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King Edward III

William Shakespeare

Book Overview: 

The Reign of King Edward the Third is an Elizabethan play. It has frequently been claimed that it was at least partly written by William Shakespeare, a view that Shakespeare scholars have increasingly endorsed. The rest of the play was probably written by Thomas Kyd. The play contains many gibes at Scotland and the Scottish people, which has led some critics to think that it is the work that incited George Nicolson, Queen Elizabeth's agent in Edinburgh, to protest against the portrayal of Scots on the London stage in a 1598 letter to William Cecil, Lord Burghley. This would explain why the play was not included in the First Folio of Shakespeare's works, which was published after the Scottish King James had succeeded to the English throne in 1603. The plot of the play consists of two distinct parts. The first is centered on the Countess of Salisbury (the wife of the Earl of Salisbury), who, beset by rampaging Scots, is rescued by King Edward III, who then proceeds to woo her himself. In the second part of the play, in several scenes reminiscent of Henry V, Edward joins his army in France, fighting a war to claim the French throne.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .To spring from ordure and corruption's side.
But, to make up my all too long compare,
These ragged walls no testimony are,
What is within; but, like a cloak, doth hide
>From weather's Waste the under garnished pride.
More gracious then my terms can let thee be,
Intreat thy self to stay a while with me.

As wise, as fair; what fond fit can be heard,
When wisdom keeps the gate as beauty's guard?—
It shall attend, while I attend on thee:
Come on, my Lords; here will I host to night.


ACT II. SCENE I. The Same. Gardens of the Castle.

[Enter Lodowick.]

I might perceive his eye in her eye lost,
His ear to drink her sweet tongue's utterance,
And changing passion, like inconstant clouds
That rack upon the carriage of the winds,
Increase and die in hi. . . Read More

Community Reviews

am i missing something or is this just boring as hell. shoutout to the countess and the minor amounts of homoeroticism in the latter acts

This play, one of the histories attributed to Shakespeare, is among those that have only in recent decades come to be included in The Bard’s canon. While the current consensus among Shakespeare experts seems to be that this play was authored or co-authored by Shakespeare, it remains possible that it

I read this as research for my novel the Shakespeare Twins.

If this play is indeed Shakespeare--and it seems at least a part of it is--it wins the award for worst history play, beating "King John" by at least a length and a half. Like "John," it is an episodic, shambling thing, but it has nothing half as good as the bastard Falconbridge to recommend it.


Edward III is an odd little play that feels disjointed but definitely not bad. It has been partly attributed to William Shakespeare, perhaps as much as 50% and as either revisionist of an original script or a true co-written work. In either part, Shakespeare is part of Edward III and so I read on.


Wow. In its own way this is worse than Titus Andronicus. Less gruesome, and, unlike "Titus," the characters have plausible motivations, but this is so stunningly incoherent that it deserves some sort of special recognition. Oh, and an "English king" play where we are cheering for the French? Edward

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