Shakespeare's compassionate presentation of Katherine of Aragon in All Is True is part of a conscious Catholicization of the history of the English Reformation. Neither deliberately inconsistent nor merely a representative of one historical tradition presented by a Holinshedian playwright, All Is True points to the possibility of a revitalized and continuous Catholic tradition. The play responds to a militantly Protestant cluster of history plays first acted in the early 1600s and revived in the second decade of the seventeenth century, particularly to their presentation of Elizabeth. Against this Protestantized history, Shakespeare presents Katherine as a figure of the reformist possibility within Catholicism, a figure that resonates with contemporary English Catholic subculture. But Shakespeare's Katherine also alludes sympathetically to a particular royalist agenda of historical and confessional recuperation of the past, recuperation marked by the new entombment of another Catholic queen, Mary Stuart.

You do not currently have access to this content.