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Arms from Henry IV

Coats of Arms from Shakespeare's Henry IV

When I started working on Gorilla Rep's version of Henry IV, pts 1 &2, The director, Mark Greenfield, took full advantage of my years of experience in studying things medieval. At one point he mentioned having the characters wear their coats of arms and asked my what I thought. My first impulse was to research and produce the historical arms of the characters. So it was that with the help of the website "Blazons of the Peers of Elizabethan England" and the books The Dictionary of Heraldry by Joseph Foster, A Dictionary of Heraldry edited by Stephen Friar, and Simple Heraldry - Cheerfully Illustrated by Iain Moncreiffe & Don Pottinger, I was able to come up with these blazons. Students and producers of Shakespeare's plays are welcome to use these arms (hey, look at all the work I've saved you), and scholars are invited to comment on them. My vanity only forces me to ask that you inform me of your use, abuse, comment, or criticism of my research on my guest book.

These are the roles I played:

Pt. 1

Archibald, Earl of Douglas: Argent, a chief azure charged with three mullets argent, a heart gules.

I found this device with a crown over the heart. I thought it would be confusing for the audience to see someone other then a king with a crown, so I left it out. The device is shown the same way in Roman Polanski's MacBeth on the shield of MacDuff.



Pt. 2

Prince Humphrey, Duke of Goucester: English royal arms, differenced by a bordure argent.

I had to do the Emglish royal arms eight times for all the princes and king's imposters in these plays. I hurt my foot halfway through the run and the resultant limp was really obvious when I played this character. So, I figured, since I had already interpreted this to be the least respected prince of the family, I decided to evoke another Gloucester in my limping, crook-backed performance


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