This paper studies the topic of crusades and crusading in Shakespeare's King John, Richard II, 1&2 Henry IV, and Henry V within the medieval religious, political, and historical contexts seen retrospectively from the perspective of the Elizabethan England of Reformation. It surveys and analyzes Shakespeare's revisionist views of that medieval historical phenomenon, and demonstrates that he addresses the main aspects of that issue with some liberty he gathered from the cultural outlook developed after his country had sailed away from medieval ideologies and politics. Shakespeare looks back and evaluates not only the holy wars directed against the Muslims in the Holy Land but also against European countries that disobeyed the decrees of the papacy of Rome. Shakespeare maintains that both internal and external crusades launched against the Muslims in the Near East were devastating to Europe and the Europeans. To explicate his critical views of these campaigns, Shakespeare highlights three points: first, he demonstrates the devastating effects of the crusade against England during the reign of King John; secondly, he displays the ensuing conflicts among European countries that participated in the famous Third Crusade after their return to Europe; and thirdly, he casts doubts about the genuine motives behind launching these campaigns against the East and against the disobedient European countries, thus anticipating modern skepticism about the real drives of the political and religious leaders behind these missions. The current study will address these three issues as expressed in the histories of Shakespeare in the hope to shed further light on the meaning of the plays within their historical contexts and clarify Shakespeare’s view on these popular medieval events
AlAbdullah, Mufeed F.
"Shakespeare’s Revisionist Historiography of the Crusades and Crusading,"
Jerash for Research and Studies Journal مجلة جرش للبحوث والدراسات: Vol. 21:
2, Article 13.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.aaru.edu.jo/jpu/vol21/iss2/13