Richard Ii

Richard II Richard became king at the age of ten, taking over for his father, Edward the Black Prince, Edward IIIs oldest son, who predeceased his father. This elevation gave the boy authority over all nobles, including his uncles. Once crowned, Richards right to rule and to have his commands obeyed was supported by the order of God, since it was believed that the kings power was issued directly from God. The king served as the representative of God on Earth, and to resist the will of the king was to onset oneself against the order of the universe and the will of God. Therefore, the king ruled by divine right, and it was this belief that served as Richards primary weapon. Richard is a king and not simply a man and this play is about the claim of a king.

Most of Richards actions have to do with the act of kingly power or the failure to act. Richard is not just; the matter of Gloucesters death proves just that. As long as Richard is king he is just the landlord of England. Richard is unjust towards Gaunt and replies with rage and threat “A lunatic lean-witted fool.” His coldness at the passing of a great man is shocking but with his next lines he moves from the insensitive to the illegal. When he seizes Gaunts possessions he breaks the law and deprives Bolingbroke of his inheritance he strikes at the foundations of his own power but still believes that he is right in everything that he does. If Bolingbroke, Duke of Hereford and the son of the Duke of Lancaster, does not inherit his father’s lands and titles, Richard is challenging the same rule that gave him the right to govern England, by inheritance from his father the Black Prince and his grandfather Edward III.

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When King Richard lands on the coast of Wales, he is aware of the existence of the rebellion but convinced that the nature of the kingship will protect him. Not all the water in the rough rude sea Can wash the balm from an anointed king.. For every man that Bolingbroke hath pressed To lift shrewd steel against our golden crown, God for his Richard hath in heavenly pay A glorious angel.. Richards elaborate comparison here of the king to the sun, leads into his belief of divine right. Many qualities of this quotation reflect the character of Richard; he sees himself as the glorious fire, which is parallel to the traditional image of the King as the sun. When Richard actually removes the crown, he does so with a poetic flair that intimates that he, a divinely ordained king, will always possess a majesty that Bolingbroke, forever a usurper, can only dream of: With mine own tears I wash away my balm, With mine own hands I give away my crown..

The implication is that only a lawful king can follow this ceremony, and Bolingbroke will never have such status, he will forever be smaller then Richard, who concludes his performance with a line of forgiveness. Though I did wish him dead, I hate the murderer.. Henry banishes the knight from his presence and decides on a voyage to the Holy Land to compensate his guilt. For he has killed a king, the Lords ordained, and it is a crime that will cast a dark shadow over England for a long time to come. I believe that Shakespeare was writing this play with the belief in divine right.

Shakespeare is writing this play for the Queens pleasure and his views cannot be so drastic or he could be beheaded. There are many references to God in relation to Richard and divine right. When Richard gives up his crown he also loses his identity, we should hate Richard for being a weak ruler and love Bolingbroke for being strong and able to take a stand on the many issues Richard could not, but the reverse happens at the end of this play.

Richard II

Richard II was one of Shakespeare’s political works depicting the rise and fall of King Richard II. Richard became king of England as a boy at 10 years of age, although his advisors made most of the political decisions of the kingdom until he matured. During this maturation period, Richard was more interested in learning about aesthetic things in life rather than things more responsible to the monarch. He had very little experience and talent in the areas of military tactics and his decisions relating to the monarch seemed arbitrary.

These traits that Richard displayed were not befitting to a king and a man who was suppose to lead. Rather than look out for the interests of his people, Richard was more inclined to favor the interests of the rich and greedy. He implemented excessive taxing, and took profits by appropriating other peoples land for his own benefit and to fund a foreign war. Richard also went as far as alienating himself from his most important supporters, the nobleman. Ultimately, this led to the downfall of his reign as king.

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As public discontent with Richard grew, Henry of Bolingbroke, whom Richard had sent into exile, emerged as the strongest opposition to Richard’s thrown. In addition to banishment, Henry was also unfairly taken of his families’ wealth, land, and title, from which he was the rightful heir. Henry contrasted Richard in many ways, in that he was honest, and very practical. Furthermore, Henry was very reluctant to assume the role of future King, eventually accepting after urging and support from the other nobles.
While Richard left England to oversee the progress of his foreign war, Henry and the other nobles began plans to take Richard’s kingdom. This was a crucial mistake on Richard’s part. By not taking care of issues on the domestic front, Richard’s followers and soldiers grew increasingly weary of his ability to lead and be an effective king, eventually siding with Henry. Henry proceeded to capture Bristol Castle, a stronghold of Richard’s and began his plans on being ordained future king.

Upon Richard’s return to England, he learns of the events that had transpired in his absence. At first his own arrogance allows him to believe that since it is his God given right to rule as King, he will be protected. But then just as quickly, Richard’s arrogance turns into despair upon the realization that Henry has gained support of the nobles and the people of England. Henry and Richard finally meet at Ramparts Castle leading to the climax of the play. Henry demands retribution for the allocation of his families’ possessions and titles, and demands that his sentence of exile be revoked. Richard agrees to these demands with little or no resistance showing further proof of his weakness as a leader by not enforcing his decisions.

After replacing Richard as the dominant figure and more efficient leader, Richard reluctantly assumes the role of king; realizing that this is an unprecedented change going against the common belief that the reigning king is a title that is given by divine right. As king, Henry immediately imprisons Richard where he is eventually slain, securing Henry’s new role as king. Henry then shows his compassion as a leader by declaring a period of mourning, ending the play with a planned pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

The play Richard II brings to light many important issues of leadership. Shakespeare eloquently shows the reader that effective rule is determined by ones decisions and results as a leader, rather than title alone. Furthermore, he illustrates that to be an effective leader, one must have the respect and support of those you govern or you will be replaced by someone who has these attributes. Richard’s inability to master these skills ultimately proves to be his downfall as he is eventually overthrown as king.
King Richard Cliff note


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