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Title: ‘Thy Hunger-Starved Men’: Shakespeare’s Henry plays and the contemporary lot of the common soldier
Authors: Leahy, WJ
Keywords: Shakespeare;Common people;Henry VI;Soldiers
Issue Date: 2003
Publisher: Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies
Citation: Parergon: Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, pp. 119-134, Jul 2003
Series/Report no.: ;20.2
Abstract: Between 1589 and 1599 Shakespeare wrote six Henry plays, two on the reign of Henry IV, one on that of Henry V and three covering that of Henry VI. An important preoccupation, which runs through all of these plays, is the conditions in which common soldiers lived. The years leading up to the appearance of the first of the plays, 1 Henry VI, saw many outbreaks of discontentment on the part of the soldiers in Elizabeth I’s army. The mass recruitment of troops for Ireland in the 1590s increased such discontentment. This paper examines the contemporary lot of the common soldiers, and shows that Shakespeare’s interest in their situation was one that articulated pervasive, early modern anxieties.
ISSN: 0313 6221
Appears in Collections:English and Creative Writing
Dept of Arts and Humanities Research Papers

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