Id read Henry IV (both parts) multiple times without realizing that Richard II is considered the first play in the War of the Roses series. When Bolingbroke returns and deposes Richard, he robs him of everything which made Richard great. hath Bolingbroke deposed Thine intellect?" (Queen, Act 5 Scene 1) The language resonated with me.
Shakespeares wonderful like that; hell write a line or a piece of verse that can be taken in so many ways, ultimately, changing the meaning of the play depending on how it is read or adapted. To Richards mind he is the undisputed mortal representative of Gods will on earth; he simply cannot be wrong in his actions. Comparatively, Henry Bolingbroke is a man taking back his confiscated fortune and birth right. When the crown comes into play it becomes incredibly difficult to perceive who the victim of the play is. Richard is a boy King; his body grew but his mind never fully developed to the realities of the world. Thats what comes of a mind-set that perceives itself as a conduits of Gods divine will. It is simply the will of the King and of God. Conversely, Bolingbroke faces down the King and usurps his throne. Thus, Richard believes that God has abandoned him so he willingly gives the crown to Bolingbroke but, not without his final display of victimisation. "For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground And tell sad stories of the death of kings; How some have been deposed; some slain in war, Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed; Some poison'd by their wives: some sleeping kill'd; All murder'd: for within the hollow crown That rounds the mortal temples of a king Keeps Death his court and there the antic sits, Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp, Allowing him a breath, a little scene, To monarchize, be fear'd and kill with looks, Infusing him with self and vain conceit, As if this flesh which walls about our life, Were brass impregnable, and humour'd thus Comes at the last and with a little pin Bores through his castle wall, and farewell king!
Book Review 4 out of 5 stars to Richard II, a tragedy or historical account written in 1595 by William Shakespeare. It's more of a historical account, a point-in-time view of what was happening. If you're not a history buff, there's no point in reading it, other than perhaps for some of the beauty in the images being created in each passage and in the dialogue. You might even want to brush up on the time period by reading some historical fiction such as a few of the books by Philippa Gregory covering these characters. here's the scoop: I read A LOT.
Richard II begins the weakness of kings, where if one could be deposed, yet more can follow. Frankly, I'm really surprised at the balance of this play, where Richard, boy king, makes monstrously poor decisions and banishes Henry Bolingbroke and later steals all his lands to fund a war in Ireland which goes disastrously. And indeed, this play is perfectly historical in that respect, even if the man Richard was actually pretty good with finances and stopped fighting for war in France because England couldn't support it. It makes for great spectacle, that's for sure, and we even get one of the longest soliloquies in Shakespeare right from Richard's mouth. Same goes for old Gaunt's ramblings, which are tragic because he knew that Richard would disenfranchise Henry, but that's the beauty of these plays. Oddly enough, since I had just read King Henry IV part one this month, which directly follows the events in Richard II, I was horrified and bemused by Henry's several references to having bloody hands and washing them after Richard's death, because some twenty years later, as the king, he suffers from boils and agues on his hands and face, almost as if it is divine retribution for deposing the rightful king, and he always keeps gloves on and rubs his hands incessantly.
Gaunts England soliloquy is powerful as is several by the deposed and introspective king, and I especially liked Yorks confrontation with Bolingbroke and the rebels.
After writing the tetralogy of Henry VI (in three parts) and Richard III, Shakespeare wanted to explore the origins of the Wars of the Roses. There are, however, in this play, some of the most touching expressions of patriotism and, at the same time, the fiercest criticism of political power. For instance, compare Richards I live with bread like you, feel want, taste greed, need friends (III,2), and Shylocks famous If you prick us, do we not bleed?
William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. His plays have been translated into every major living language, and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. Shakespeare was a respected poet and playwright in his own day, but his reputation did not rise to its present heights until the nineteenth century. There have been plays and sonnets attributed to Shakespeare that were not authentically written by the great master of language and literature.