The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0421 Wednesday, 10 March 1999.
From: Tad Davis <
Date: Tuesday, 09 Mar 1999 10:09:03 -0500
Subject: 10.0392 Re: "Elizabeth"
Comment: Re: SHK 10.0392 Re: "Elizabeth"
Judy Lewis wrote:
>I had trouble finding more than a couple of facts in "Elizabeth" that
>were actually true, and "Braveheart" of a few yeras ago similarly
>distorted the past for some imaginary dramatic effect. What really
>angers me over the treatment of historical fact in "Elizabeth" - and in
>"Titanic" for that matter - is there is more dramatic impact in the
>genuine history, in the real happenings, than in the invented ones.
I've often felt the same way, when I knew something about the historical
background of a play. But Shakespeare himself doesn't seem to have
scrupled about moving things around when it suited his dramatic
purpose. And having been on the other side of the fence-adapting a
familiar historical episode into a play-I'm much more sympathetic to the
difficulties involved in remaining faithful both to the historical
sources and to one's own dramatic vision. The frisson that sometimes
comes from reading about actual events is often lost when the events are
translated to stage or screen in a literal way.
My take on "Elizabeth" is that it's an attempt to show the reign of
Elizabeth as it might have been portrayed by somebody like John
Webster. In some ways it's closer to "The Duchess of Malfi" than to the
actual chronicles of the reign.