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The Regal Throne

Power, Politics and Ribaldry

Nicholas Dobson was a lawyer for thirty-five years, his first degree being English studies. Fascinated by Shakespeare’s astounding breadth and depth of insight, the richness of his language, and his uncanny knowledge and instinct about the myriad nooks and crannies of the human condition, he was prompted to write a guide to the four plays where Shakespeare’s gallery of rogues, ne’er do wells and heroes engage in political rivalry and dark skulduggery.


‘If,’ advised essayist and critic William Hazlitt, ‘we wish to know the force of human genius we should read Shakespeare.’ For if anyone profoundly understood the human condition in all its forms, it was he. Lovably drunken rogues, dysfunctional kings, cowardly preening braggarts, to nobly inspiring heroes. The remarkable series of plays engaged in under The Regal Throne moves from high political intrigue to lowlife bar-room badinage. From self-indulgent regal decline to elevated and inspirational kingly valour. From adolescent delinquency and father-son tensions to exaltedly noble redemption. 

The playwright launches us on our journey with the narcissistic Richard, rapidly sowing seeds of his own decline with his callously imperious behaviour. And the ruthlessly astute Bolingbroke returning from his banishment to take the sovereign’s Crown and then his life. But Bolingbroke as Henry IV has little chance to enjoy his prize. For his tyranny breeds rebellion. Meanwhile in Cheapside, (and to his father’s chagrin), the future Henry V, as adolescent Prince Hal, disports himself in seedy taverns amongst a gallery of Hogarthian lowlifes (including the comedic heavyweight Falstaff), while quietly planning a shrewdly redemptive personal ‘remake’ as the exemplary war hero, Henry V.

 A rich tapestry indeed. But whilst Shakespeare’s early modern English is reasonably understandable, many words and references aren’t. For slang is constantly shape-shifting. And, particularly with Shakespeare’s bar-room banter it’s helpful to know just what the characters are saying to and about each other. The author explains each scene of all four plays in detail with copious quotations from Shakespeare’s text throughout and substantial hypertext explanatory notes. The Regal Throne is an invaluable companion for all who set sail on this vibrant Shakespearean voyage into power, politics, and ribaldry.


Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78976-164-1
Paperback Price: £35 / $50
Release Date: September 2022
   
Page Extent / Format: 520 pp. 246 x 171 mm
Illustrated: No
   

 


Contents


A Note from the Author

The Cover Illustrations


BOOK ONE

Richard II: ‘Wasted time’ of an Impolitic Politician

Polluted Fount of Justice

Seeds of Destruction Sown

Richard Seals his Imminent Fate

Richard’s Reign Starts to Unravel

Bolingbroke Starts his Ascent to the ‘Regal Throne’

Richard Descends as Bolingbroke Rises

Richard Starts to Disintegrate

Fall and Rise

Marriage Divided

Redirected Loyalty and a Royal Pardon

Endgame

The ‘Guilty Hand’ of Bolingbroke


BOOK TWO

Henry IV Part 1: ‘Comet’ King, Slow Reforming Prince and the

Famous Fat Knight of Misrule

Bubbling Turbulence

Falstaff and a Calculating Prince

Fuse Ignited

Lowlife and Princely Shenanigans

Uncertain Enterprise for a Single-Minded Man of War

Lowlife and Princely Knockabout

Conspirators in Uneasy Meeting

Lowlife Revisited before the Imminent Storm

Rebel Setbacks

Varletry and Valour

Parley

Worse News for the Rebels

Dialogue Between the Parties

Battle and Royal Victory

Endgame and Rebellion Continues


BOOK THREE

Henry IV Part 2: Uneasy Crown, Final Fling

and Chilly Redemption

Rumour

False Comfort and Dawning Reality – The Rebellion Continues

Falstaff – Verbal Comedy Knockabout with the Lord Chief Justice

Rebel Camp Deliberations

Review Quotes to Follow


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