Reign of King Edward IV

Historical Context Essay

Download PDF Add to Bookshelf Tweet Report an Error

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…

2321 words

Citation: Dougherty, David C.. "Reign of King Edward IV". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 January 2005 [, accessed 03 June 2023.]

618 Reign of King Edward IV 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.