restricted access Gender, Genre, and Elizabeth’s Princely Surrogates in Henry IV and Henry V

In opposition to readings of The First Part of Henry the Fourth, The Second Part of Henry the Fourth, and The Life of Henry the Fifth that see the plays’ male-dominated worlds as an erasure of Elizabeth, this essay demonstrates that England’s queen in fact powerfully shapes Henry IV and Hal. These plays present a fantasy of a regenerated, revitalized Elizabeth, and this essay argues that our reading of the Henriad’s gender politics and of Shakespeare’s treatment of Elizabeth, maternity, and feminine political power must therefore change. Furthermore, this essay deepens our understanding of the synergy between Shakespeare’s comedies and histories, exploring how these genres responded to their cultural moment during the 1590s.