King Richard The Second Analysis

2016 Words9 Pages
The Tragedy of King Richard the Second is a play written by William Shakespeare in 1595-1596. It is the first in a four-part, “tetralogy,” (Bevington, 2014). As a whole, the plays tell the story of the political turmoil in England between 1390 and 1485. The other three plays in this historical chronical are the two parts of Henry IV and Henry V. In part, The Tragedy of King Richard the Second is a play about how King Richard II failed his country through poor leadership. Richard believes he has been appointed to the throne by God Himself, “Now, by my scepter’s awe I make a vow, such neighbor nearness to our sacred blood should nothing privilege him nor partialize the unstooping firmness of my upright soul,” (Shakespeare, 2014, 1.1.118-121). Even though he holds himself in higher esteem than his actions demonstrate, Richard is an incompetent ruler whose greed and lust for more lead him to plunder his own kingdom in order to…show more content…
Shakespeare does not alter King Richard’s character from the King Richard II who actually ruled. The play is historically accurate and the events which occurred during his reign are kept in their proper order, “It is the small and subtle changes to the chronicles that so effectively reshape the focus of the play from a simple report on history, to a dramatic lesson on the responsibilities of monarchs,” (Mabillard, 2000). During this period in history, one very good reason to study things which had historical value was to avoid committing the same errors from times past. In the final act of the play, Shakespeare takes great pains to show that Richard is not overthrown by definition. He remains king in name while Bolingbroke, King Henry IV, ascends the throne. By allowing two kings to be present at once in this play, Shakespeare is, “inviting us to compare the merits of the two types of kingship and emphasizing that each king lacks what the other has,” (Moyer,
Open Document