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History Play

  A History Play is a play that draws on historical events and characters, rather than imaginary ones, as the primary source of its plot. The historical material is usually shaped in order to influence audiences\' understanding both of their own assumptions about their history and of their own contemporary existence by drawing analogies between contemporary and historical experience. Inevitably, history plays, given the nature and conventions of theatre, are selective and may rearrange chronology and amalgamate characters in the service of the design of the play: this sometimes gives rise to controversy with literal-minded commentators and with political figures sensitive to the analogies plays and audiences might make. The term Chronicle Play is generally used to describe plays that are less sophisticated in their presentation of historical material and which demand less complex reactions. TRG SS

Further reading I. Ribner, The English Play in the Age of Shakespeare; , H. Lindenberger, Historical Drama.



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