Publication Date



political theory, Queen's Men, Protestant history


The anonymous Troublesome Raigne of King John was performed by the Queen's Men probably during the height of the Armada crisis; it appeared in print in 1591. The play's few critics unanimously conclude that it is essentially a work of propaganda, a monument to Tudor orthodoxy and its principal buttress, obedience doctrine. Scott McMillin and Sally-Beth MacLean, recent historians of the Queen’s Men, add to the critical consensus their belief that Troublesome Raigne, like other Queen’s Men’s plays, attempts to convey “true” history, i.e., history consistent with official Tudor political and religious policy. The formation of the company and the composition of its repertoire, they argue, represented an effort, orchestrated by the earl of Leicester and Sir Francis Walsingham, to bring the theater “back into the service of a Protestant ideology which could also be identified with the ‘truth’ of Tudor history”. The company’s principal target was Christopher Marlowe, whose anti- or un-Christian portraits, particularly of Faustus and Tamburlaine, threatened the company’s own efforts to effect the proper use of Protestant history and the moral benefits of orthodox Protestant theater.