A historical drama. Shakespeare has been claimed as its sole author, but it is usually held that he was responsible for less than half of the play, the remainder being written by J. Fletcher. Its performance in June 1613 resulted in the burning down of the Globe Theatre.
It deals with the fall and execution of the duke of Buckingham; the question of the royal divorce (vividly depicting the dignity and resignation of Queen Catherine); the pride and fall of Cardinal Wolsey and his death; the advancement and coronation of Anne Boleyn; the triumph of Cranmer over his enemies; and the christening of the Princess Elizabeth.
The chief sources of the play are Holinshed's Chronicles and Foxe's Actes and Monuments (or Book of Martyrs).
Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism.