This course studies the relationship between the monarch and the playwrite, the court and the theatre, at a time when England is redefining itself, its language, its polity and ideology, and when both institutions are taking on new roles in the context of more modern ideas of nationhood. We can think of the Palace of Whitehall and the Tower on the north side of the river Thames, with the Globe and some of its fellow theaters on the other (more disreputable) Sounth Bank, each using, provoking, reflecting, and responding to the other. Shakespeare's history plays, providing a critique of monarchy, are a big popular success; the company is also invited to perform the plays for entertainment at court; Elizabeth herself, especially in her public appearances, is a master of theater. What are the elements of the relationship, some antagonistic, come collaborative? How does the relationship help to shape the citizenship in Early Modern England? How does it change over time? How does the study of this relationship throw light on the current relationship of politics and the arts in our own society? Students participate in seminar discussions of the plays; of Elizabeth's own writings; and of different interpretations offered by historians and literary critics. For the research paper, students can choose from a range of topics having to do with literature, political history, political rhetoric, theater history, sociology, or other disciplines.