The Second Coming of the Second Tetralogy: Shakespeare's Depiction of that "Which is, and Which was, and Which is to come"

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Title: The Second Coming of the Second Tetralogy: Shakespeare's Depiction of that "Which is, and Which was, and Which is to come"
Author: Price, Trudy Jones
Advisors: Dr. Michael Grimwood, Committee Member
Dr. M. Thomas Hester, Committee Chair
Dr. Brian Blackley, Committee Member
Abstract: Shakespeare's second tetralogy is framed by various biblical types, images and allusions in order to dramatize a specific period in history in terms of divine history. Shakespeare develops the tetralogy's structure using the structure of the Bible, beginning with an image of Genesis and ending with an image of Revelation. The first play, The Tragedy of Richard II, portrays England as a fallen "demi-paradise," reminiscent of Eden, and Richard as a fallen man, a type of Adam whose tragic fall creates the need for a redeemer of England, as reccounted in the providential history of Genesis. This redeemer comes to life in his next two plays, The History of King Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2 in the character of Prince Hal, who is depicted later to be "the mirror of all Christian princes." Henry IV, Part I dramatizes Hal's gradual "revelation" as that "redeemer" and also introduces Apocalyptic images in order to foreshadow the hardships portrayed in the next two plays. Henry IV, Part 2 "mocks [our] expectations" raised by Hal's success as one who will "Redeem...time" by allowing the play to linger on as we wait for Henry IV's imminent death. The tetralogy presents the Fall of man and need for a redeemer, the waiting time (chronos) that must be endured, and the season and fulfillment of that time (kairos) in order to show the audience how to seize their own kairos and live a life worthy of imitation, as Henry V did. An analogical reading of Henry V thus shows Henry to be a character created not to represent Christ, but to remind the audience that Christ is on His way and to provide them with a mirror of how to live according to His word, specifically as revealed in Revelation.
Date: 2006-04-24
Degree: MA
Discipline: English
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/478


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