Date of Completion

Spring 5-9-2010

Thesis Advisor(s)

Elizabeth Hart

Honors Major



English Language and Literature | Literature in English, British Isles


The purpose of this thesis will be to examine how two acts of rebellion against Queen Elizabeth I influenced Shakespeare's writing of Richard II and Henry V, as well as the performance and publication of these plays. The treasonous plots and execution of Mary, Queen of Scots in the 1580s, as well as the failed Essex Rebellion of 1601, resulted in a sensitivity towards any writings that seemed to support a coup d'état. Shakespeare, being a well-informed and fairly well-connected playwright, wrote passages in the afore mentioned plays that clearly reflect the political turmoil of the times. Thus, his plays were censored both on stage and in print until after the death of Elizabeth in 1603.