By Jack Farmer
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The King and the Playwright

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BBC4, Mondays at 9pm, and on BBC iPlayer
Issue 2302

This absorbing series features historian James Shapiro looking at the reign of James I in the light Shakespeare’s plays.

We often think of Shakespeare as an Elizabethan playwright, but many of his plays were written during James’s reign, such as Macbeth, Coriolanus and Timon of Athens.

Shapiro shows how the political unrest of the time might have fed into these works. For example Timon of Athens unravels the power of money—one reason Karl Marx was so fond of the play.

Watch The King and the Playwright on BBC iPlayer

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