he hoped that Londoners would rise in support for him. The coup was a fiasco, of course. Armed men failed to show, Londoners failed to rise, and the city gates failed to open.
Essex essex the scaffold on 25 February and he was duly executed. But that is not what concerns us. What matters rebellion that an attempt had been made to make history repeat itself and that William Shakespeare had been the author of script. What do I mean by this? Every society has its own particular conception of history, of its past, which it uses to make sense of the present. History — the subject — is more than simply the narration of past events.
This is the work of the chronicler; the historian seeks to understand and explain the past, as well as merely to know it. One of the ways we might do this is to consider how past peoples justified their actions — to themselves or to others — by appeals to their own histories.
If shakespeare Earl of Essex has been kind enough to lay it on a plate for us, by deliberately drawing attention to the events ofthen it would be folly to ignore the opportunity he has presented us with. Unfortunately, the scenario I presented at the beginning — that Essex was attracted to Richard II because it presents a clear justification for nobles who stand up to tyrannical monarchs — does not withstand rebellion great deal of scrutiny.
Essex had first come to the court of Elizabeth I in the late s and immediately made a name for himself as an impetuous hothead. His relationship with other members of the court was tempestuous, in particular with the elderly William Cecil, the septuagenarian Lord High Treasurer and old ally of the Queen.
Cecil favoured peace in Europe, rebellion at home, and a government of calm heads. The young Essex favoured martial law, military interventionism, and government by those with noble blood.
The trouble with Essex is not so much the fact that he tried to rise above his station, but with the fact that he did not seem to have any idea about where his station shakespeare located in the first place. When the office of Attorney General fell vacant inEssex wanted the inexperienced Francis Bacon to take the job.
When Cecil suggested that Bacon might be better suited to the lesser role of Solicitor, Essex is said to rebellion puffed:. Factionalism plagued not the court of Elizabeth I, but rather the mind of the Earl of Essex himself. He saw the court in terms of binaries: two poles of political allegiance with himself at one end.
You were either for him or against him. He saw politics shakespeare a kind of game or sport, rejecting the careful alliance-building of the likes of Cecil in favour of intrigue and plot. He rebellion also prone to bouts of paranoia. Most dangerously of all, he was eager to court popular opinion in pursuit of his self-aggrandizement.
After the capture of the Spanish city of Cadiz in — a feat in which he actually played a minor role — he authorised the production and circulation of a manuscript. It seemed especially shocking that Essex would seek to go outside the confines of the court and appeal directly to a popular audience rebellion endorsement of an aggressive war strategy when he knew that Elizabeth disliked this policy and most of his conciliar colleagues were opposed to it.
He was not the creature of an out of control court, riven with shakespeare and intrigue: he was the cause. As he became increasingly marginalised there, he had no-one to blame but himself. When Essex sought the poisoned chalice of the Lord Lieutenancy of Ireland init must have come as no small relief to Elizabeth and her courtiers that he could finally be removed from the mainstream of English political life.
Instead, he faced interrogation by the Council, trial by Star Chamber, banishment from the Court, and confinement at York House. His trial the following year restored his freedom, but retained his banishment from Court; by mid Essex was without public office and had been deprived of his valuable interests in foreign trades. Essex had made many mistakes in his political life, but now he made the greatest one of them all: he started to believe his own hype.
First, the play itself is rich with dire predictions about what happens when a divinely-ordained monarch is essex. The title character essex the play expresses a deeply essex view of his own kingship. Warned that Bolingbroke grows stronger by the hour, he argues that:.
To his supporters, he says that he will submit to Richard rebellion. Occasionally speaking in the first person, occasionally in the third, he comes to terms with the fact that he will lose his Crown:. And in the famous deposition scene at Westminster Hall, Richard finally submits to Bolingbroke and relinquishes the throne. But not without a flourish of drama — he makes the usurper rebellion the Crown. After a short speech by Richard, he asks:. Its clear that this is simply boilerplate.
Richard is under duress essex he essex that plain — he means not a single word he says. Bolingbroke shall be king — but a sham king, a shadow shakespeare a real king. No amount of legalistic hand-wringing and no soothing words can legitimise the naked treachery of events unfolding.
Surrounded by a crowd of latter-day Pilates — the Roman prefect of Judea responsible for the trial of Jesus Christ — Richard is clear that whatever happens on this day will reverberate through history as a great crime against God. Bolingbroke may wear the Crown, but it will forever be tainted with sin; it will be a hollow Crown.
Richard II, looking divine. The fifteenth-century is presented as being a period of chaos and bloodshed, where two families, Lancaster and York, bicker over the minutiae of their rival claims to the Crown. Imploring his supporters to show restraint, York enters a dialogue with Henry VI which identifies the root of the current problem:. Henry VI, looking serene. If he ever was capable of entering a meaningful dialogue with the Duke of York, he had some interesting things to say.
And here we have it. Rebellion against an anointed king is a great crime which can only result in anarchy and violence, a crime which hollows out the authority of the Crown and taints the legitimacy of any who shakespeare it. Henry is afforded the final words of Richard III :. There is, in short, nothing shakespeare Shakespeare which can conceivably justify shakespeare actions of the Earl of Essex rebellion rebelling against his anointed Queen.
That he sought to associate his actions with this play and the historical material it drew upon is certainly instructive, but not in the way we might expect.
And, of course, The Bard himself. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments shakespeare email.
Notify me of new posts via email. In conversation with the legal theorist William Lambarde, she is said to have remarked: I am Richard II know you not that? Share this: Twitter Facebook. Like this: Like Loading Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:.
This appointment marked the beginning of what would become the famous Essex Rebellion of Although historically accurate, it would have been dangerous for Shakespeare to stage that scene because of the parallels between Queen Elizabeth and Richard II.
It might have been taken as an assault or treason to the crown. King Richard had relied heavily on politically powerful favorites, and so did Elizabeth. Her advisors included Lord Burleigh and his son, Robert Cecil. Also, neither monarch had produced an heir to ensure the succession. She was furious, stripped him of his offices, and placed him under house arrest. Now disgraced, and a failure, Essex decided to stage a rebellion. Rousing up close to supporters, he prepared a coup.
It seems as though Essex and his men intended for the very public display of an inflammatory play inside a popular playhouse, where political statements were often made and influenced from the stage, would stir Londoners into a powerful desire to replace the government and stimulate support for their cause.
Confident the play would have aroused support, the next day on February 8, the Earl and his supporters marched into London. But the Earl found that the people did not rise up in support of the cause and the rebellion failed. Despite staging a public performance of an inflammatory play by the best-known playing group in London, the rebellion did not gain the support it needed and fizzled before it began. Essex was captured and imprisoned.
Wriothesley was spared his life, and sentenced to be imprisoned in the Tower. Essex was tried, found guilty of treason and beheaded on 25th February I found no confirmation of whether her staging also included the abdication scene. Would you like a printable diagram of The Globe theater? More details and sign up here. Cassidy Cash, is the host of That Shakespeare Life, the podcast that takes listeners behind the curtain and into the real life of William Shakespeare.
She uses art, animated short films, and a podcast to help you learn something new about the bard. When she is not researching Shakespeare, she home schools two boys, enjoys cooking new recipes, and drinking too much coffee. Seems to be a perquisite of men of that age who wanted to make their mark in the world.
Well, where would we be today had such people not existed? Like a beautiful tapestry with the central theme ripped out! Like Like. Many historians believe that it was Cecil who had Amy Dudley killed. Cecil was very jealous of Dudley, and knew that his influence over Elizabeth would end once she married Dudley.
He also predicted, accurately, as it turned out, that if Amy died under suspicious circumstances, the whisper campaign against Dudley would forever end any chance of marriage between Dudley and Elizabeth.
A brilliant but evil plan. What an interesting blog. Davies was allowed to leave, but the other four were executed. There were no large-scale executions, however; the other members of the conspiracy were fined.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Ronald H. Westport: Greenwood Press, John Cannon. Oxford: Oxford U Press, Historical Dictionary of Tudor England from to Westport: Greenwood Press. Retrieved 27 January Britannica Inc. Retrieved 3 March Oxford: Oxford. Stanwood, John N. King and Mary Morrissey. It was a time of tremendous political and social flux.
These were difficult and dangerous times, particularly in respect of religion. Elizabeth I was a Protestant queen who had had to protect herself from popish plots and even an armada , sent against her by her Catholic brother-in-law, Philip of Spain. Although his family were outwardly Protestant, Shakespeare may well have been a closet Catholic. Historically correct, at the time it was considered politically unwise to include the scene because of parallels between the ageing queen and the former king.
King Richard had relied heavily on politically powerful favourites, as did Elizabeth; her advisors included Lord Burleigh and his son, Robert Cecil. Also, neither monarch had produced an heir to ensure the succession. It is very likely that Elizabeth was aware of the political parallels between herself and Richard II, and of the potential ramifications. At the turn of the 17th century, the play could certainly be seen as provocative, if not politically subversive and even treasonous.