SHAKESPEARE: THE KING'S MAN
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Episode 1- Incertainties: Monarch changes, religious fervor, period incertainties [Shakespearean word no longer in use] drive the arts to new heights including Shakespeare and his theatre, popular media of the age. 1603 brought a dying Queen and theatre closings... Then the unpredictable King of Scots reigns. King James I. He banned Sunday theatre but also named Shakespeare's Company as his own "The King's Players." Shakespeare became "The King's Man." Plague followed. Theatre called Jacobean sin.
"Oh Lear, Lear, Lear!" -WS (William Shakespeare)
2- Equivocation: Shakespeare authors art of double meanings. The episode's title was a new word exposing lying, deceit--a new dark age (1606) exploited by Shakespeare. It produced Nov 5- Guy Fawkes Day. "Macbeth" tragedy sums up the times, "who committed treason enough for God's sake but could not equivocate to heaven. O! come in, equivocator." -WS
It was a time of high spectacle. A new flag (Union Jack), symbol of a united "Great" Britain. Alas, King James was not loved. "Anthony & Cleopatra"-- "Be a child of the time." -WS. Octavius represented King James.
Shakespeare's economic investment trap leads to his last tragedy,"Coriolanus."
"That's a brave fellow; But he's vengeance proud, and loves not the common people." -WS
3- Legacy: 1610 "A Winter's Tale" "A sad tale's best for winter..." -WS.Read more ›
Of course it's a challenge what the camera will actually photograph in telling a story like this one, 400 years after the events under consideration.Read more ›
I’m willing to concede many of Shapiro’s major surmises, however, such as how events of the day may have impacted Shakespeare’s writings, for they mostly make perfect sense; but one must view this program with just a pinch of salt, at least when it comes to Shakespeare’s biography.
But the play’s the thing, is it not? And Shapiro’s knowledge of the time and key events in the reign of King James I is the real meat of the story, drawing us in with a fresh perspective on Shakespeare’s works that has rarely, if ever, (to my knowledge) been considered before.
And that consideration is Shakespeare as Jacobean playwright (meaning he wrote during the reign of King James) as opposed to being solely a product of the Elizabethan era, which many people assume. As Shapiro delves deep into the events and changes of the time, the significance of this “discovery” becomes fascinatingly apparent.
This is the ultimate value of this outstanding three episode series: how it provides new insight into some of the most important plays in world literature. Not an easy task.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Informative, but very slow, and too much filler and dead air for use in classes.Published 17 months ago by Gwen Crane
Very interesting, informative and intelligent. Excellent. I enjoyed it immensely and learned a bit too. I can only recommend it.Published 18 months ago by Daniel McCullough
I purchased this DVD after I had seen some of this program on UK TV. I liked it so much I wanted to see it again. I love the documentary, and am a fan of James Shapiro. Read morePublished on March 12, 2014 by Carole
Coming from James Shapiro, who wrote the excellent book about Shakespeare, 1599, this video is a big let-down. Read morePublished on August 13, 2013 by Michael Folie
It gave me a new understanding of the Jacobean plays. Good stuff for a Shakespeare buff and a history buff. It's long but if you make an evening of it you'll learn a lot.Published on July 4, 2013 by Kathy Stoker
Since the dating of the plays is entirely without factual foundation, since, for example, the play Macbeth contains at least one allusion to an event of 1583-4, and was most... Read morePublished on May 23, 2013 by steve steinburg
This set includes a bonus disc of a 1983 production of Macbeth, but most of the material is recent--in widescreen and stereo. Nicely done throughout.Published on April 29, 2013 by Stephen