Shakespeare’s history plays, with their insistent depictions of leadership and its discontents, have prompted very different critical views over the last four centuries. This book introduces students to the key critical debates under five headings: genre, history and politics, gender and sexuality, language, and performance.The Guide serves both to enhance students’ enjoyment of the history plays and to broaden their critical repertoire. By presenting ten recent critical interventions in the field, it provides a compendium of current scholarship. These articles are contextualised with brief critical overviews and annotated suggestions for further reading. An additional chapter on pre-twentieth-century criticism is mainly in narrative form but excerpts significant early views by Johnson, Hazlitt and Coleridge.