Kingship to be explored in upcoming Coe Thursday Forum

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Secretary of the College
(319) 399-8605 or

2017-09-21 10:02:07 - General

Bob Drexler
Bob Drexler
William P. and Gayle S. Whipple Professor Emeritus of English

"The Idea of Kingship" will be discussed in an upcoming Coe College Thursday Forum series, Oct. 5, 12, 19 and 26. William P. and Gayle S. Whipple Emeritus Professor of English Bob Drexler will explore the evolving idea of what makes a king legitimate, using the works of Shakespeare as the basis for the lectures.

Thursday Forum lectures are held in Kesler Lecture Hall in Hickok Hall on the Coe campus. Each session begins with registration and refreshments from 8:45-9:15 a.m., followed by the class until 11:30 a.m. An optional luncheon is offered at the conclusion of each series.

The chronicle histories that Shakespeare relied on when he wrote his history plays were in many ways Tudor propaganda meant to shore up their tenuous claim to the throne. The play "Richard III" is one of the main pieces in the argument that Henry VII was not a usurper, but a man destined by God to depose a tyrant. In "Henry IV, parts 1 & 2," and "Henry V," Shakespeare presents the Tudor view of what a proper king should be.

In "Macbeth," Shakespeare struggles to come to terms with the problem the Tudors had created for themselves when Henry VII, a man with a slender claim to the throne, seized power by force of arms. At the beginning of the play, Macbeth is presented as a warrior king who has just saved Scotland from the Norwegians and the Highland Scots. In the older scheme of things, he would have been king, not Duncan whose claim was based on divine right, a concept the Tudors very much wanted to propagate now that they possessed the throne.

The first session will examine the problem in "Macbeth." In the second week, the idea of a bad king in "Richard II" and "Richard III" will be discussed. In the third session, the development of a good king in the two Henry IV plays will be examined, and in the final session the Tudors' idea of a great king in "Henry V" will be presented.

The Coe College Thursday Forum Series

Coe College Thursday Forum courses are open to all adults. Admission to the entire four-week course can be purchased for $35 on the first day or in advance. Admission to individual lectures is $12 per week. The closing luncheons cost an additional $8. Payment can be made in person on Thursday mornings by cash or personal check. Credit card payments can be processed online only. For more information about paying by credit card or directly from your checking account, or to order gift certificates, call (319) 399-8623.

For the remainder of the 2017-18 academic year, the Thursday Forum schedule includes:

  • "The Scientific Revolution and the Renaissance" – Nov. 2, 9, 16, 30
  • "Diversity in Dance: The Dieman-Bennett Dance Studio in Cedar Rapids" – Dec. 7
  • "Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre - Behind the Scenes with 'Turandot'" – Jan. 18
  • "A New Arsenal: American Art during World War I" – Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22
  • "Two Scenically Beautiful Hikes in the English Countryside" - March 1
  • "Songs of Protest and Resistance" - March 8, 15, 22, 29
  • "Saints, Sinners and Secularists: Religion and Politics on the World Stage" – April 5, 12, 19, 26