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        Shakespeare and the Evolution of Character

        This series of videos from Shakespeare Uncovered explores the many ways Shakespeare showed the dramatic evolution of a character. This aspect of Shakespeare’s plays is specifically examined in Macbeth, The Tempest, and three history plays, Richard II, Henry IV, and Henry V, which chronicle the lives and journeys of successive kings of England beginning with Richard II. The videos show characters in inescapable positions forced to make decisions under mounting pressures. Several videos delve into the concept of the Divine Right of Kings and how it informs the actions and choices of both Richard II and Henry IV. In Henry V, Shakespeare creates a coming-of-age story in the character evolution of Prince Hal who began as a reckless young prince in Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2 and who now emerges as a very successful king of England.

        Finding Richard

        Actors Derek Jacobi and Jamie Parker discuss how they go about portraying Richard II in a manner that both reflects the nuances of his psyche while accessibly advancing the narrative for audiences unfamiliar with the play.

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        Divine Right: Richard II's Claim to the Throne

        As Richard II’s rival Henry Bolingbroke lands in England and prepares his campaign against the crown, the king comforts himself by musing on what he believes is his divine anointment and protection.

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        The Anointed King

        This video explores historical echoes of Richard II’s isolated delusions of invincibility in the downfalls of more recent leaders ranging from Saddam Hussein to Margaret Thatcher, and reflects upon the rise and fall of all rulers in the world’s never-ending cycles of power.

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        The Deposition Scene

        This video provides an analysis of what Richard II is thinking as he renounces his crown and gives power to the victorious Henry Bolingbroke. It highlights the “deposition scene” from Richard II, exploring its tone and words, and features a script reading and rehearsal of the scene.

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        Now Doth Time Waste Me

        Richard II reflects upon his life while imprisoned in Pontefract Castle. The video provides an analysis of Richard II’s speech in his prison cell and addresses his identity crisis and his ultimate realization after having renounced the crown – he is not a king, but merely a man.

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        Uneasy Lies the Head That Wears a Crown

        In the aftermath of a bloody victory at Shrewsbury against Harry Hotspur, the deeply religious Henry IV finds himself guilty about the loss of life in defense of his crown, the taking of that crown from Richard II, and the offense against the divine order that deposing a king represents.

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        Meet Prince Hal

        In this video, King Henry IV is desperately worried about the state of England and looks to his son to step into a leadership role. Prince Hal, on the other hand, does not seem ready for the responsibilities of a king; he would rather have fun and mess round in the pub.

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        Hal's Moral Compass

        This video highlights how Hal matures and changes over the course of Henry IV, Part 1 culminating when, fighting alongside his father in the Battle of Shrewsbury, they defeat Harry Hotspur and his rebel army. Actor Tom Hiddleston discusses how Hal’s moral compass changes as a result of fighting with his father and how he begins to view Falstaff as a coward and a liar.

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        Tomorrow Speech

        This video segment examines one of Shakespeare’s most famous soliloquies, which Macbeth delivers after hearing of his wife's death.

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        The Betrayed Duke Prospero

        This segment describes the character Prospero and highlights the way he uses magic in The Tempest. The video introduces the fact that the play hinges on the moral question of whether or not Prospero will seek revenge against the people who have hurt him, given his human desire for vengeance and his supernatural powers.

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        "I'll Drown My Book ..." | Shakespeare Uncovered

        This video segment discusses the turning point of William Shakespeare's The Tempest, when the spirit Ariel urges Prospero to practice forgiveness; as a result, he decides to surrender his magical powers. The segment features the famous scene in which Prospero vows to drown his magical book, and host Trevor Nunn discusses his belief that The Tempest was Shakespeare’s farewell to the theater.

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        Funder: Shakespeare Uncovered is made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the generous support of the project’s lead foundation sponsor, the Howard and Abby Milstein Foundation. Major funding is also provided by Rosalind P. Walter, The Polonsky Foundation, Virginia and Dana Randt, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, and PBS.
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