Reign of King Edward IV

(2321 words)
  • David C. Dougherty (Loyola University Maryland)

Historical Context Essay

Of the many late-Plantagenet kings portrayed as weak or even despicable by William Shakespeare, none have as good a case for libel as Edward IV (1442-1483; regnal 1461-70, 1471-83): it has long been believed by many historians and literary scholars that Shakespeare contributed, if late in the game, to an orchestrated campaign to justify the Tudor coup of 1485. Even a hundred years after the fact, the Tudor establishment encouraged stories about the weakness and depravity of the late-Plantagenet monarchs in order to justify the invasion by Henry VII (1457-1509, regnal 1485-1509) and his establishment of the Tudor line. Whether Shakespeare was a deliberate propagandist, or whether he simply based his great historical dramas o…

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Dougherty, David C.. "Reign of King Edward IV". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 January 2005
[, accessed 30 November 2015.]

Related Groups

  1. Reigns and Monarchy in the British Isles