Chronicle Play

History is one of the three main genres in Western theatre alongside tragedy and comedy, although it originated, in its modern form, thousands of years later than the other primary genres. For this reason, it is often treated as a subset of tragedy. A play in this genre is known as a history play and is based on a historical narrative, often set in the medieval or early modern past. History emerged as a distinct genre from tragedy in Renaissance England. The best known examples of the genre are the history plays written by William Shakespeare, whose plays still serve to define the genre. History plays also appear elsewhere in British and Western literature, such as Thomas Heywood’s Edward IV, Schiller’s Mary Stuart or the Dutch genre Gijsbrecht van Aemstel.

InfoPlease worthwhile definition of the chronicle play.

TheatreHistory.com Comprehensive discussion about the chronicle play in English theatre history.

TheatreHistory.com Useful analysis of Shakespeare’s Richard II, King John and Henry IV as examples of different types of chronicle plays.

Saint Vincent College Course outline with brief mention defining the history play.

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