The history plays read like an armchair traveler's guide and a mini-geography lesson all rolled into one. You know what that means, right? It's time to pack your suitcases and grab your cameras, Shmoopsters, because we're going on an all-expense-paid trip through Tudor London, with Shakespeare as our very own personal tour guide.
What makes Henry VIII different from Shakespeare's other history plays is that he's writing about a time he was super familiar with. Sure, he gives us some great stuff when it comes to Henrys V-VI. But let's face it: those plays are about medieval England, whereas Henry VIII is practically on his doorstep. Elizabeth was born in 1533, and she was on the throne when Shakespeare first started writing.