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Henriad is a common title used by scholars for Shakespeare's second historical tetralogy, comprising Richard II; Henry IV, Part 1; Henry IV, Part 2; and Henry V.[1][2] Although it was the second tetralogy to be written and performed, the subject matter comes chronologically before the first tetralogy. The term derived from the Classical epics the Iliad and Aenead.

While it is not known whether Shakespeare conceived of the plays as a cycle, these plays are often interpreted and performed in relation to each other, since they represent a continuous period of English history using recurring characters and including direct references to previous plays. References to these four plays as the Henriad can be found on TV and scholarly literature.[3][4][5][6]

The scope of the term Henriad, however, is up for debate; that is, some scholars include Shakespeare's first tetralogy, comprising plays Henry VI, Part 1; Henry VI, Part 2; Henry VI, Part 3; and Richard III in the Henriad. Though The Merry Wives of Windsor is set in the same period of history and includes many of the Henriad characters, it is typically seen as a separate work.[7]

Productions of the Henriad[edit]


  1. ^ http://plays.about.com/od/plays/a/Best-Of-Shakespeare-Number-One-Play.htm
  2. ^ http://www.empireonline.com/forum/tm.asp?m=3359966
  3. ^ The BBC's Henriad; Literature/Film Quarterly 21; 1993
  4. ^ Shakespeare on Screen: The Henriad, edited by Sara Hatchuel and Nathalie Vienne-Guerrin; Publications des Universites de Rouen et du Havre, 2008
  5. ^ Metadrama in Shakespeare's Henriad, by James Calderwood, University of California Press, 1979
  6. ^ Crisis of Degree in Shakespeare's Henriad, by Laurie E. Osbourne, Vol. 25, No. 2, Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama, 1985
  7. ^ Stanton, K., "Shakespeare's quantum physics", The Merry Wives of Windsor: New Critical Essays, Routledge, 2014, p.83ff.
  8. ^ http://www.theatermirror.com/CRr2h4tr.htm
  9. ^ https://ryanasmussenshakescene.wordpress.com/tag/henriad/
  10. ^ http://eclecticpond.org/shows/2013-2014/the-wars-of-the-roses/