Tuesday, February 23, 2010

King Hapless

Quick! If somebody said “the most hapless of Monarchs”, in reference to a Shakespeare character, who are they talking about?

All the fun is taken out of the question, though, when you get to the second half  : “This king is in the title of Shakespeare’s only trilogy,” and the answer is of course Henry,


Apparently it was a question on Jeopardy.

I’ve always thought it would be great for Jeopardy to do a Shakespeare-themed show.  They periodically have a category for him, which is nice, but if you really tried I bet you could fill up the entire board, twice.  And then we Shakespeare geeks could Tivo it and watch again and again and again and again ….

UPDATE: As clarified for me in the comments, the answer of “Henry” is hardly sufficient, as Henry IV/V/VI refer to different people, AND Henry VI is actually 3 plays by itself.  So the correct Jeopardy answer would have been, “Who is Henry VI?”

It was early and I was blatantly reposting without thinking.  Sorry for the lapse in quality, folks.  Go read the Judi Dench post that came next, I promise I actually researched all my links for that one. :)


Bill said...

I hesitate to play Bad Geek, but you should take another look at that answer. Your source is somewhat off base.

Duane said...

Enlighten me, Bill? Was there another King who was the subject of a trilogy of plays?

I went googling around for references and I did find this:


(Encyclopedia Brittanica, 1910)

"Henry was the most hapless of monarchs. He was so honest and well meaning that he might have made a good ruler in quiet times. But he was crushed by the burden of his inheritance. He had not the genius to find a way out of the French entanglement or the skill to steer a constitutional monarchy between rival factions. So the system and policy which were the creations of Henry IV and Henry V led under Henry VI to the ruin of their dynasty."

(page 286)

What am I missing?

Duane said...

By the way, both "most hapless of monarchs" as well as "shakespeare trilogy" appear to be giant spam phrases, and even my google results for those terms were like 90% garbage. In case anybody else is planning to go searching around.

Carsonist said...

Ok, first, that website you linked to is an idiot. The question is "who is Henry VI", not just "Henry". Shakespeare's first plays are supposed to be Henry VI, parts I through III.

Henry IV through VI isn't a trilogy of plays, it's six plays. (Henry IV 1&2, Henry V, and Henry VI I-III). I have to admit, I expected better than just reposting some link.

Duane said...

Ok, ouch? I have a day job, folks, and sometimes I grab links from the morning's news feed and just toss them up. They don't all come with research.

But, mea culpa, you're also right -- the accurate answer would be Henry VI, who had 3 plays all by himself, and not just the generic name "Henry" who is different people at different times. I expect if somebody on Jeopardy had said "Who is King Henry" then Alex Trebek would logically have asked, "Which one?"

I will have to pay more attention in the future, especially when reposting links I find first thing in the morning. My brain did indeed lump the Henry's IV/V/VI together thinking that perhaps they were referring just to the name and not to a specific person (like "This name of a king was the title of three plays"). Henry VI honestly never came to me.

Totally willing to admit a mistake. My bad. I could just delete this post and not worry about it, but that's not really my style.

Carsonist said...

Perhaps I came off as harsher than I meant. It's so hard to convey emotion through the internet. I read the article too, and he sounds so authoritative, I don't blame you for being taken in.

carol said...

Found your blog through a convoluted set of circumstances. Not sure where you live, but if you are anywhere near the Philadelphia/South Jersey area - my group, the Collingswood Shakespeare Company is doing the Henry VI trilogy - sort of. Our director combined the three Henry VI's into two parts, and the 3rd part is Richard III, to encompass the Wars of the Roses. www.collingswoodshakespeare.org.

I thought, as a fellow Shakespeare Geek, you'd be interested!